IRL: Michigan Speedway special offer to drivers' parents

IndyCar driver moms and dads invited to watch from the grandstands BROOKLYN, Mich. (July 11, 2007) -- When push comes to shove, IndyCar Series dads will always have a special place at Michigan International Speedway. All dads of current...

IndyCar driver moms and dads invited to watch from the grandstands

BROOKLYN, Mich. (July 11, 2007) -- When push comes to shove, IndyCar Series dads will always have a special place at Michigan International Speedway.

All dads of current IndyCar Series drivers will be given two complimentary tickets to Michigan International Speedway's Firestone Indy 400 on Aug. 5. IndyCar Series moms are also eligible.

Speedway President Roger Curtis made his "Pit Road Parent" ticket offer following an altercation in the pits after last Sunday's IndyCar Series race at Watkins Glen that involved series champions Tony Kanaan, Sam Hornish Jr. and Hornish's dad.

"Anytime a great champion like Tony Kanaan makes a suggestion, we need to listen," Curtis said. "We are always telling our fans and partners that being in the pits or in the garage is like being in a team locker room. It's as close to the action as you can get in any sport, anywhere. But wouldn't it be nice for a parent of a driver to enjoy a race as a guest at MIS, rather than as a participant?"

The heated exchange broke out when the drivers exited their cars after the checkered flag. Hornish and Kanaan approached each other angrily, Hornish's 65-year-old father, Sam Hornish, pushed Kanaan, and was later knocked to the ground by a series hard-card holder in pit lane.

The cars had touched during the race and the drivers said they wanted to clear the air.

"He hit me," Kanaan said of Hornish Jr. on the track. "I got out of the car to talk to him. He needs his dad to defend him, which I think is totally wrong. What happened on the track, we need to sort it out between me and him. I was not going to fight. That's why dads should be in the grandstands."

Hornish Jr. said his last lap was clean, and that Kanaan ran into him after the race.

"Tony (Kanaan) came up right behind me through some of the corners. I figured he's probably going to try to make his point," Hornish. Jr. said. "Then when he drove by me and ran into me, bent the toe links and tried to put me in the inside wall, and that's something I'm not going to take, especially coming to the pit lane where you've got all the guys going over the wall, changing tires, doing all that stuff and people that aren't expecting two cars to come down there having problems."

Several drivers, team owners, crew members, and Indy Racing League officials rushed to the pits to break up the fracas. At least one IndyCar Series mom also stepped in, it appeared.

"We want all families -- even families of IndyCar Series drivers -- to enjoy themselves when they come to Michigan International Speedway," Curtis added. "We have fantastic camping, amazing hospitality, and great views of the entire speedway from every seat. So I invite all the IndyCar Series dads and moms to sit and enjoy the best IndyCar Series show all season -- the great show on track; not afterward from the pits."

Team Penske and Andretti Green Racing were eventually fined $25,000 each for unsportsmanlike conduct on pit road as cars returned immediately after the checkered flag. Kanaan and Hornish Jr. have also been fined an unspecified amount for their actions.

Sam Hornish Jr.'s father has been suspended from pit lane for one race. And the teams, the drivers and Hornish have been placed on probation until Dec. 31. The hard-card holder, an Andretti Green Racing guest, has had his credential privileges revoked indefinitely.

IndyCar Series driver moms and dads who would like to claim their complimentary Firestone Indy 400 tickets should call the track's Communications Department at (517) 592-6666.

Great seats are available for all the high-speed action of the IndyCar Series at Michigan International Speedway by calling the Ticket Hotline at (800) 354-1010 or logging onto the track's official Web site at MISpeedway.com.

-credit: mis

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Tony Kanaan , Sam Hornish Jr. , Sam Hornis
Teams Team Penske