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<< Sports >>

NASCAR NEXTEL CUP SERIES

MICHIGAN INTERNATIONAL SPEEDWAY

Sunday, July 30, 2006 on ABC
IRL Firestone Indy 400 Fact Sheet

What: Firestone Indy 400 IRL IndyCar® Series Race
(11th event on the 14-race IndyCar Series schedule)

When: Sunday, July 30, 3:30 p.m. (EDT).

Where: Michigan International Speedway, Brooklyn, Michigan.

Television: Live on ABC, 3:30 p.m.

Radio: Live on IMS Radio Network. Area affiliates include: WTKA 1050-AM (Ann Arbor); WKHM 970-AM (Jackson).

Qualifying: Saturday, July 29, 2:45 p.m. – 3:50 p.m. (EDT)

2005 Pole Winner: Bryan Herta, 219.141 mph, 32.8556 seconds.

2005 Race Winner: Bryan Herta, 167.197 mph, 2 hours, 23 minutes, 32.5979 seconds.

2005 Top Five: 1. Bryan Herta, 2. Dan Wheldon, 3. Tomas Scheckter,
4. Tony Kanaan, 5. Sam Hornish Jr.

2005 Race Recap: Bryan Herta made it a clean sweep in his home state. The Warren, Mich., native, after winning the pole position the day before, captured his first IRL IndyCar Series win of 2005 by holding off hard-charging Andretti Green Racing teammate Dan Wheldon to claim the Firestone Indy 400 at Michigan International Speedway. In 37 previous races, Herta had led a total of 152 laps. He led 159 laps of the 200-lap event at MIS. Herta’s victory gave MIS its 12th different first-time winner in the last 12 open-wheel races. Tomas Scheckter, Tony Kanaan, and Sam Hornish Jr. followed in third, fourth, and fifth places, respectively. Rookie Danica Patrick struggled early. After qualifying eighth, she slipped to 20th within the first three laps. After climbing back to 13th place, Patrick experienced mechanical problems and bowed out of the race with 37 laps remaining (finishing 20th).

Recent MIS IRL IndyCar winners: Bryan Herta (2005), Buddy Rice (2004), Alex Barron (2003), Tomas Scheckter (2002).

Recent MIS IRL IndyCar pole winners: Bryan Herta (2005), Tony Kanaan (2004), Tomas Scheckter (2002, 2003).

Tickets: Reserved seats still available for the Firestone Indy 400 by calling the Michigan International Speedway Ticket Office (1-800-354-1010 or 517-592-6672) or by going on-line at www.MISpeedway.com. All seats are just $40 and children 12 and under are free all weekend. Tickets for practice and qualifying on Saturday, July 30 are just $10.

Did You Know...Firestone Indy 400 Facts


… Michigan International Speedway has hosted at least one open-wheel race in every season since 1970. This year’s Firestone Indy 400 will be the 55th open-wheel race in the track’s storied 38-year history.

… MIS has experienced a variety of open-wheel champions in the past two decades. Since 1986, there have been 20 different winners in the 22 major open-wheel races at MIS. The winners include: Michael Andretti (1987, 1989), Alex Barron (2003), Patrick Carpentier (2001), Scott Goodyear (1992, 1994), Bryan Herta (2005), Tony Kanaan (1999), Nigel Mansell (1993), Rick Mears (1991), Juan Pablo Montoya (2000), Greg Moore (1998), Scott Pruett (1995), Andre Ribiero (1996), Bobby Rahal (1986), Buddy Rice (2004), Johnny Rutherford (1986), Tomas Scheckter (2002), Danny Sullivan (1988), Jimmy Vasser (1996), Al Unser Jr. (1990), and Alex Zanardi (1997).

… Jeff Bucknum will make his first MIS start in the Firestone Indy 400. Bucknum’s father, Ronnie, won the first race at MIS on October 13, 1968 when he edged Mario Andretti by one lap. Bucknum was the benefactor of a mid-season move that saw him take over the reins of the No. 14 ABC Supply car formerly driven by Felipe Giaffone.

… Call it “Sam’s Club” if you will. Sam Hornish Jr., winner of the Indianapolis 500 in May and the current IndyCar Series points leader, will race at MIS in the Firestone Indy 400 and is bringing more than just his Marlboro Team Penske crew. Hornish’s hometown of Defiance, Ohio is located just 70 miles from MIS, so it’s likely that plenty of Hornish supporters will be in attendance. Defiance will celebrate the 27-year-old with Sam Hornish Day, featuring a parade and a fan appreciation event in the Ohio town on Wednesday, July 26.

… Starting up front is the way to go at MIS in major open-wheel competition. In 54 major races at MIS, 21 winners have come from the top two in the starting grid, with 14 of those 21 winners starting on the pole. Being in the back might not be so bad, though; drivers have won races from each of the 18th, 19th, 20th, and 21st positions before, all of which happened just once.

… While promising on paper, the third and fourth starting positions haven’t been too productive for those looking to win open-wheel races at MIS. Only three drivers have won from each of the third and fourth positions in MIS’s 54 open-wheel races, and Mario Andretti was the last to do so when he won from the third spot in 1984 – 22 years ago. Pancho Carter was the last driver to win an MIS open-wheel event from the fourth starting position, back in 1981.

… Just six drivers have won the Indianapolis 500 and the open-wheel event at MIS in the same season. In 2004, Buddy Rice became the latest to accomplish the feat. Other drivers who have completed the double include Johnny Rutherford in 1980, Gordon Johncock in 1982, Bobby Rahal in 1986, Rick Mears in 1991, and Juan Pablo Montoya in 2000. Will Sam Hornish be lucky number seven at MIS?

… With Bryan Herta’s victory in last year’s IndyCar Series race at MIS, there have now been 12 first-time race winners in 12 open-wheel events at MIS since 1995.

… Roger Penske is the only car owner in MIS history to have all three drivers finish 1-2-3 in a race. In 1980, Mario Andretti finished first, Bobby Unser second and Rick Mears third as the Captain swept the podium that day. With three drivers currently in the top-10 in points (Tony Kanaan – sixth, Dario Franchitti – eighth, Marco Andretti – tenth), Andretti Green Racing will try to repeat Team Penske’s accomplishment in the Firestone Indy 400.

… 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 Bryan Herta join this elite group this year?

… Bryan Herta led a dominating 159 laps on the way to his win in last season’s Firestone Indy 400 at MIS, but even that total isn’t enough to give him the title of most laps led in an IndyCar Series race at MIS. Tony Kanaan led an incredible 183 laps on his way to a runner-up finish in 2004.

… In the past four IndyCar Series races at MIS, the defending series champion has finished no lower than seventh, but has also never won. In 2005, Tony Kanaan finished fourth after winning the series title in 2004. How will 2005 series champ Dan Wheldon fare in 2006?

… In the four years of IRL IndyCar Series competition at MIS, two drivers have won from the pole and two drivers have won from the sixth position.

… The leader of Lap 131 during the Firestone Indy 400 will win the $10,000 Firestone Performance Award. The award commemorates Firestone's status as the only tire manufacturer to have participated in every IRL event. It is given to the driver who, in each IndyCar Series contest, leads the lap number corresponding to the cumulative number of races run to that point in series history.

… Though his Andretti Green Racing team lacks a victory in 2006, MIS may be the place for Tony Kanaan. The Brazilian won his first race at the two-mile oval in 1999 when leader Max Papis ran out of fuel just prior to the end of the 500-mile event.

… Alex Barron, Helio Castroneves, Sam Hornish Jr., Buddy Rice, Tomas Scheckter, and Scott Sharp have all started every IRL IndyCar Series race at MIS since 2002. Castroneves, Hornish, Rice, Scheckter, and Sharp are all slated to start at MIS this weekend.

… Of the aforementioned drivers, Hornish and Sharp are the only two to have completed all 1,600 miles of IRL IndyCar Series racing on the two-mile oval. Likewise, they are the only two drivers to have finished in the top-10 in each of the four IRL races at MIS.

… Only three rookie drivers in the history of the IRL IndyCar Series have won a race in their first season of competition. The last rookie success happened at MIS when Tomas Scheckter won in 2002, following Buzz Calkins (1996 at Walt Disney World) and Jim Guthrie (1997 at Phoenix).

… While just one rookie driver has won in IndyCar Series history at MIS, four more have won in major open-wheel history at the track. Though far from a rookie based on a previous extensive Formula One career, Nigel Mansell was the most recent in 1993 when he was fresh to the American open-wheel circuit. Mansell was preceded by John Paul Jr. (1983), Danny Ongais (1977), and Mark Donohue (1971). Could this year’s top rookie Marco Andretti join the club?

… A number of people with local connections will be involved in the Firestone Indy 400 weekend at MIS. Defending champion Bryan Herta hails from Warren, Michigan, while Marlboro Team Penske owner Roger Penske is a resident of Bloomfield Hills, Michigan. Buddy Rice has family in the capital city of Lansing, and even nearby northern Ohio is represented with Indianapolis 500 champion Sam Hornish Jr. coming from Defiance.


FUN FACTS: Only two races have ever been held on July 30 at MIS, and just one featured open-wheel cars: Scott Pruett started 12th to win the CART race in 1995. Al Unser Jr. won the IROC race from the sixth spot in 1994.

Sam Hornish Jr. and Scott Dixon each celebrate July birthdays, with Hornish’s 27th back on the 2nd and Dixon’s 26th on the 22nd.

Jeff Bucknum will be the oldest entrant in the field for the Firestone Indy 400 at 40 years and 18 days old. Marco Andretti will be the youngest at a mere 19 years, four months, and 17 days.

Source: Michigan International Speedway

Return to our 2006 IRL FIRESTONE INDY 400 Index.

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