IRL: Michigan: Round 13 preview

WHAT:IndyCar Series: Firestone Indy 400, 13th race in 17-race 2006 season WHERE: Michigan International Speedway, 2-mile D-shaped asphalt oval WHEN: IndyCar Series: Noon. (ET), Sunday, Aug. 5 DISTANCE: IndyCar Series: 200 laps/400 ...

WHAT:IndyCar Series: Firestone Indy 400, 13th race in 17-race 2006 season

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

WHEN: IndyCar Series: Noon. (ET), Sunday, Aug. 5

DISTANCE: IndyCar Series: 200 laps/400 miles

POSTED AWARDS: IndyCar Series: More than $1 million

CARS: IndyCar Series: Dallara chassis; Honda Indy V-8 engines; Firestone tires; 100 percent fuel-grade ethanol

PREVIOUS RACE WINNERS: IndyCar Series: Helio Castroneves (2006), Bryan Herta (2005), Buddy Rice (2004), Alex Barron (2003), Tomas Scheckter (2002)

2006 SERIES CHAMPION: IndyCar Series: Sam Hornish Jr.

TV: IndyCar Series: Race:
ESPN2 (live), Noon (ET), Aug. 5

RADIO: IndyCar Series: Qualifying:
IMS Radio Network, live web-cast, 4:15 p.m. (EDT) Aug. 4
Pre-race: IMS Radio Network (live), 11:30 a.m. (ET), Aug. 5
Race: IMS Radio Network (live), Noon (ET), Aug. 5

SCHEDULE (all times local; subject to change):

Saturday, Aug. 4
10 a.m. -- Noon IndyCar Series practice #1 (two groups)
1:15 -- 3:15 p.m. IndyCar Series practice #2 (two groups)
4:30 p.m. IndyCar Series AAMCO Transmissions Pole Qualifying

Sunday, Aug. 5
Noon Firestone Indy 400 (200 laps/400 miles) ESPN2 & 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

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.

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 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 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 will host the IndyCar Series at Belle Isle later this year.

INDYCAR SERIES NOTES:

* Five Indianapolis 500 champions are expected to participate in the Firestone Indy 400: Helio Castroneves (2001, 2002), Buddy Rice (2004), Dan Wheldon (2005), Sam Hornish Jr. (2006) and Dario Franchitti (2007).

* Five IndyCar Series champions are scheduled to participate in the Firestone Indy 400: Scott Sharp (1996 co-champion), Sam Hornish Jr. (2001, 2002, 2006), Scott Dixon (2003), Tony Kanaan (2004) and Dan Wheldon (2005).

*The Firestone Indy 400 is the only event in the 2007 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 17-race schedule, the second-longest event of the year. Only the Indianapolis 500-Mile Race is longer.

* Drivers entered in the Firestone Indy 400 have combined for 84 IndyCar Series victories, 80 IndyCar Series pole positions and 1,246 IndyCar Series starts.

* In 12 races thus far in 2007, there have been six winners. Dario Franchitti, Scott Dixon, Tony Kanaan, Dan Wheldon are multiple winners. Franchitti won at Indianapolis, Iowa and Richmond. Wheldon won at Homestead-Miami and Kansas, Dixon won at Watkins Glen, Nashville and Mid-Ohio and Kanaan won at Twin Ring Motegi and Milwaukee. Other winners in 2007: Helio Castroneves at St. Petersburg, Sam Hornish Jr. at Texas. In those 12 races, 14 drivers have finished in the top five in at least one event.

*Dario Franchitti 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).

* IndyCar Series drivers who have won Indy car events at MIS include: Tony Kanaan (1999), Tomas Scheckter (2002), Buddy Rice (2004) and Helio Castroneves (2006).

*Penske Racing has 10 Indy car 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), Danny Sullivan (1988) and Helio Castroneves (2006).

-credit: irl

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