Record setting race weekend times two at MIS
BROOKLYN, Mich. -- Whomever came up with the adage 'records are made to be broken' could site the July weekend at Michigan International Speedway as the perfect example, as both the Firestone Indy 400 IRL IndyCar Series race and the Sears 200 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race completed the fastest races in both series' history in another successful weekend at MIS.
Additionally, Sunday's Firestone Indy 400 was the closest race in open-wheel history at MIS and the fourth closest margin of victory in IRL IndyCar Series history with Alex Barron nipping Sam Hornish Jr. at the line by a mere 0.0121 seconds. In the last six open-wheel races at MIS, the average margin of victory is just 0.3815 seconds.
The close finish and the record setting speed was just part of the story Sunday at MIS. Barron had to overcome a lap 164 spin in Turn 4 as he made contact with Tomas Scheckter and incredibly saved his car from making any contact with the wall. It was the third such "spin and win" in MIS history and the second in as many years. Dale Jarrett spun on lap 11 of last year's Pepsi 400 and went on to win the race. Danny Ongais spun in Turn 4 on lap 62 and captured the victory in the 1977 Norton Twin 200.
The Firestone Indy 400 Sunday -- won by Alex Barron -- was the fastest race in IRL IndyCar Series history with an average speed of 180.917. The race broke the previous record of 179.345 mph when Sam Hornish Jr. won at California Speedway in 2002.
In Saturday's Sears 200, Brendan Gaughan captured his fourth win of the season in the fastest NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race in series history with an average speed of 154.044 mph. Three out of the top 10 fastest NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series races in series history have occurred at MIS in just four total races. The previous series record for the fastest average speed was the 2000 race at California Speedway won by Jack Sprague, which averaged a speed of 144.260 mph.
"We are very happy to be able to add to the 35 years of racing tradition at MIS," said MIS President Brett Shelton. "Our fans have seen some fantastic races over the years, but yesterday's finish was one they will not soon forget. It's not often that you break a record, but to break two records in the same weekend is truly amazing."
Susan Nichols attended the Firestone Indy 400 along with her husband Gerald and their four children, all under the age of 11 coming from Lincoln Park, Michigan. It was their first race that any of the family had ever been to and took advantage of the free kids tickets and the $40 Sunday ticket. "Everbody just sat their mesmerized," Nichols said. "The six of us can't do anything for $80 and I couldn't believe how my kids sat and watched so attentively."
The race has only been over for a day and Nichols is already looking forward to next year's race, and she plans to bring along some friends. "After I got home, I said we have to do this again. I've already talked to a lot of my friends and after finding out that kids are free again next year we will be back. They all have kids and are always looking for something fun to do."
Race fans will have one final chance this season to witness history. Tickets are still available for the Cabela's 250 NASCAR Busch Series race on August 16. The race will feature NASCAR Winston Cup star Tony Stewart driving the 3 Doors Down Chevrolet for Chance 2 motorsports, which is owned by Dale Earnhardt Jr. Seven other NASCAR Winston Cup stars are scheduled to compete in the Cabela's 250 and children 12 and under are free. To purchase tickets, call the MIS ticket hotline at 1-800-354-1010 or log on to www.MISpeedway.com.