August 5, 2007 on ESPN2
10 Countdown to Race Weekend
- In the 2006 Firestone Indy 400 there
were only two caution periods which slowed the field
of 19 cars down for 10 laps. The minimal number
of cautions, which is an IndyCar Series track record,
also allowed for another IndyCar Series track record
to be changed. Helio Castroneves took the checkered
flag with a race speed of 193.272 mph, not only
setting an MIS open wheel record, but it was the
third-fastest average speed in IndyCar Series history.
- The 2007 Indianapolis 500 winner Dario
Franchitti will be making his ninth open wheel start
at Michigan International Speedway. Franchitti has
five starts at the two-mile oval in the former CART
Series, with three top-five finishes. The IndyCar
Series hasn't treated Franchitti so kindly since
his MIS IndyCar debut in 2004. He has one top-10
finish (eighth, 7/05) in three starts. This year
however may be Franchitti's opportunity to succeed
at MIS, as the driver of the No. 27 Andretti Green
Racing Honda is currently at the top of the point
standings after posting three wins and 10 top-five
finishes this season.
- Scott Sharp, driver of the No. 8 Patron
Sharp Rahal Letterman Honda, has not won at the
two-mile oval, but he has two achievements that
no other driver will ever be able to say. Sharp
is the only driver that has finished in the top
10 in all five IndyCar races at MIS, as well as
being the only driver to complete all 2,000 miles.
- Sam Hornish Jr. will make his seventh
start at MIS Sunday, August 5 in the Firestone Indy
400. Hornish will be making his sixth start in the
IndyCar Series, but Hornish also made one start
in a stock car during June's ARCA RE/MAX Series
event. Hornish also plans to enter the CARFAX 250
Busch Series race later this month, making him the
only driver in MIS history to race in the ARCA,
Busch, and IndyCar Series in the same season.
- If a driver doesn't receive the AAA Pole
Award for the Firestone Indy 400, starting from
the sixth position would be their best bet. Since
the IndyCar Series' Michigan International Speedway
debut in 2002, the driver that started from the
sixth position hasn't finished any worse than where
they began. Two drivers have won from the sixth
starting position, Buddy Rice in 2004 and Alex Barron
in 2003. Last year's race winner Helio Castroneves
started in the sixth position in 2002 as well as
Buddy Lazier in 2005, both drivers finished their
day in that same position. The only driver who was
in position to challenge Helio Castroneves last
year was second place finisher Vitor Meira, who
coincidentally began the race in the sixth position.
- The five IndyCar Series events held at Michigan
International Speedway have seen no repeat winners.
Three current drivers (Helio Castroneves, Buddy
Rice, and Tomas Scheckter) will attempt to be the
first two-time IndyCar Series winner and the first
repeat winner in open wheel racing at the track
since Scott Goodyear in 1994.
- Vitor Meira, the driver of the No. 4
Honda for Panther Racing, had a stellar performance
in last year's IndyCar Series race and has been
strong in 2007, with eight top-10 and three top-five
finishes in 11 races so far this season. Meira has
four IndyCar starts at MIS, finishing fifth in 2004
and second last year. Meira led the field on three
different occasions for a total of 75 laps, the
most of any driver.
- The driver who ended his day in position
No. 3 in last year's Firestone Indy 400 was Target
Chip Ganassi Racing's Dan Wheldon. The third place
finish gave the 2005 IndyCar Series champion his
third top five (7/06, 7/05, 8/04) at MIS in only
four starts, placing him third on the track IndyCar
average finishing position list. Wheldon is currently
fourth in the series points standing.
- With two laps to go in the 2006 Firestone Indy
400, Danica Patrick ran out of gas, ruining her
top-10 run. Patrick finished in the 17th position,
just three spots ahead of her 20th place finish
in 2005. Overrun with emotions, Patrick stormed
and stomped down pit road where she knocked over
an orange traffic cone in frustration. The most
recent woman to race in an open wheel event at MIS
voiced her disappointment with her now former crew
at Rahal Letterman Racing, blaming them for the
miscalculation of fuel mileage. Patrick's foot stomping
tirade landed her in the sixth spot in the "Top
Ten MIS Moments of 2006."
- The driver who starts from the first
position in the Firestone Indy 400 Sunday, August
5 has a better shot than anyone else to visit Gatorade
Victory Lane. Since the first open wheel event held
at the two-mile oval in 1968, 17 drivers who started
from the pole ended up winning. The most recent
three drivers to do so were competing in an IndyCar
Series event (Helio Castroneves, 07/06; Bryan Herta,
07/05; Tomas Scheckter, 07/02).
we count down the days, here are 10 facts, one for
each day, as the beginning of the MIS race season
Michigan International Speedway
are available for the Firestone Indy 400 on Sunday, August
5, along with all events at MIS during the weekend, including
IndyCar Series practice and qualifying on Saturday, August
4, and exhibits by historic Indy cars and Corvettes.
can purchase tickets by logging on to MISpeedway.com,
or by calling the MIS Ticket Hotline at 800.354.1010.
The MIS ticket hotline is open from 9:00 a.m. - 9:00 p.m.
seven days a week.
Return to our Firestone
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