IRL: Michigan: Round 11 preview, schedule

FAST FACTS WHAT: IndyCar Series: Firestone Indy 400, 11th race in 14-race 2006 season WHERE: Michigan International Speedway, 2-mile D-shaped asphalt oval WHEN: IndyCar Series: 3:30 p.m. (EDT), Sunday, July 30 DISTANCE: IndyCar Series: 200...

FAST FACTS

WHAT: IndyCar Series: Firestone Indy 400, 11th race in 14-race 2006 season

WHERE: Michigan International Speedway, 2-mile D-shaped asphalt oval

WHEN: IndyCar Series: 3:30 p.m. (EDT), Sunday, July 30

DISTANCE: IndyCar Series: 200 laps/400 miles

POSTED AWARDS: IndyCar Series: More than $1 million

CARS: IndyCar Series: Dallara and Panoz chassis; Honda Indy V-8; Firestone tires

PREVIOUS RACE WINNERS: IndyCar Series: Bryan Herta (2005), Buddy Rice (2004), Alex Barron (2003), Tomas Scheckter (2002)

2005 SERIES CHAMPION: IndyCar Series: Dan Wheldon

TV:
IndyCar Series: Race: ABC (live), 3:30 p.m. (EDT), July 30

RADIO:
IndyCar Series: Qualifying: IMS Radio Network, live web-cast, 2:30 p.m. (EDT) July 29
Qualifying wrapup: IMS Radio Network, 5:30 p.m. (EDT), July 29
Pre-race: IMS Radio Network (live), 3 p.m. (EDT), July 30
Race: IMS Radio Network (live), 3:30 p.m. (EDT), July 30
Area affiliates: WKHM-AM 970, Jackson, Mich.

Live coverage of Marlboro Pole Qualifying (2:30 p.m. EDT, July 29) and the race also will be available at www.indycar.com. The race broadcast is also available on XM Satellite Radio channel 152 "Extreme XM."

SCHEDULE (all times local; subject to change):

Friday, July 28
6-7 p.m. Autograph session (Jackson Raceweek Festival)

Saturday, July 29
8 a.m. IndyCar Series garage open
10 -- 11 a.m. IndyCar Series practice (all cars, controlled release)
12:30 -- 1:30 p.m. IndyCar Series practice (two groups)
2:45 p.m. IndyCar Series Marlboro Pole Qualifying
5 -- 6 p.m. IndyCar Series final practice

Sunday, July 30
8 a.m. IndyCar Series garage open
3:30 p.m. Firestone Indy 400 (200 laps/400 miles) ABC-TV & IMS Radio Network (Live)

THE TRACK:
2-mile D-shaped asphalt oval; 45 feet wide (straightaways), 73 feet wide (turns)
Frontstraight: 3,600 feet banked at 12 degrees
Backstraight: 2,242 feet banked at 5 degrees
Turns: Banked at 18 degrees
    *Michigan International Speedway opened in 1968 in the Irish Hills of Brooklyn, Mich. Lawrence H. LoPatin and American Raceways Inc. owned the facility from 1968-1972 before current IRL IndyCar Series owner Roger Penske purchased the track out of receivership in June 1973. For more than 25 years, Penske rebuilt and maintained MIS, turning it into one of the finest race facilities in the world. In July 1999, Penske Motorsports Inc. merged with International Speedway Corp., and MIS is now one of 13 ISC motorsports venues.

INDY-STYLE RACING IN MICHIGAN:

Michigan International Speedway - home of the state's largest single-day, paid-admission sporting events since 1992 - is a track rich in racing tradition.

Located in Detroit's backyard in the Irish Hills of southeastern Michigan, MIS hosted its first race on Oct. 13, 1968. The race, a 250-mile open-wheel event, was won by Ronnie Bucknum, father of current IndyCar Series driver Jeff Bucknum.

Since then, the 2-mile D-shaped oval has hosted a number of historic races, including several races which were part of the Triple Crown. Among the open-wheel drivers who have won at Michigan were: Mark Donohue, A.J. Foyt, Mario Andretti, Parnelli Jones, Gordon Johncock, Emerson Fittipaldi, Al Unser and Rick Mears.

In 2002, the IRL IndyCar® Series visited the track for the first time with rookie Tomas Scheckter earning his first series victory.

Road racing also remains popular in Detroit, which served as home to Formula 1 and CART street races in downtown Detroit and on Belle Isle.

INDYCAR SERIES NOTES:

* Four Indianapolis 500 champions are expected to participate in the Firestone Indy 400: Helio Castroneves (2001, 2002), Buddy Rice (2004), Dan Wheldon (2005) and Sam Hornish Jr. (2006).

* Five IRL IndyCar Series champions are scheduled to participate in the Firestone Indy 400: Scott Sharp (1996 co-champion), Sam Hornish Jr. (2001, 2002), Scott Dixon (2003), Tony Kanaan (2004) and Dan Wheldon (2005).

* The Firestone Indy 400 is the only event in the 2006 season that takes place on track with a distance of 2 miles. Michigan International Speedway will play host to the only 400-mile events on the 14-race schedule, the second-longest event of the year. Only the Indianapolis 500-Mile Race is longer.

* The Firestone Indy 400 will be the 131st IRL IndyCar Series event since the series' inaugural race in 1996. In the 130 previous events, 26,000 laps of competition have been completed.

* In 10 races thus far in 2006, there have been five winners. Sam Hornish Jr., Scott Dixon and Helio Castroneves are the only multiple winners. Hornish won at Indianapolis, Richmond and Kansas, Castroneves won at St. Petersburg, Motegi and Texas and Dixon won at Watkins Glen and Nashville. Dan Wheldon won at Homestead-Miami and Tony Kanaan won at Milwaukee. In those 10 races, 16 drivers have finished in the top five in at least one event.

* Sam Hornish Jr. is looking to becoming the seventh driver to win the Indianapolis 500 and an Indy-style race at Michigan in the same year. Drivers who have accomplished the feat include: Johnny Rutherford (1980), Gordon Johncock (1982), Bobby Rahal (1986), Rick Mears (1991) Juan Pablo Montoya (2000) and Buddy Rice (2004).

* IRL IndyCar Series drivers who have won Indy-style events at MIS include: Tony Kanaan (1999), Tomas Scheckter (2002), Buddy Rice (2004) and Bryan Herta (2005).

* Penske Racing has nine Indy-style wins at MIS. Penske drivers who won at MIS include: Rick Mears (1981, 1983, 1991), Bobby Unser (1979, twice), Mark Donohue (1971), Tom Sneva (1975), Mario Andretti (1980) and Danny Sullivan (1988).

MILESTONES:

* Tony Kanaan earned his seventh IndyCar Series victory at Milwaukee, breaking a tie with Scott Dixon for sixth on the IndyCar Series list for all-time victories.

* Andretti Green Racing broke its tie with Marlboro Team Penske for most victories by a team when Tony Kanaan won at Milwaukee.

* Helio Castroneves broke a tie with Greg Ray for most poles in a career when he won the pole at Milwaukee. Castroneves has 14 career pole positions.

* Sam Hornish Jr. became the first IndyCar Series driver to surpass $11 million in career earnings with his victory at Indianapolis earlier this season. He needs $206,095 in earnings to surpass $12 million in his IndyCar Series career.

* Scott Sharp needs one win to earn his 10th IndyCar Series victory and to tie Helio Castroneves and Dan Wheldon for second place on the IndyCar Series all-time wins list. Sharp will attempt to extend his series record for consecutive starts to 117 straight races.

* Marco Andretti would be the youngest winner of a major open-wheel event should he win at Michigan. Scott Dixon was 20 years, 9 months and 14 days when he won a Champ Car event at Nazareth in 2001. Sam Hornish Jr. (21 years, 259 days) was the youngest winner of an IndyCar Series event when he won at Phoenix in 2001. Andretti will be 19 years, 4 months and 17 days old on race day.

* Vitor Meira has gone 55 starts without a victory in the IndyCar Series, the longest drought of any IndyCar Series driver.

-irl-

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Juan Pablo Montoya
Teams Team Penske , Team Penske