INDIANAPOLIS, Wednesday, Nov. 15, 2000 - One-hundred and fifty-two drivers from around the world racked up 37,014 racing miles - nearly 1.5 times around the Earth -- at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway during the unprecedented 2000 season. For the first time, there were three major races of distances of 500 miles, 400 miles and 190 miles. Additionally, there were four support races adding to the number of competitive miles run. The age of the drivers stretched from Sarah Fisher's 19 to Mario Andretti's 60. Fisher drove in the Indianapolis 500, while Andretti competed in the Porsche Pirelli Supercup race during the inaugural SAP United States Grand Prix. The 33 starters in the Indianapolis 500 completed 5,435 combined laps on the famed 2.5-mile oval for a total of 13,587.5 miles. Forty-three drivers took the green flag in the NASCAR Winston Cup Brickyard 400 and recorded 6,441 completed laps for a distance of 16,102.5 miles. The 12 drivers in the True Value IROC race recorded 386 laps for 965 miles. The inaugural SAP United States Grand Prix was the third major race of the season. Competitors in that event ran on the new 2.606-mile, 13-turn road course that included a portion of the Speedway's first turn and main straightaway. The 22 starters in the Formula One race finished 1,244 laps for 3,241.864 miles. The Indianapolis 500, Brickyard 400 and SAP United States Grand Prix presented fans a total of 13,120 racing laps for 32,931.864 miles. Ninety-eight drivers from around the world participated. During the Grand Prix weekend, the two Porsche Pirelli Supercup races added 26 more drivers and 800 total laps for 2,085 miles. And the Ferrari Challenge race started 28 drivers and contributed 396 laps and 1,032 miles. This brought the grand total of laps to 14,702 completed and mileage to 37,014. The circumference of the Earth at the equator is 24,902 miles. Three Germans - Michael Schumacher, Bernd Maylander and Jorg Bergmeister - won the SAP United States Grand Prix and two Porsche Pirelli Supercup races, Colombian Juan Montoya won the Indianapolis 500 and Americans Bobby Labonte, Mark Martin and Steve Earle won the Brickyard 400, True Value IROC and Ferrari Challenge races, respectively. This further affirms the Indianapolis Motor Speedway as the "World Capital of Auto Racing."
*** Martin masters Speedway: Veteran Mark Martin won the True Value IROC race on Aug. 4 to become the first driver ever to win three consecutive races on the oval since it opened in 1911.
Martin edged Dale Earnhardt by 1.327 seconds and has won all three IROC events conducted at the track. But Earnhardt clinched his second straight championship and fourth of his career. The IROC race takes place the same weekend as the Brickyard 400 NASCAR Winston Cup Series race.
Trivia time: It's time for an Indianapolis Motor Speedway trivia question. Who was the first driver to win on the Speedway's new road circuit? If you answered Michael Schumacher, winner of the inaugural SAP United States Grand Prix in September, you're wrong.
German Bernd Maylander became the first driver to win a race on the new 2.606-mile, 13-turn road circuit. He won the first Porsche Pirelli Supercup race Sept. 23, the day before the Formula One race.
Schumacher was the fourth driver to win on the road circuit when he won in his Ferrari. Jorg Bergmeister won the second Porsche Pirelli Supercup race and Steve Earle the Ferrari Challenge race, both on the morning of Sept. 24, a few hours before the Formula One race.