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IROC - International Race of Champions - 2003

IROC - International Race of Champions

Kurt Busch, representing the NASCAR Winston Cup series, became the seventh driver in IROC history to win the championship in his rookie year of competition. Busch was strong throughout the four-race season posting a win at Talladega in race two, finishing second in the Daytona opener, third at Chicagoland and fourth in the finale at Indianapolis.

The Daytona International Speedway opener resulted in four-time IROC Champion, Mark Martin winning his 11th career IROC race, placing him in a tie with the late Dale Earnhardt and Al Unser, Jr., for all-time series race wins. Kurt Busch followed his mentor Martin across the stripe finishing second in his first outing, while World of Outlaws Champion, Danny Lasoski turned out an impressive third place finish in his second year of IROC competition.

The series continued on the high-banks for race-two at Talladega Superspeedway with Kurt Busch upping his Daytona finish a notch to take the win his second IROC appearance. NASCAR Truck Series Champion, Mike Bliss finished second with Busch Series Champion, Greg Biffle placing third.

Race-three brought the series to Chicagoland Speedway where it was Mike Bliss upping his second place finish at Talladega to take the victory. Bliss became the first driver representing the NASCAR Truck Series to win an IROC race. NASCAR driver Ryan Newman finished second followed by Kurt Busch in third.

Consistency placed race winners Martin, Busch and Bliss in a league of their own for the championship as the entered the race-four finale at the Brickyard. Busch was leading the way followed by Bliss and Martin. Per the IROC rules, they would grid in reverse order of points for the final event, starting Mark Martin in 10th just ahead of Bliss and Busch respectively. Martin's IROC at Indy record was stellar. Martin had won all three previous IROC races he competed in, and won them from the rear of the field. To take a record fifth IROC crown, Martin would have to win the race, collect bonus points for leading laps and hope Busch placed no better than third. Like Martin, Bliss would also have to win the race and collect bonus point to take the title. Busch was able to lead the rivalry and clinched the title with a four-place finish over Martin in fifth and Bliss 10th.

Jimmie Johnson won the final round, taking his first IROC win and victory at the Brickyard. Johnson's win and bonus points placed him third over all, with Martin second and Mike Bliss fourth. 2002 IROC Champion, Kevin Harvick rounded out the top-five. (from IROC Website)

Final Points


IROC 27 Champion
Kurt Busch


Position
Driver/Residence/Sanction
Points
Money Earned
1
Kurt Busch - NASCAR Winston Cup
69 $250,000
2
Mark Martin - NASCAR Winston Cup
58 $125,000
3
JImmie Johnson - NASCAR Winston Cup
56 $  95,000
4
Mike Bliss - NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series
54 $ 90,000
5
Kevin Harvick - NASCAR Winston Cup
48* $  85,000
6
Ryan Newman - NASCAR Winston Cup
48* $  80,000
7
Greg Biffle - NASCAR Busch Series
41 $  80,000
8
Sam Hornish - IRL Indy Car Series
30 $  80,000
9
Danny Lasoski - O'Reilly World of Outlaws
27 $  80,000
10
Felipe Giaffone/Scott Sharp - IRL Indy Car Series
24* $  80,000
11
Steve Kinser - O'Reilly World of Outlaws
24* $  80,000
12
Helio Castroneves - IRL Indy Car Series
23 $ 80,000

 

Race One

 
February 14, 2003
Daytona International Speedway
Daytona Beach, Florida
2.5-mile high-banked oval, 40 laps, 100 miles

 

Finish

Start

Car

Name/Color

Laps

Status

1 8 8
Mark Martin/Green
40 Running
2 9 9
Kurt Busch/Orange
40 Running
3 2 2
Danny Lasoski/Silver
40 Running
4 4 4
Jimmie Johnson/Rose
40 Running
5 12 12
Greg Biffle/Light Blue
40 Running
6 1 1
Steve Kinser/Black
40 Running
7 11 11
Kevin Harvick/Gold
40 Running
8 3 3
Sam Hornish/Purple
40 Running
9 6 6
Mike Bliss/Red
40 Running
10 5 5
Felipe Giaffone/Aqua
40 Running
11 10 10
Helio Castroneves/Med Blue
40 Running
12 7 7
Ryan Newman/Cream
40 Running

Time of Race: 33 min.51 sec.
Average Speed: 177.253
Margin of Victory: .123 sec
Caution Flags : 0
Lead Changes: 6 among 4
Lap Leaders: Kinser 1, Johnson 2, Martin 3-10, Johnson 11-23, Martin 24-27, Harvick 28-31, Martin 32-40


Race Two

April 5, 2003
Talladega Superspeedway
Talladega, AL
2.66-mile oval, 38 laps, 101.8 miles

 

Finish

Start

Car

Name/Color

Laps

Status

1 11 2
Kurt Busch/Lt Blue
38
Running
2 4 9
Mike Bliss/Evans Orange
38
Running
3 8 5
Greg Biffle/Lime
38
Running
4 5 8
Sam Hornish/Green
38
Running
5 12 1
Mark Martin/Silver
38
Running
6 6 6
Kevin Harvick/Dk Blue
38
Running
7 1 12
Ryan Newman/Gold
38
Running
8 9 3
Jimmie Johnson/Red
38
Running
9 7 7
Steve Kinser/White
38
Running
10 10 4
Danny Lasoski/Dark Orange
38
Running
11 3 10
Felipe Giaffone - Rose
38
Running
12
2
11
Helio Castroneves/Med Blue
37
Engine

Time of Race: 43 min.31 sec.
Average Speed: 139.367
Margin of Victory: .098 sec
Caution Flags: 0
Lead Changes: 5 among 4
Lap Leaders: 1-3 Newman, 4 Bliss, 5-6 Busch, 7-8 Martin, 9-38 Busch


Race Three

 
July 12, 2003
Chicagoland Speedway
Joliet, IL
1.5-mile speedway, 67 laps, 100.5 miles.

 

Finish

Start

Car

Name/Color

Laps

Status

1 9 4
Mike Bliss/Violet
67
Running
2 3 10
Ryan Newman/White
67
Running
3 12 1
Kurt Busch/Lime
67
Running
4 6 7
Kevin Harvick/Gold
67
Running
5 11 2
Mark Martin/Rose
67
Running
6 10 3
Greg Biffle/Dark Blue
67
Running
7 8 5
Jimmie Johnson/Powder Blue
67
Running
8 7 6
Sam Hornish Jr./Med Blue
67
Running
9 2 11
Scott Sharp*/Red
67
Running
10 5 8
Danny Lasoski/Dark Orange
67
Running
11 1 12
Helio Castroneves/Green
39
Mechanical
12
4
9
Steve Kinser/Cream
38
Mechanical
* Substitute for Felipe Giaffone

 

Time of Race: 43 min. 54 sec.
Average Speed: 137.384 MPH
Margin of Victory: 3.252 sec
Caution Flags: 0
Lead Changes: 3 among 3
Lap Leaders: Castroneves 1-5, Newman 6-18, Bliss 19-67


Race Four

 
August 2, 2003
Indianapolis Motor Speedway
Indianapolis, IN
2.5-mile oval, 40 laps, 100 miles

 

Finish

Start

Car

Name/Color

Laps

Status

1 6 7
JImmie Johnson/Rose
40
Running
2 7 6
Kevin Harvick/Gold
40
Running
3 9 4
Ryan Newman/Red
40
Running
4 12 1
Kurt Busch/Violet
40
Running
5 10 3
Mark Martin/White
40
Running
6 2 11
Scott Sharp*/Cream
40
Running
7 8 5
Greg Biffle/Black
40
Running
8 1 12
Helio Castroneves/Lime
40
Running
9 3 10
Steve Kinser/Lt Blue
40
Running
10 5 8
Sam Hornish Jr./Med Blue
40
Running
11 4 9
Danny Lasoski/Green
40
Running
*Substitute for Felipe Giaffone

Time of Race: 44min 21sec
Average Speed: 135.287mph
Margin of Victory: .697
Caution Flags: 1
Lead Changes: 1 among 2
Lap Leaders: Castroneves 1-20, Johnson 21-40