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10 Countdown to Race Weekend
- With Buddy Rice's victory in last year's IndyCar
Series race at MIS, there have now been 11 different race
winners in 11 open-wheel events at MIS since 1995. Scott Goodyear
was MIS' last repeat winner when he won in 1994 and 1992.
- Recently, it might seem if you want to win an open-wheel
race at MIS you'd better start sixth. Until 2003, no driver
had won an open-wheel race at MIS starting from the sixth
position until Alex Barron and Buddy Rice accomplished the
feat the past two years (Barron-2003, Rice-2004). On the other
hand, if you want to win an open-wheel race at MIS, you may
not want to start third or fourth. Only six total drivers
have won from both the third and fourth starting positions,
but none since 1984 (21 years ago) when Mario Andretti won
from the third spot. Pancho Carter was the last driver to
win an MIS open-wheel event from the fourth starting position
back in 1981.
- Patrick Carpentier, driver of the #83 Red Bull Toyota for
Racing, will be making his sixth career start at MIS, but
his first since 2001 when he recorded his first career open-wheel
victory at the 2-mile oval. In the 2001 event, Carpentier
defeated Dario Franchitti by .243 of a second. He won the
race after starting in the 21st position, which is the farthest
back a driver has won an open-wheel race in MIS history. Since
then, he has reached victory lane on four other occasions.
- Seven days from now, rookie phenom Danica Patrick, driver
of the #16 Argent Pioneer Honda for Rahal Letterman Racing,
will make her debut at Michigan International Speedway in
the Firestone Indy 400. Patrick has taken the racing scene
by storm since her fourth-place finish at the Indianapolis
500 in May, which was the highest finish for a female at the
Brickyard in the 89-year history of the event.
- Six drivers have won the Indy 500 and gone on to win a race
at MIS in the same year; Johnny Rutherford did it in 1980,
Gordon Johncock in 1982, Bobby Rahal in 1986, Rick Mears in
1991, Juan Pablo Montoya in 2000, and most recently Buddy
Rice in 2004. Can this year's Indy 500 winner Dan Wheldon
add to the list of six with a win in the Firestone Indy 400?
- Dan Wheldon, driver of the #26 Klein Tools/Jim Beam Honda
for Andretti Green Racing, will be looking for his fifth victory
of the 2005 season at MIS. Wheldon, the Indy 500 Champion
who currently sits atop the point standings, won four of the
season's first five races.
- Tomas Scheckter, driver of the #4 Pennzoil Chevrolet for
racing, will look for his second win at MIS and his third
pole. Scheckter has captured two IRL IndyCar Series poles
at MIS in 2002 and 2003 and won the first IndyCar Series race
at MIS in 2002. He is the last driver to win an open-wheel
race at MIS from the pole.
- Helio Castroneves, driver of the #3 Marlboro Team Penske
be making his ninth start at MIS on July 31. Castroneves,
the back-to-back Indy 500 Champion in 2001 and 2002, has won
seven career events for legendary owner and Detroit resident
Roger Penske. Despite his success, Castroneves is still looking
for his first career victory at MIS, as he has finished no
higher than fifth (2000). Marlboro Team Penske teammate Sam
Hornish Jr., another local favorite from Defiance, Ohio, is
also looking for his first career win at MIS.
- Only two drivers have won back-to-back open-wheel races
at MIS. Bobby Unser captured two in a row in July and September
of 1979 and Mario Andretti was victorious in July and September
of 1984. Can Buddy Rice join this elite group this year?
- In 2003, the finish of the IRL IndyCar Series race at MIS
closest race in the history of Michigan International Speedway.
After spinning on Lap 173, race-winner Alex Barron battled
Sam Hornish Jr. to the line for the win with the margin of
victory a mere 0.0121 seconds.
day, a new fact about MIS will be added up until the start
of the race!!
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