Michigan ready for race weekend

BROOKLYN, Mich. -- Only 10 days remain until the start of the 2005 race season at Michigan International Speedway. Tickets are still available for the Batman Begins 400 on Sunday, June 19, along with all events at MIS during Father's Day ...

BROOKLYN, Mich. -- Only 10 days remain until the start of the 2005 race season at Michigan International Speedway.

Tickets are still available for the Batman Begins 400 on Sunday, June 19, along with all events at MIS during Father's Day weekend, including the ARCA RE/MAX Series Hantz Group 200 on Friday, June 17, and the Paramount Health Insurance 200 on Saturday, June 18, which will be the first NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race run during the June event weekend.

Fans can purchase tickets by logging on to www.MISpeedway.com, or by calling the MIS ticket hotline at 1-800-354-1010. The MIS ticket hotline is open from 9:00 A.M. -- 9:00 P.M. seven days a week.

As we count down the days, here are 10 facts, one for each day, as the beginning of the MIS race season quickly approaches.

Media Note: Feel free to use this daily countdown leading up to the Batman Begins 400, Paramount Health Insurance 200 and Hantz Group 200.

10 -- Terry Cook, driver of the #10 Power Stroke Diesel Ford, will be making his 200th career NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series start at MIS in the Paramount Health Insurance 200 on June 18. Cook's best finish at MIS came in 2002, when he placed sixth. He finished seventh in last year's race at MIS and has five career truck victories in nine years in the series.

9 -- MIS has had nine different winners in its last 10 Cup races, including Greg Biffle's victory in the GFS Marketplace 400 last August. Dating back to the August Cup race in 1999, nine different drivers have won at MIS with Ryan Newman being the only multiple winner. The winners include: 2004-Greg Biffle, Ryan Newman; 2003-Ryan Newman, Kurt Busch; 2002-Dale Jarrett, Matt Kenseth; 2001-Sterling Marlin, Jeff Gordon; 2000-Rusty Wallace, Tony Stewart; 1999-Bobby Labonte in August.

8 -- Dale Earnhardt Jr., driver of the #8 Budweiser Chevrolet, holds the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series track record at MIS with a qualifying speed of 191.149 mph set back in his rookie year in 2000. Since then, Earnhardt has captured one pole (August 2002) and two top-10 finishes at MIS.

7 -- Bill Elliott, who holds the MIS record with seven career Cup victories at the track, will move to third all-time with 53 career starts at MIS when he runs in the Batman Begins 400 on June 19. Elliott is running a partial schedule this season in the #91 McDonald's Dodge for Evernham Motorsports. Elliott will be returning to MIS for the first time since 2003. Along with his entry in the Batman Begins 400, he is also scheduled to run in the GFS Marketplace 400 at MIS in August.

6 -- Mark Martin, driving in the Batman Begins paint scheme car, is competing in his final season on the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup circuit. Martin has tallied four NASCAR Cup Series and two NASCAR Busch Series victories at MIS during his successful career. Martin finished second in last year's GFS Marketplace 400 and the NASCAR Busch Series races in August of 2004. His last victory at MIS came in the June Cup event in 1998.

5 -- On Father's Day, Ricky Rudd, who drives the #21 U.S. Air Force/Motorcraft Ford, will make his 57th career NASCAR NEXTEL Cup start at MIS in the Batman Begins 400, giving him the record for most career starts at the 2-mile MIS oval. Rudd, who has competed on the Cup circuit for 28 years, was tied with Dave Marcis with 56-career Cup starts at MIS prior to the 2005 season. Rudd's last victory at MIS came in June of 1993.

4 -- If you don't win the pole, you may want to start fourth at MIS. Since NASCAR's top series began racing at MIS in 1969, 12 drivers have won races starting from the fourth position. Most recently was Ryan Newman in last year's June NEXTEL Cup event. Fourteen drivers have won from the pole at MIS since 1969, including four by Cale Yarborough. Just eight drivers have won from both the second and third starting positions in MIS history.

3 -- Kasey Kahne is making his third career NEXTEL Cup start at MIS in the #9 Evernham Motorsports Dodge. Kahne no longer has to worry about being known as a second-place driver after picking up his first career NASCAR NEXTEL Cup victory in Richmond on May 14. Kahne, who had six second-place finishes in two seasons prior to his victory, also had a second-place showing at MIS during last year's June NEXTEL Cup race. In that race, Kahne was charging race leader Ryan Newman on the final lap before a caution flag came out, securing the win for Newman.

2 -- Ray Evernham development driver Erin Crocker will be making her second career ARCA RE/MAX Series start when the circuit runs at MIS on June 17. Crocker, a former sprint car star, signed with Evernham Motorsports in 2004. She made her ARCA RE/MAX Series debut on March 26, taking the pole and finishing 12th. Crocker, driver of the #98 Dodge, will also run in a number of NASCAR Busch Series races this year. She is the only female to ever win a World of Outlaws Series feature event. If Crocker were to win the Hantz Group 200 on June 17, she would be the first female to win a race at MIS. Shawna Robinson is the first and only female to win a pole at MIS, by capturing the pole for the ARCA RE/MAX Series event in June of 2000.

1 -- Travis Kvapil made history at MIS last July by giving Toyota its first ever NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series victory. Kvapil had to start toward the rear of the field (30th) after making an engine change the morning of the race after suffering a Happy Hour practice crash the day before. Kvapil now runs on the NEXTEL Cup circuit for Penske Racing South in the #77 Kodak/Jasper Engines Dodge.

Tickets still remain for the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series Batman Begins 400 on Sunday, June 19. Great seats are also still available for the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series Paramount Health Insurance 200 on Saturday, June 18 and the ARCA RE/MAX Series Hantz Group 200 on Sunday, June 17.

To purchase tickets for all three races, log on to www.MISpeedway.com, or call the MIS ticket hotline at 1-800-354-1010. The MIS ticket hotline is open from 9:00A.M. -- 9:00 P.M., seven days a week through the upcoming race weekend.

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Series ARCA , NASCAR-CUP , NASCAR-TRUCK