IPS: IRL: Kentucky Speedway pre-race notes

Kentucky Speedway Event Notes: Auspicious Activation: "AMBER Alert Portal Indy 300 Presented by GPS Industries" race grand marshal and Kentucky Gov. Ernie Fletcher will activate the AMBER Alert Portal for the...

Kentucky Speedway Event Notes:

Auspicious Activation: "AMBER Alert Portal Indy 300 Presented by GPS Industries" race grand marshal and Kentucky Gov. Ernie Fletcher will activate the AMBER Alert Portal for the first time in Kentucky prior to the 3:45 p.m. start of the August 14 race. The Portal will expand the state's current AMBER Alert program - which broadcasts messages to TV, radio and electronic highway signs - to include cell phones, email, pagers, Personal Digital Assistants, computer desktops and lottery terminals, among others. Arizona, Idaho, Missouri, Montana, Oregon and Washington have implemented the new AMBER Alert Portal, making Kentucky the seventh state to go live. The Portal has already facilitated successful recoveries of kidnapped children nationwide.

AMBER Alert IDs: Meijer will help parents protect approximately 750 children by providing free AMBER Alert Child IDs to those who register on "AMBER Alert Portal Indy 300 Presented by GPS Industries" race day at Kentucky Speedway. AMBER Alert ID stations will be set up on the main concourse beginning at 10:30 a.m., when speedway gates open. Parents may register their children in the AMBER Alert system up to 3:30 p.m. The Child IDs are USB flash drive key chains or mini CDs. The IDs hold a digital photograph of a child, along with their name, age, height, weight and data on other distinguishing characteristics. In the event of a kidnapping, a parent or guardian can give the AMBER Digital Child ID to law enforcement for rapid input into the AMBER Alert Portal. The Portal is currently live in six states and rolling out nationwide.

Life Saving System: The AMBER Alert Plan is a voluntary, cooperative partnership between law-enforcement agencies and local radio and television broadcasters to broadcast an emergency bulletin to the public when a child has been abducted and it is believed that the child is in danger of serious bodily harm or death. When an AMBER ALERT is activated, law-enforcement agencies immediately gain the assistance of thousands of broadcast listeners and viewers. The AMBER Alert Plan relies on the community to assist in the safe recovery of the abducted child by providing additional eyes and ears to law enforcement as they search for the abducted child. It is hoped that this early warning system will coerce a kidnaper into releasing the child for fear of being arrested, but also, serve as a deterrent to persons from committing this type of crime in the first place. The AMBER Plan was created in 1996 as a powerful legacy to 9-year-old Amber Hagerman, a bright little girl who was kidnaped and brutally murdered while riding her bicycle in Arlington, Texas. The tragedy shocked and outraged the entire community. Residents contacted radio stations in the Dallas area and suggested they broadcast special "alerts" over the air-waves so that they could help prevent such incidents in the future.

Budding Talent: Kentucky Speedway will welcome ABC Daytime star and Ft. Mitchell, Ky., native Rebecca Budig as honorary starter of "The AMBER Alert Portal Indy 300 Presented by GPS Industries." The Cincinnati School for the Creative and Performing Arts graduate majored in zoology at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, before moving to Los Angeles in 1993 to pursue her acting career. Daytime audiences first became familiar with the two-time Emmy nominee and "Soap Opera Digest" Award winner when she played the virtuous Michelle Bauer on "Guiding Light" from 1995 to 1998. She joined the cast of "All My Children" in 1999, creating the role of Greenlee Smythe. Her film credits include "Batman Forever,""God's Lonely Man," and "James Dean: A Race with Destiny." She also can be seen on the ABC Family Channel as the host for the re-broadcast of "The Bachelorette" and "The Bachelor" series. She also is the host of "Full Frontal Fashion" on the WE Network and has written a book with the same title. In addition, she has made many guest appearances and served as guest co-host on ABC's "The View" and continues to make guest appearances on ABC's "Hope & Faith."

The Whole SHeBang: The melodious sister trio known to country music fans as SHeDAISY will grace the WUBE-FM B-105 Country Sound Stage at 1:00 p.m. on August 14 exclusively for Kentucky Speedway fans. Kelsi, Kassidy and Kristyn Osborn formed the group six years ago and found quick success when their first release titled "The Whole SHeBANG" became one of the most popular albums in country music history. The sisters scored their most recent hits with "Don't Worry 'Bout A Thing," "Passenger Seat" and "Come Home Soon" from their album, "Sweet Right Here." The group's other signature hits include "Little Good Byes," "The Whole SHeBANG," "This Woman Needs," "I Will...But," "Lucky 4 You (Tonight I'm Just Me)" and "Mine All Mine."

Da, da, da - Da, da, da: Kentucky Speedway and the Indy Racing League IndyCar Series "AMBER Alert Portal Indy 300" will be a part of sports broadcasting history when ESPN's SportsCenter Across America Tour, an unprecedented 50-states-in-50-days summer tour. The tour began on Sunday, July 17 at Fenway Park following the Yankees-Red Sox game. SportsCenter will traverse the nation and stop at a sporting event in a different state each day through September 4. Steve Berthiaume will host SportsCenter broadcasts near Victory Lane on Sunday, August 14.

Million-Dollar Baby: Kentucky Speedway invested $1,000,000 to install the second generation of the Steel And Foam Energy Reduction (SAFERTM) Barrier System inside the concrete retaining wall that spans Turns 1 through 2 and Turns 3 through 4 of the 1.5-mile tri-oval track at the facility. When a racecar collides with the barrier, square steel tubes buffered with polystyrene blocks dissipate energy before it reaches a driver. On-board collision data recorders have shown a 75 percent reduction in g-force felt by drivers as the system spreads impact energy over an extended distance along a retaining wall. During installation, five 28-foot sections of eight-inch square tubing are stacked and welded together. Two-inch thick sections of polystyrene are then stacked behind the welded sections in a pyramid shape at five-foot intervals. Finally, cables and nylon straps are attached to the tubing sections and concrete retaining wall at 14-foot intervals. Installation began following the May 14, season-opening ARCA RE/MAX Series "Harley-Davidson of Cincinnati 150" and was completed by May 31. The Kentucky Speedway project required an estimated 241.5 tons of steel tubing, 161 welded panels weighing 3,000 pounds each, 805 custom polystyrene blocks and 322 straps. Elrod Corp., of Mooresville, Ind., manufactured the barrier. The AutoZone Elite Division Southeast Series and NASCAR Busch Series were first to race with the system in place on June 17 and 18.

Leading Ladies: Rahal Letterman Racing rookie Danica Patrick will become the second female to start an IndyCar Series event at Kentucky Speedway on August 14 in "The AMBER Alert Portal Indy 300 Presented by GPS Industries." Sarah Fisher made racing history in 2002 when she won the pole award with a series track- record 221.390-mph (24.0661 second) lap before finishing eighth with Dreyer & Reinbold Racing. Fisher made four career Kentucky Speedway starts. She posted her track-best third-place finish in her Kentucky debut in 2000 with Walker Racing and finished 19th with the team in 2001. She finished 14th in her last series start at the track in 2003. Twenty-four-year-old Evernham Motorsports ARCA RE/MAX Series driver Erin Crocker became the second female pole award winner in speedway history on July 8, 2005 when she turned a quick lap of 173.723 mph. Other women who have made starts at Kentucky Speedway include Jayme Bolkovac (American Speed Association National Tour - 2004), Kim Crosby (ARCA RE/MAX Series - 2003), Sondi Eden (USAC National Midget Car Series - 2001-2002), Tina Gordon (NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series - 2003), Sunny Hobbs (Dash Series - 2004), Jessica Iannuzzi (USAC National Midget Car Series - 2001), Courtney Kirts (USAC National Midget Car Series - 2001 and Ford Focus Midget Car Series - 2004), Karla Lampe (ARCA RE/MAX Series - 2001), Sarah McCune (USAC National Midget Car Series - 2001), Arin McIntosh (USAC Ford Focus Midget Car Series - 2005), Jodi Meyers (USAC Ford Focus Midget Car Series - 2004), Stephanie Mockler (USAC Ford Focus Midget Car Series - 2005, 2004), Christi Passmore (ARCA RE/MAX Series), Ginny Quinones (USAC Ford Focus Midget Series - 2005, 2004) Deborah Renshaw (NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series - 2005, 2004 / ARCA RE/MAX Series - 2003) Shawna Robinson (ARCA RE/MAX Series - July and August 2000), Kelly Sutton (NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series - 2005, 2004 / DASH Series - 2003, 2002) and Lindsay Trausch (USAC Ford Focus Midget Car Series - 2005). Robinson set the precedent for women at the speedway by taking a third-place ARCA RE/MAX Series finish in August 2000.

Fantastic Finishes: Two IRL IndyCar Series Kentucky Speedway finishes rank among the series all-time closest in series history. Adrian Fernandez nipped Buddy Rice by .0581 of a second on August 14, 2004 to record the 10th closest finish in series history. Felipe Giaffone set a precedent for last season's fantastic finish by edging Sam Hornish, Jr., by 0.0932 of a second on August 11, 2002. That margin ranks 17th on the all-time IndyCar Series list. Two-time Kentucky Speedway race winner Buddy Lazier owns series' widest margin of victory at the speedway. He beat current ABC IRL IndyCar Series color analyst Scott Goodyear by 1.879 seconds on August 27, 2000 in the series' first race at the speedway.

Close Quarters: Kentucky Speedway has produced the two closest starting grids in IRL IndyCar Series history the past two seasons. Buddy Rice took the pole in 2004 with a quick lap of 216.016 mph (24.6648 seconds) and topped a field of 20 cars separated by 0.5782 of a second. That margins ranks second all-time. Sam Hornish, Jr., stood atop the closest grid in series history in 2003 at the speedway when he won the pole award with a 219.614-mph (24.2608 second) lap in a 20-car field that was separated by 0.5367 seconds.

Pole Prowess: Four of the five IndyCar Series Kentucky Speedway pole winners have finished in the top two in 300-mile races. Marlboro Team Penske driver Sam Hornish, Jr., became the only series driver to take a Kentucky win from the pole in 2003. Speedway pole winners Buddy Rice (2004 - 216.016 mph / 24.6648 seconds), Scott Sharp (2001 - 214.598 mph / 25.1633) and Scott Goodyear (2000 - 219.191 / 24.636 seconds) finished second in their respective races. Sarah Fisher (2002 - 221.390 mph / 24.0661 seconds) finished eighth.

Elite Engines: Honda and Toyota engines are at the head of the IRL IndyCar Series class at Kentucky Speedway. Ninety-four percent of Toyota entries have been running at the end of Kentucky Speedway events compared to 93 percent of Honda entries. Honda took it's first win at the speedway last season with Adrian Fernandez and gave Honda drivers a decisive edge over Toyota drivers in speedway earnings. Honda driver have earned $857,200 through two events and Toyota pilots have collected $698,650. The defunct Oldsmobile engine is tied with Chevrolet for the speedway lead in wins with two. Oldsmobile won the first two Kentucky Speedway races with Buddy Lazier and Hemelgarn Racing in 2000 and 2001. Oldsmobile also leads in series earnings at the speedway with $1,981,350 and Chevrolet ranks second 1,339,050. Chevrolet entered Kentucky Speedway's Victory Lane in 2003 Sam Hornish, Jr. and in 2002 with Felipe Giaffone.

IRL IndyCar Series Driver Notes:

Buddied Up: "The AMBER Alert Portal Indy 300 Presented by GPSI Industries" features the return of two-time Kentucky Speedway IndyCar Series race winner Buddy Lazier and defending pole winner Buddy Rice. Lazier will drive the No.95 Pennzoil/Byrd's/American Sentry Guard Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone for Panther Racing. The 37-year-old from Vail, Colo., won the 2001 and 2000 events at Kentucky Speedway driving for Hemelgarn Racing. He took his 2001 win after starting 11th and currently holds the track record for greatest improvement from the race start by an IndyCar Series winner. He finished third in 2002, 16th in 2003 and did not compete in 2004. Lazier raced to a fifth-place finish in the Indianapolis 500 on May 29, a ninth-place finish at Nashville Superspeedway and a sixth-place at Michigan International Raceway on July 31. His worst finish of the season came on the Milwaukee Mile where he finished 18th. Rice, the 2004 Indianapolis 500 Champion, finished third in the 2004 championship standings, and enters "The AMBER Alert Portal Indy 300 Presented by GPS Industries" 17th in the series standings and 244 points off the pace. He drove to his season-best third-place finish at Twin Ring Motegi on April 30. His other top-finishes were a seventh-place performance at St. Petersburg on April 3 and a 10th-place performance Kansas Speedway on July 3. He missed the Indianapolis 500 following a practice crash and has finished an average of 18.5 in his seven other starts this season. Rice finished second at Kentucky Speedway last season. Started from the pole in that race after generating the fourth-quickest series qualifying lap in track history at 216.016 (24.6648 seconds).

Featured Attraction: Twenty-three-year-old Rahal Letterman Racing rookie Danica Patrick enters "The AMBER Alert Portal Indy 300" ranked 11th in the series standings after posting two top-five and five top-10 finishes through 11 starts this season. Patrick became the first female to lead the Indianapolis 500 and posted the best finish of the four women who have competed in the event with a fourth-place performance. She led the race three times for a total of 19 laps. Patrick posted her first top-five finish with a fourth-place effort at Twin Ring Motegi Japan on April 30. She finished 10th at Richmond International Raceway on June 25, ninth at Kansas Speedway on July 3 and seventh at Nashville Superspeedway on July 16. Won the pole at Kansas Speedway and has qualified in the top-five five times and the top-10 eight times.

Czech Mate: Twenty-eight-year-old Tomas Enge returns to the Panther Racing line-up and No.2 ROCKSTAR Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone for "The AMBER Alert Portal Indy 300" after missing his past two starts due to injury. Enge suffered fractures to his T-12 and L-1 vertebra during an accident at Nashville Superspeedway on July 16th. He is the only Czech Republic born driver on the IndyCar Series circuit this season. He drove to his season-best seventh-place finish at Richmond International Raceway on June 25. It is his only top-10 finish of the season to date.

Three of a Kind: All three Menards Infiniti Pro Series races at Kentucky Speedway have been decided by less than one second at the finish line. P.J. Chesson won the closest series race at the track by .0514 of a second in 2004. Jeff Simmons nipped Corey Witherill by 0.1119 of a second in 2003 and A.J. Foyt, IV visited Victory Lane after beating Ed Carpenter by .0652 of a second in the inaugural race in 2002.

Marvelous Marco: Eighteen-year-old Marco Andretti of Nazareth, Pa., will make his fourth Menards Infiniti Pro Series start of 2005 and first at Kentucky Speedway in "The Bluegrass 100" on "The Louisville-Courier Journal Pole Day" on August 13. He earned wins from the pole position at St. Petersburg on April 3 and on the road course at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on June 18. He started 10th and finished 16th in his only series start on an oval this season at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on May 27. He won the 2004 Formula TR 1600 Pro Series championship with seven victories and captured the 2004 Skip Barber Formula Dodge Southern Series championship with 11 victories. He is the son of Michael Andretti, co-owner of the four-car IRL IndyCar Series Andretti Green Racing team.

-kentucky speedway-

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About this article
Series IndyCar , Indy Lights
Drivers Tomas Enge , Shawna Robinson , Sarah Fisher , Felipe Giaffone , Buddy Lazier , Scott Sharp , Scott Goodyear , Michael Andretti , Adrian Fernandez , Tina Gordon , Kelly Sutton , Buddy Rice , Skip Barber , Marco Andretti , Erin Crocker , Jeff Simmons , Deborah Renshaw , Kim Crosby , Christi Passmore , P.J. Chesson , Sarah McCune , Jessica Iannuzzi , Stephanie Mockler , A.J. Foyt , Sam Hornish Jr. , Danica Patrick , Ed Carpenter
Teams Panther Racing , Team Penske , Dreyer & Reinbold Racing