Richmond Int'l Raceway news 2009-06-17

ROAD TO INDYCAR SERIES CHAMPIONSHIP MAY RUN THROUGH RICHMOND INTERNATIONAL RACEWAY Richmond, VA (June 17, 2009)--If history holds true in 2009, there's a good chance the winner of this year's SunTrust Indy Challenge IndyCar Series race at ...

ROAD TO INDYCAR SERIES CHAMPIONSHIP MAY RUN THROUGH RICHMOND INTERNATIONAL RACEWAY

Richmond, VA (June 17, 2009)--If history holds true in 2009, there's a good chance the winner of this year's SunTrust Indy Challenge IndyCar Series race at Richmond International Raceway will at least have a good shot at claiming the series championship. In the eight years the IndyCar Series has run at America's Premier Short Track, the winner has claimed the series title four times.

The IndyCar Series made history by debuting at Richmond International Raceway's ¾-mile D-shaped oval in 2001, making it the shortest track the series visits annually. The following year, Sam Hornish Jr. claimed the checkered flag at Richmond International Raceway and won the series championship. In 2003, Scott Dixon repeated Hornish's feat; in 2006, Hornish again won the SunTrust Indy Challenge, along with the series title; and in 2007, Dario Franchitti captured both the race at Richmond International Raceway and the IndyCar Series title.

To go a step further, successfully maneuvering an IndyCar Series ride at Richmond International Raceway will equal overall success in the series. Here's a look at the past eight series champions and their finishes at Richmond International Raceway during their championship runs:

<pre> Year Eventual Series Champion Finish at Richmond International Raceway 2001 Sam Hornish Jr. 2nd 2002 Sam Hornish Jr. 1st 2003 Scott Dixon 1st 2004 Tony Kanaan 5th 2005 Dan Wheldon 5th 2006 Sam Hornish Jr. 1st 2007 Dario Franchitti 1st 2008 Scott Dixon 3rd

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The statistics show that of the past eight series champions, each driver has finished in the top five that year at Richmond International Raceway. That evidence would suggest that Richmond--a true "driver's track"--can only be tamed by the most elite drivers in the series.

Additionally, the 2001 SunTrust Indy Challenge winner--Buddy Lazier--was the series runner-up; the 2004 SunTrust Indy Challenge winner--Dan Wheldon--was the series runner-up; the 2005 SunTrust Indy Challenge winner--Helio Castroneves--finished sixth in points that year; and the 2008 SunTrust Indy Challenge winner--Tony Kanaan--finished third in points that year. This means that of the eight years the series has run at Richmond International Raceway, the winner has finished at least second in the final point standings six times.

Although it's no guarantee since there is tremendous talent throughout the series, it may be a pretty good prediction to say that someone who finishes in the top five at this year's SunTrust Indy Challenge will make a run for the series championship.

The IndyCar Series visits Richmond International Raceway June 26-27 for the SunTrust Indy Challenge weekend. Danica Patrick, 2009 Indianapolis 500 champion Helio Castroneves, 2008 series champion Scott Dixon, Marco Andretti, Dan Wheldon, Tony Kanaan, Graham Rahal and the rest of the IndyCar Series drivers will return to America's Premier Short Track as they reach speeds of 180 mph! Tickets for Saturday, June 27, include the SunTrust Indy Challenge IndyCar Series race, which will be preceded by the James River Grounds 100 USAC Silver Crown Series race. Tickets for Saturday night are $35 (reserved) and $30 (general admission).

The weekend starts Friday, June 26 with NBC12 Pole Qualifying for the IndyCar Series and the USAC Sprint Car Series Rotondo Weirich Showdown race. Friday's tickets are $15 and include admission to an autograph session featuring all of the IndyCar Series drivers. Children 12 and under are admitted free in general admission sections with a ticketed adult both nights. For tickets and information, please call 866-455-7223 or visit www.rir.com.

-credit: rir

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Series IndyCar
Drivers Helio Castroneves , Dario Franchitti , Scott Dixon , Tony Kanaan , Graham Rahal , Dan Wheldon , Sam Hornish Jr. , Danica Patrick