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INDYAugust 17, 2003
American IndyCar Series Round 12
Kentucky Speedway

Third Place for Bryan Herta
Tony Kanaan Keeps Overall Lead

Kentucky Speedway in Sparta, Kentucky was the venue for the second of three successive August IRL IndyCar races as the series approaches the closing stages. Over 45,000 spectators packed into the course under clear blue skies and in scorching heat to witness the fastest race in IRL history, in which Round 8 winner Bryan Herta of Andretti Green Racing drove determinedly to finish third from 13th in qualifying. Teammate and series leader Tony Kanaan also improved five places, taking the checkered flag in sixth place from 11th at the start. The 28 points earned bring Kanaan's season total to 385, stretching his series lead over the second placed driver by one more point.

The 1.5-mile oval Kentucky Speedway, built in Sparta, Kentucky, has become bumpier since last year, so the old circuit of full-throttle side-by-side battles has reemerged as a course on which victory and defeat are determined by good or bad machine setting.

Of the other Honda Indy V-8 drivers apart from Herta and Kanaan, Dan Wheldon of Andretti Green Racing finished eighth with Roger Yasukawa of Super Aguri Fernandez Racing not far behind in 12th, while Kenny Brack retired when his machine caught fire.

The race was won by pole starter and successive series champion in 2001 and 2002 Sam Hornish Jr. of the Panther Racing team. This was his first victory of the current season.

Helped by there being only one full course caution, the Kentucky Speedway race became the fastest IRL race in history with Hornish Jr. maintaining an average speed of 197.897 mph. The previous record was 180.917 mph in Round 10 at Michigan International Speedway. Another IRL record at Kentucky was the 146 consecutive laps run without a full course caution. Meanwhile the total of 10 laps raced under a yellow flag, there being only one full course caution throughout the whole race, was the lowest ever recorded in the IRL.

Yasukawa still heads the Rookie of the Year point standings. After qualifying in 16th place he lost a couple of laps because of fuel trouble, but worked his way steadily back through the field to finish 12th after winning a battle with Scott Sharp of Kelley Racing and female driver Sarah Fisher of Dreyer & Reinbold Racing. But despite gaining 18 points from this race, the Japanese driver's pre-race 26-point lead over Wheldon has now been cut to 20.

American IndyCar Series Round 12
Kentucky Speedway

1 Sam Hornish Jr. (Pennzoil Panther Racing)
2 Scott Dixon (Target Chip Ganassi Racing)
3 Bryan Herta (Andretti Green Racing)
4 Al Unser Jr (Kelley Racing)
5 Helio Castroneves (Marlboro Team Penske)
6 Tony Kanaan (Andretti Green Racing)
7 Robbie Buhl (Dreyer & Reinbold Racing)
8 Dan Wheldon (Andretti Green Racing)
9 Gil de Ferran (Marlboro Team Penske)
10 Tomas Scheckter (Target Chip Ganassi Racing)
12 Roger Yasukawa (Super Aguri Fernandez Racing)
15 Greg Ray (Access Motorsports)
19 Kenny Brack (Team Rahal)

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