After an exciting Chicagoland Speedway debut in 2002, 12 of the world?s top drivers on July 12 will strap into their identically prepared cars and race to the checkered flag around the 1.5-mile tri-oval in Round Three of IROC XXVII.

Chicagoland Speedway is a key event in the 2003 True Value International Race of Champions, because only a handful of points separate the top contenders. For the first time in years, it?s also a race that anyone can win. In the past, NASCAR Winston Cup Series drivers have dominated IROC, but that changed in 2002 with their open-wheel counterparts earning a win and posting top finishing positions.

Kevin Harvick, the 2001 NASCAR Busch Series champ, won the 2002 IROC title, but the open-wheelers made their point, especially at Chicagoland Speedway in 2002. IRL IndyCar Series driver Buddy Lazier led a 1-2-3 sweep for the IRL with drivers Al Unser Jr. and Helio Castroneves finishing second and third respectively. It was Lazier's first victory in the series and the first time a driver led every lap of an IROC race since Mark Martin accomplished the feat at Charlotte in 1996.

Because equality is the key to the IROC concept, the crew spends many hours not only in the shop but also on the track making sure each car is equal on race day. Earlier this June IROC test driver, Jim Sauter, was on hand for a test session with fellow test driver Dave Marcis and current IROC driver Danny Lasoski. Sauter hopes to curb the leader dominating by working on several components in the car. "We worked on making some pretty big changes, just like we did at Indy earlier this year.? Sauter continued, "We took some aero package away from the car in order to help the leader from taking over the race too much. I think we went in the right direction and the test went very well."

Click here for more information about that test session.

This year?s line-up of drivers is split evenly between rookies and those with IROC experience. Besides four-time series champ Martin and defending champ Harvick, only Sprint Car champs Steve Kinser and Danny Lasoski, IRL IndyCar Series? Hornish and Castroneves have IROC experience. NASCAR Winston Cup Series drivers Kurt Busch, Jimmie Johnson and Ryan Newman are in their first years in IROC, as are NASCAR Busch Series champ Greg Biffle, NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series champ Mike Bliss and 2001 IRL IndyCar Series Rookie of the Year Felipe Giaffone.

The green flag for Round Three of IROC XXVII at Chicagoland Speedway is scheduled to drop at 4:30 p.m. (CT) and be televised via tape delay on Saturday, July 12, 2003 at 9:00 p.m. (ET). The July 12-13 NASCAR/IROC weekend at Chicagoland Speedway is sold-out, but race fans are still able to enjoy Friday, July 11 Speedway SuperAmerica Pole Day. Tickets are $15, children 12 and under are free. For tickets call 815-727-RACE or log onto

True Value IROC Racing Series: The goal of IROC is to take 12 of the world's top drivers from different types of racing, put them in identically prepared IROC race cars, give them a set of rules which virtually eliminates the variables usually associated with racing (no pit stops, no qualifying, no driver set-up of the cars, etc.) and wave the green flag. Because IROC drivers come from a diverse background of racing series, IROC's goal is to equalize the ability of each car so the race winner is based solely on driver skill.

Click here for more information about Round Three of IROC XXVII at Chicagoland Speedway.

Click here for more information about the July 12-13 NASCAR/IROC weekend.

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