IPS: IRL: Homestead: Round one preview

FAST FACTS WHAT: IndyCar® Series: Toyota Indy 300 Presented By XM Satellite Radio, first race in 14-race 2006 season Indy Pro Series: Miami 100, first race in 12-race 2006 season WHERE: Homestead-Miami Speedway, 1.5-mile variably banked ...

FAST FACTS

WHAT:
IndyCar® Series: Toyota Indy 300 Presented By XM Satellite Radio, first race in 14-race 2006 season

Indy Pro Series: Miami 100, first race in 12-race 2006 season

WHERE:
Homestead-Miami Speedway, 1.5-mile variably banked asphalt oval

WHEN:
IndyCar Series: 3:30 p.m. (EST), Sunday, March 26

Indy Pro Series: 12:30 p.m. (EST), Sunday, March 26

DISTANCE:
IndyCar Series: 200 laps/300 miles

Indy Pro Series: 67 laps/100 miles

CARS:
IndyCar Series: Dallara and Panoz chassis; Honda Indy V-8; Firestone tires

Indy Pro Series: Dallara chassis; Firestone tires

TV:
IndyCar Series: Race: ABC (live), 3:30 p.m. (EST), March 26

Indy Pro Series: Race: ESPN2 (tape-delay), 1 p.m. (EST), March 31

RADIO:
IndyCar Series: Qualifying: IMS Radio Network, live web-cast 2:30 p.m. (EST) March 25; Wrap-up Show: 4:30 p.m. (EST)

Pre-race: IMS Radio Network (live), 3 p.m. (EST), March 26

Race: IMS Radio Network (live), 3:45 p.m. (EST), March 26

Live coverage of Marlboro Pole Qualifying (2:30 p.m. EST, March 25) and the race also will be available at www.indycar.com. The race broadcast is also available on XM Satellite Radio channel 152 "Extreme XM."

SCHEDULE (all times local; subject to change):

Friday, March 24
10:30 - 11:30 a.m. IndyCar Series practice (two groups)
11:45 a.m. - 12:15 p.m. Indy Pro Series practice
1-3:30 p.m. IndyCar Series practice
4:15 -- 5 p.m. Indy Pro Series practice

Saturday, March 25
10:30-11:30 a.m. IndyCar Series practice (All cars, controlled release)
1:30 p.m. Miami 100 qualifying
2:45 p.m. Toyota Indy 300 Marlboro Pole Qualifying
4:15 p.m. -- 5 p.m. Indy Pro Series final practice

Sunday, March 26
10 -10:30 a.m. IndyCar Series final practice
12:30 p.m. Miami 100 (67 laps/100 miles), ESPN2 (1 p.m., March 31)
3:45 p.m. Toyota Indy 300 (200 laps/300 miles), ABC-TV & IMS Radio Network (live)

THE TRACK:
1.5-mile asphalt oval; 55 feet wide
Frontstraight: 1,760 feet banked at 4 degrees
Backstretch: 1,760 feet banked at 4 degrees
Turns: 650 feet variably banked at 18, 19 and 20 degrees

INDY-STYLE RACING IN SOUTH FLORIDA:
The 1.25-mile wood oval of Miami-Fulford Speedway opened in 1926. The track was designed by Ray Harroun, the inaugural winner of the Indianapolis 500, and was built by Carl Fisher, who also built the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Pete DePaolo, who won the 1925 Indianapolis 500, won the only race at the track, a 300-mile race in 1926. A hurricane destroyed the track in September 1926. The wood and material from the track was used to rebuild the town of Miami Beach.

Open-wheel auto racing returned to South Florida in 1996 when the Homestead-Miami Speedway opened to racing. Built by Miami motorsports promoter Ralph Sanchez in hopes of aiding the revitalization of Homestead, Fla., the 1.5-mile oval hosted its first open-wheel race in 1996 when Jimmy Vasser won the inaugural Marlboro Grand Prix of Miami.

In 2001, the Indy Racing League made its debut at Homestead-Miami Speedway as Sam Hornish Jr. edged Sarah Fisher and Eliseo Salazar to win the inaugural Grand Prix of Miami, the first IRL IndyCar® Series event at the track.

Hornish won again in 2002, and Scott Dixon claimed his first victory in his IndyCar Series debut in 2003. Shortly after Dixon's victory, the track was re-configured to its current high-banked 1.5-mile layout.

INDYCAR SERIES NOTES:
* Five Indianapolis 500 champions are expected to participate in the Toyota Indy 300: Buddy Lazier (1996), Eddie Cheever Jr. (1998), Helio Castroneves (2001, 2002), Buddy Rice (2004) and Dan Wheldon (2005).

* Drivers entered in the Toyota Indy 300 have combined for 74 IndyCar Series victories, 59 pole positions and 882 starts.

* The Toyota Indy 300 will be the sixth IndyCar Series event conducted at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Every former Miami winner is expected to participate including: Sam Hornish Jr. (2001, 2002, 2004), Scott Dixon (2003) and Dan Wheldon (2005). The winner at Miami has gone on to win the IndyCar Series championship four times in the last five seasons.

* Six IndyCar Series champions are scheduled to participate in the Toyota Indy 300: Scott Sharp (1996 co-champion), Buddy Lazier (2000), Sam Hornish Jr. (2001, 2002), Scott Dixon (2003), Tony Kanaan (2004) and Dan Wheldon (2005).

* The Toyota Indy 300 will be the sixth IndyCar Series event conducted at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Every former Miami winner is expected to participate including: Sam Hornish Jr. (2001, 2002, 2004), Scott Dixon (2003) and Dan Wheldon (2005). The winner at Miami has gone on to win the IndyCar Series championship four times in the last five seasons.

INDY PRO SERIES NOTES:
* Gregg returns to defend race title: Travis Gregg is the first race winner at Homestead-Miami Speedway to return to defend his title. Gregg led all 67 laps of the season's first race, edging Sam Schmidt Motorsports teammate Jaime Camara to the finish line by 0.0713 of a second. Gregg will drive for Guthrie Racing in this year's race. Gregg has been dominant in seven career starts on 1.5-mile ovals. In those races, he has started on the front row each time, including four poles, and has recorded three victories.

* Bussell looks to extend record: Nick Bussell was the only Indy Pro Series driver to be running at the finish in all 14 races in 2005, establishing a series record. He'll look to push the streak to 15 in the Miami 100. Bussell also paced the series by completing 847 of 849 laps.

* Luyendyk Jr. an Ironman: The Miami 100 will mark the 41st career Indy Pro Series start for Arie Luyendyk Jr., the son of two-time Indianapolis 500 winner Arie Luyendyk.

* Simmons streak to hit 18: Jeff Simmons will start his 18th consecutive Indy Pro Series race dating back to Chicagoland in 2004. Last year, Simmons led the series with four victories and was the only driver to record a win at each type of track -- short oval (Milwaukee and Pikes Peak); speedway (Chicagoland) and road course (Watkins Glen).

* Five former race winners in the field: Five former Indy Pro Series race winners will take the green flag in the Miami 100. Jaime Camara, Wade Cunningham, Travis Gregg, Jon Herb and Jeff Simmons each won races in 2005.

* Pole position no guarantee of victory: Travis Gregg's win from the pole at Homestead-Miami Speedway in 2005 was the first time in three years that the pole sitter had won the race. In 2004, Phil Giebler came from sixth to win, taking the lead with six laps to go.

* Five rookies to debut: Five rookies will make their Indy Pro Series debuts in the Miami 100. Geoff Dodge, Matthew Hamilton, Jay Howard, Jonathan Klein and Brett Van Blankers all will make their first start. Another rookie, Bobby Wilson, made his debut last season, also is scheduled to compete.

***

The IRL IndyCar Series opens the 2006 season with the Toyota Indy 300 at 3:30 p.m. (EST) on March 26 at Homestead-Miami Speedway. The race will be broadcast live on ABC Sports and the IMS Radio Network. The IMS Radio Network broadcast is also carried on XM Satellite Radio and www.indycar.com. The fifth season of Indy Pro Series competition opens with the Miami 100 at 12:30 p.m. on March 26 at Homestead-Miami Speedway. The race will be telecast at 1 p.m. on March 31 by ESPN2.

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About this article
Series IndyCar , Indy Lights
Drivers Sarah Fisher , Eddie Cheever , Jon Herb , Eliseo Salazar , Buddy Lazier , Scott Sharp , Arie Luyendyk , Helio Castroneves , Jimmy Vasser , Scott Dixon , Tony Kanaan , Dan Wheldon , Sam Schmidt , Buddy Rice , Jeff Simmons , Nick Bussell , Phil Giebler , Travis Gregg , Wade Cunningham , Jaime Camara , Bobby Wilson , Jay Howard , Jonathan Klein , Matthew Hamilton , Geoff Dodge , Sam Hornish Jr. , Arie Luyendyk Jr.