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Indy 500: Battle of Team Penske in 2003

Posted at 7:18 PM, May 15, 2016
and last updated 2016-05-15 19:18:12-04

INDIANAPOLIS -- In early 2003, the finishing touches were being put on White River State Park.

The vision included connecting all of the park's attractions.

Clarian Health opened its 'People Mover." The elevated, electric rail system transports patients and their families to downtown medical facilities.

But, the city suffered an economic blow when United Airlines announced the permanent closure of its maintenance hub at the airport, just weeks before the race.
 
Two former U.S. presidents visited the Circle City in 2003.
 
George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton attended the Indianapolis 500.
 
It was the first year for Toyota-powered vehicles at IMS.
 
Honda returned after a seven-year absence.
 
2003 proved to be Gil De Ferran's year.
 
He passed Team Penske teammate and fellow Brazilian Helio Castroneves in the 170th lap, and refused to let go of the lead.
 
 
De Ferran outraced the two-time Indianapolis 500 winner by .299 seconds - the length of five cars.
 
It marked the third-closest finish in the race's history at the time.
 
   
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