IRL: Behind The Barriers - Michigan

For the first time in nearly 20 years only one open wheel series will compete at Michigan International Speedway over the course of the weekend. The Michigan 500 held August 2, 1986 marked the last time MIS hosted a stand-alone open wheel race ...

For the first time in nearly 20 years only one open wheel series will compete at Michigan International Speedway over the course of the weekend. The Michigan 500 held August 2, 1986 marked the last time MIS hosted a stand-alone open wheel race weekend. Johnny Rutherford won that race. When the Championship Auto Racing Teams returned to MIS for the Pepsi 250 on September 28 the American Speed Association stock cars were on the card. Bobby Rahal won the Pepsi 250.

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The high banks of Michigan International Speedway will allow the drivers of the IndyCar Series to run wide open during Sunday's race. The drivers will be looking for a low drag setup, plenty of horsepower and durable Firestone tires that can withstand the heat generated by the high speeds on the two-mile superspeedway. All of the tires delivered to Michigan were built in Tokyo, Japan. The tire specification for MIS is new for 2005, featuring a new left-side tire compound and minor modification to the front-tire construction. Firestone shod cars have won 96 of the 113 IndyCar Series races run to date. More numbers: 1,551 -- Times a front tire will spin over the course of one lap at Michigan International Speedway. 1,440 -- Times a rear tire will spin over the course of one lap at Michigan International Speedway.

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With Tomas Enge out of commission Panther Racing will put Townsend Bell in the No. 2 Rock Star energy drink car at Michigan. Bell gained experience with Panther Racing when he substituted for Mark Taylor. Panther has entered three cars at Michigan with Buddy Lazier driving the No. 95 entry.

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Jaques Lazier has landed a ride with the Target Ganassi team. He replaces Darren Manning who was sacked after the Milwaukee race. Manning, who led the Ganassi team's three drivers in the points standings said the pink slip came as a surprise.

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Honda Motor Co., Ltd. recently announced its consolidated financial results for the fiscal first quarter ended June 30, 2005. In all regions, Japan, North America, Europe, Asia and other regions Honda's unit sales of automobiles increased by 8.8% from the corresponding period in 2004 to 840 thousand units. Honda has enjoyed continued strong sales in the U.S. as a result of the attractive vehicle models, such as Honda's brand-new sports utility truck, the Ridgeline, and continued favorable sales of the Pilot, the Odyssey, and the Acura RL. In North America, revenue increased by 10.0% from the corresponding period of the previous year to JPY 1,248.5 billion (USD 11,287 million), due mainly to the increased unit sales in automobile and power product businesses, offsetting the negative currency translation impacts of the depreciation of the U.S. dollar and decreased unit sales in motorcycle business. Honda won the 2004 IndyCar Series Manufacturer's Championship and currently leads the 2005 point standings.

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Dan Wheldon has formed a marketing and sponsor relationship with St. Vincent Hospitals, one of the largest healthcare systems in Indiana. Wheldon will be featured in a marketing campaign throughout television and radio commercials, print advertising, company brochures, collateral materials and company websites.

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Vitor Meira has been back to work at Menards. After spending time with fans at the Franklin, Wis. store prior to last week's race at Milwaukee, Meira was back, this time at the Menards in Jackson, Mich. on Thursday. Meira has posted Rahal Letterman Racing's best finish in seven of the ten events this year. For more information on future appearances by Meira check ww.rahal.com or www.indyracing.com.

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Proof that journalists don't have to work very hard to come up with cheesy catch phrases came from Phillips-Van Heusen president and incoming CEO Mark Weber who described the relationship between Red Bull Cheever Racing and the IZOD brand as "a great fit."

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The Indy Racing League has announced that the machines of the IndyCar Series will be fueled by a blend of ethanol next year. Ethanol is an agricultural based fuel. As an alternative to petroleum based fuels the use of ethanol provides economic and environmental benefits. Learn more about ethanol at www.ethanolfacts.com.

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Gordon Johncock and Tom Sneva were honored at the annual Race Week Breakfast of Champions in Jackson, Mich. on Friday. The Breakfast of Champions is part of Jackson's week long festival leading to Sunday's race. For more information visit www.jacksonraceweek.com.

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The Indy Racing League has garnered rare national media attention over the past week due to four drivers missing a mandatory autograph session in Milwaukee. Nevertheless, the Indy Racing League has fined the owners of IRL IndyCar Series entrant Andretti Green Racing (AGR) an undisclosed amount for failing to require its drivers to participate in the mandatory autograph session on July 23 at The Milwaukee Mile. AGR was penalized for violating Section 7.1 (B) of the IndyCar Series Rule Book (Additional Driver Activities) which states: "During events, IRL shall conduct Driver autograph sessions and Driver introductions. Failure to participate or failure to attend for the designated amount of time may result in fines and/or other penalties."

The fine was announced after IRL officials held face-to-face meetings with AGR earlier this week. One pit lane wag suggested that a brawl between the AGR team and the Rahal Letterman Racing crew would keep the Indy Racing League in the news for one more week. When Sam Hornish won one of the closest finishes in IndyCar Series history on the same weekend Tony Stewart took a swipe at a photographer, Stewart was in the media spotlight while the great IndyCar Series race barely received a mention.

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At speeds well over 200 mph, the IndyCar Series cars are flying around the 2-mile Michigan International Speedway. One IndyCar Series engine manufacturer, Honda is now flying in different circles as the experimental HondaJet made its public world debut this week at the Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA) AirVenture 2005 in Oshkosh, Wis. The demonstration flight included several flybys and a perfect landing in front of a packed crowd of aviation enthusiasts. Indy 500 winner Dan Wheldon made an appearance at Oshkosh this week as a guest of AGR sponsor Klein Tools.

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Five of the last six winners at Michigan International Speedway competing in this weekend's event: Tomas Scheckter, Alex Barron, Patrick Carpentier, Tony Kanaan and 2004 winner Buddy Rice.

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Tomas Scheckter , Mark Taylor , Tomas Enge , Darren Manning , Buddy Lazier , Bobby Rahal , Tony Kanaan , Alex Barron , Townsend Bell , Dan Wheldon , Tom Sneva , Buddy Rice , Gordon Johncock , Johnny Rutherford , Jaques Lazier , Sam Hornis , Vitor Meira
Teams Panther Racing