Delphi On Board At Chicagoland

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When the Indy Racing Northern Light Series left Walt Disney World Speedway off its 2001 schedule, Delphi Automotive Systems was forced to find a new race to sponsor. The company’s search led it to Chicagoland Speedway in Joliet, Ill.

On Wednesday morning, Delphi and Chicagoland officials announced that the company would sponsor the inaugural IRNLS race at the 1.5-mile, D-shaped track.

"The new title of the IRL race on Sept. 2 is the Delphi Indy 300 here at Chicagoland Speedway," said Joie Chitwood, vice president and general manager of Chicagoland Speedway. "We are proud and excited to take part in this venture with Delphi Automotive Systems.

"We know the Delphi Indy 300 will show the racing world that racing fans in this area are second to none."

With that, Scott Sharp’s Delphi-sponsored IRNLS car was unveiled and the winningest IRNLS driver addressed the assembled media.

"It’s a true honor to represent them," Sharp said of his longtime sponsor. "Having them affiliated with this inaugural event is really exciting."

Sharp is third in the IRNLS points standings and finished third in Saturday night’s ZMAX 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway. The way his season is going, he has a good shot to put his Kelley Racing No. 8 machine in victory lane at his sponsor’s race later this year.

"From the competition standpoint I think it’s going to be one of our best races," Sharp said. "I think you’re going to see easy, side-by-side racing, so I think the IRL’s going to put on a tremendous show. I know that all of us are real excited to come here and be up in the Chicago market."

Chicagoland Speedway’s first race is the Tropicana 400 NASCAR Winston Cup race on July 15. Construction of the facility is 85 percent complete and is expected to be finished in June.

"It’s hard to believe it’s been over a year since we broke ground at the speedway, but the time for NASCAR and the Indy Racing League to come to the Chicago metropolitan area is almost here and everyone is excited," Chitwood said.

Chicagoland Speedway will seat 75,000 spectators.

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