2005 was the tenth season of the IRL IndyCar Series. The championship added a street circuit
(St. Petersburg) and road courses (Sonoma Raceway and Watkins Glen International) to the schedule for the first time.
In early March, the seventeen race season started at Homestead-Miami Speedway and concluded at California Speedway on October 16.
There were two chassis available to competitors – the Dallara and Panoz. The Panoz G-Force chassis was used in the Indy Racing League from 1997 to 2006. The Italian race car manufacturer Dallara produced the IR03/05 in 2003, used for nine seasons. The monocoque chassis on both cars are constructed of carbon fiber and composites. The series uses Firestone Firehawk tires mounted on 10” wide by 15” diameter wheels on the front and on the rear; they are 14” wide with a 15” diameter.
Three manufacturers produce engines for the series - Chevrolet, Toyota and Honda. However, Chevrolet and Toyota announced their intention to withdraw from the series at the end of the season. The engines were designed using the same set of rules. They are normally aspirated 3.5-liter V8 power plants, incorporating a dry-sump system. The blocks and cylinder heads are aluminum. A double-overhead camshaft design is used with four valves per cylinder. The fuel system is an electronic multi-point port design that runs on methanol fuel.
This package produces over 650-horsepower. Fitted to the engines is a six-speed XTRAC sequential transmission. The whole package tips the scale at 1,600-lbs less the driver and fuel.
The penultimate round of the 2005 IRL IndyCar Series was held at Watkins Glen International. This inaugural event, presented by Argent Mortgage, was a sixty-lap contest around the eleven-turn 3.337-mile road course.
|Scott Dixon was the 2003 IndyCar series champion but hadn’t won a race since Richmond of the same year. At Watkins Glen International, he qualified fourth fastest, which equaled his other best starting position of the year at Michigan International Speedway. Driving the No. 9 Target Panoz-powered Toyota, Dixon moved into the lead at the mid-point of the contest and led the final thirteen laps for the victory.|
|The defending IndyCar series champion was Tony Kanaan, who collected three victories with fifteen top-five finishes in 2004. This season, he drove the No. 11 7-Eleven Dallara / Honda for Andretti Green Racing and had wins at Kansas and Sonoma. Kanaan qualified fifth fastest at Watkins Glen International but moved to second place early in the contest. He chased both the dominant cars but would settle for a runner-up result.|
|Scotland’s Dario Franchitti won round nine at Nashville Speedway and entered the Watkins Glen event fourth in the title chase. He was gridded sixth for the race in the No. 27 ArcaEx sponsored Dallara / Honda. Franchitti never led during the sixty-lap contest but remained in contention. When a caution period ended, with five laps to go, he was third but caught behind slower cars and couldn’t chase down Dixon and Kanaan.|
|The two-time Indianapolis 500 winner Helio Castroneves drove the No. 3 Marlboro Dallara / Toyota. This season, Castroneves had one victory collected at Kansas Speedway. He qualified on the pole at Watkins Glen and took a commanding lead early in the race. A poor pit strategy cost him first place and dropped him down the race order. While battling for position, Castroneves and Thomas Enge made contact.|
|Thomas Enge made his first IndyCar start in 2004 at Fontana. In 2005, he drove the No. 2 Dallara / Chevrolet for Panther Racing. Enge qualified third for race one, but his best result came at Sonoma, which was a fifth-place. He was gridded in the twelfth position at Watkins Glen but soon joined the leaders. With a couple of laps remaining, Enge challenged Helio Castroneves, but the two made contact and retired.|
|Dan Weldon was the runner-up in last season’s IndyCar championship. He grabbed this year’s points lead in round three and maintained the top spot with six victories in fifteen starts. With two events remaining in 2005, Weldon wrapped up the title. He was ninth fastest in the qualifying session at Watkins Glen. Driving the No. 26 Klein Tools / Jim Beam Dallara Honda, Weldon moved up the order and finished fifth.|
|During a practice session at Watkins Glen International, Sam Hornish crashed the No. 6 Marlboro Dallara / Toyota and had to qualify in a backup car. The two-time IndyCar Series champion put the Roger Penske car eleventh on the starting grid. Hornish’s race strategy allowed him to lead three laps late in the event. But his final pit-stop removed him from contention and he finished in the seventh position.|
|7||11||Sam Hornish, Jr.||Dallara/Infiniti||60||-|
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