IRL: Nashville: Fast facts, notes of interest

WHAT: Firestone Indy 200, eighth race in 16-race 2004 IRL IndyCar® Series season WHERE: Nashville Superspeedway, Lebanon, Tenn., 1.33-mile concrete oval WHEN: 7 p.m. (EDT), Saturday, July 17 DISTANCE: 200 laps/266 miles POSTED...

WHAT:
Firestone Indy 200, eighth race in 16-race 2004 IRL IndyCar® Series season

WHERE:
Nashville Superspeedway, Lebanon, Tenn., 1.33-mile concrete oval

WHEN:
7 p.m. (EDT), Saturday, July 17

DISTANCE:
200 laps/266 miles

POSTED AWARDS:
More than $1 million

CARS:
Dallara and Panoz G Force chassis; Chevy Indy V8, Honda H14R Indy V-8 and Toyota Indy V8 engines; Firestone tires

PREVIOUS RACE WINNERS:
2003 -- Gil de Ferran; 2002 -- Alex Barron; 2001 -- Buddy Lazier

2003 SERIES CHAMPION:
Scott Dixon

TV:
Race: ESPN (live), 7 p.m. (EDT), July 17

RADIO:
Race: IMS Radio Network, 6:30 p.m. (EDT), June 26
Area affiliate: WKOM-FM 101.7, Columbia, Tenn.
Live coverage of MBNA Pole Qualifying (4:30 p.m. EDT) and the race also will be available at www.indyracing.com/indycar.

Pre-race Notes:

IndyCar Series drivers face concrete challenge: The IRL IndyCar Series makes its fourth visit to the 1.33-mile Nashville Superspeedway, the only concrete facility on the schedule. The concrete surface puts a premium on handling as track conditions change throughout the race, which begins at twilight and ends under the lights. Last season, 2003 Indianapolis 500 winner Gil de Ferran claimed the victory in the season's final night race.

Season reaches midpoint: The Firestone Indy 200 marks the midpoint of the 2004 IndyCar Series schedule. The only driver to earn the IndyCar Series title after leading at mid-season was Sam Hornish Jr. in 2001. Andretti Green Racing driver Tony Kanaan hopes to turn his strong first half into a title, but his Andretti Green Racing teammate Dan Wheldon and Indianapolis 500 winner Buddy Rice each have won two races and are his closest competition for the title.

Local links: IndyCar Series driver Dario Franchitti is a native of Scotland, but the driver of the No. 27 ArcaEx Dallara/Honda/Firestone calls Nashville home. In addition, Nashville-based Firestone provides all of the tires for every Indy Racing League team. The company recently opened a distribution center near Nashville Superspeedway in Lebanon, Tenn,, which typically handles 90,000 tires per day and services customers in the company's mid-South region, shipping tires to every state east of the Mississippi River. Firestone also serves as title sponsor of the Firestone Indy 200.

Racing and music join forces again: The Firestone Indy 200 pre-race Capitol Records Summer Concert Series will feature country music star Trace Adkins, whose hits include "I Left Something Turned On At Home," "Chrome," "I'm Tryin'" and "Hot Mama." Past concerts at Nashville events have featured Wynonna and Brad Paisley.

Medeiros takes aim at IRL record: Menards Infiniti Pro Series points leader Thiago Medeiros can set an IRL record if he wins at Nashville. A victory in the Menards Infiniti Pro Series Cleanevent 100 would be Medeiros' fourth consecutive win, breaking the mark he currently shares with IndyCar Series driver Kenny Brack and Menards Infiniti Pro Series driver Mark Taylor.

Concrete suits Barron: Red Bull Cheever Racing driver Alex Barron has finished in the top five in each of his two visits to Nashville Superspeedway. Barron won his debut at the track in 2002 and finished fifth at the track last season.

SCHEDULE: (all times local; subject to change)

FRIDAY, JULY 16 10 a.m. IndyCar Series practice (two groups/45 minutes each) 12:45 p.m. IndyCar Series practice (two groups/45 minutes each) 3:45 p.m. IndyCar Series MBNA Pole Qualifying 7 p.m. IndyCar Series warmup (all cars/30 minutes)

SATURDAY, JULY 17 6 p.m. Firestone Indy 200 (200 laps/266 miles), ESPN & IMS Radio Network (live)

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Mark Taylor , Buddy Lazier , Gil de Ferran , Dario Franchitti , Scott Dixon , Tony Kanaan , Kenny Brack , Alex Barron , Dan Wheldon , Buddy Rice , Sam Hornish Jr. , Thiago Medeiros