Indianapolis race weekend preview

WORLD'S GREATEST OPEN WHEEL RACING WEEKEND GRACES INDIANAPOLIS The Indianapolis Motor Speedway and United States Auto Club have joined forces to present, in a period of five days, the best display of open-wheel racing on the planet. Deemed the...

WORLD'S GREATEST OPEN WHEEL RACING WEEKEND GRACES INDIANAPOLIS

The Indianapolis Motor Speedway and United States Auto Club have joined forces to present, in a period of five days, the best display of open-wheel racing on the planet.

Deemed the "World's Greatest Open Wheel Racing Weekend," no less than 10 open-wheel races will be held within a 40-mile radius of the Indianapolis city limits, with some of the most prestigious events in motorsports to be exhibited over a five-day span, all leading up to the "Greatest Spectacle in Racing" -- the Indianapolis 500.

The weekend kicks off with Community Day on Wednesday. The 2006 new generation pavement Silver Crown car, a midget, and one of Tony Stewart's USAC-licensed National Sprint cars will be on display at the famed 2.5-mile oval. Fans can drive their passenger vehicles around the track, and later take their cars up to the Anderson (Ind.) Speedway for the USAC "Central Indiana Chevy Dealers 50" evening, featuring the Valvoline National Sprint Car Series and the Midwest Ford Focus Midget Car Series.

Practice and qualifying will be the top events Thursday morning and afternoon. The Menards Infiniti Pro Series gears up for the Futaba "Freedom 100" the following afternoon at IMS, while 15 sprint cars will be locked into the 33-car starting field for the "Little 500" at Anderson. Drivers, crews and other personnel will be on hand to end the day at the Blossom Chevrolet Indianapolis Speedrome for the "Vogler Classic," which encompasses a USAC midget tripleheader at the 1/5-mile paved oval.

Storied events continue Friday, known at IMS as Carburetion Day. The Infiniti Pro Series takes the green at 1:30 p.m. for the "Freedom 100," while a pit stop competition and final practice for the Indianapolis 500 follow. Fans can then dart across town to the Indiana State Fairgrounds for the 54th Coors Light "Hoosier Hundred," presented by The Indiana National Guard, a tradition dating back more than 50 years. Indianapolis 500 winners A.J. Foyt, Al Unser, Mario Andretti, Parnelli Jones, Rodger Ward, Bob Sweikert and Jimmy Bryan have all won the "Hoosier Hundred," which this year offers a $50,000 bonus to any driver who can start on the tail and win the event.

USAC will pull double duty on Saturday evening with traditional races that have been existed since the 1950s. To the northeast of Indianapolis, the 57th Payless/Remy "Little 500" will showcase 33 drivers, in 11 rows of three, competing in sprint cars on the tight quarter-mile bullring at Anderson. On Indy's west side, the USAC National Midget Car Series competitors will duke it out for 50 laps in the 60th Coca-Cola "Night Before The 500" at Indianapolis Raceway Park in Clermont.

The preceding events all surround the tradition, festivities and unparalleled excitement the Indianapolis 500 provides. And as in the past, 33 of the world's greatest drivers will vie for a bottle of mile and a replica of the Borg Warner trophy, with his or her likeness on the trophy after their performance Sunday afternoon.

- USAC -

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Series USAC
Drivers Tony Stewart , Mario Andretti , Parnelli Jones , Rodger Ward , A.J. Foyt , Al Unser