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Indy 500

May 25, 2003

THE FACTS

* When: Today, 9 a.m.

* Where: Indianapolis Motor Speedway (rectangular oval, 2.5 miles, 9 degrees banking in turns).

* Race distance: 500 miles, 200 laps.

* TV: Channel 7.

* Defending champion: Helio Castroneves, who averaged 166.499 mph and won the race under caution after Laurent Redon and Buddy Lazier crashed on Lap 199. It was Castroneves' second consecutive Indy 500 title. No one has won three in a row.

* Sanctioning body: Indy Racing League; also open to CART, USAC, NASCAR, SCCA, Formula One and other drivers through international FIA listing.

* Race Cars: Open-cockpit, open-wheel and single-seat, with 3.5-liter, 670-horsepower normally aspirated V8 engines

* Number of Starters: 33.

* Pole Position: Helio Castroneves, Dallara-Toyota, 231.725 mph. Will start first, the inside of the front row.

* Slowest Qualifier: Airton Dare, G Force-Toyota, 223.609 mph. Will start 33rd, the outside of the 11th row.

* Fastest Rookie: Scott Dixon, G Force-Toyota, 230.099 mph. Will start fourth, the inside of the second row.

* Slowest Rookie: Vitor Meira, Dallara-Chevrolet, 227.158 mph. Will start 26th, the middle of the ninth row.

* Former Winners in Race (4): Al Unser Jr. (1992, 1994), Buddy Lazier (1996), Kenny Brack (1999), Castroneves (2001, 2002).

* Rookies in Race (9): Dixon, Meira, A.J. Foyt IV, Dan Wheldon, Tora Takagi, Tony Renna, Roger Yasukawa, Shinji Nakano, Buddy Rice.

* Youngest in Race: Foyt, turns 19 today (Born May 25, 1984).

* Oldest in Race: Al Unser Jr., 41 (Born April 19, 1962).

* Race Record: 185.981 mph, Arie Luyendyk, 1990.

* Purse: Depends on attendance and accessory awards; 2002 payoff was a record $10,028,580, of which winner Castroneves received a record $1,606,215 for Team Penske. The former records were a $9,615,325 purse in 2001 and $1,568,150 to winner Luyendyk in 1997.

* Crowd: Estimated at about 400,000. Speedway never discloses attendance but admits to at least 275,000 reserved seats in permanent stands and room for 100,000 or more in the infield.

* Fatalities: There have been 66 deaths at the Speedway, including pre-500 races of 1909-10. Last death was on May 17, 1996, when pole-winner Scott Brayton was killed in a crash during practice.

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