IRL: Kentucky: Round 12 preview, schedule

Meijer Indy 300 presented by Coca-Cola and Secret/Kentucky 100 FAST FACTS WHAT: IndyCar® Series: Meijer Indy 300 presented by Coca-Cola and Secret, 12th race in 14-race 2006 season WHERE: Kentucky Speedway, 1.5-mile asphalt...

Meijer Indy 300 presented by Coca-Cola and Secret/Kentucky 100
FAST FACTS

WHAT:
IndyCar® Series: Meijer Indy 300 presented by Coca-Cola and Secret, 12th race in 14-race 2006 season

WHERE:
Kentucky Speedway, 1.5-mile asphalt oval

WHEN:
IndyCar Series: 3:30 p.m. (EDT), Sunday, Aug. 13

DISTANCE:
IndyCar Series: 200 laps/300 miles

POSTED AWARDS:
IndyCar Series: More than $1 million

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

PREVIOUS RACE WINNERS:
IndyCar Series: Scott Sharp (2005), Adrian Fernandez (2004), Sam Hornish Jr. (2003), Felipe Giaffone (2002), Buddy Lazier (2000-2001)

2005 SERIES CHAMPIONS:
IndyCar Series: Dan Wheldon

TV:
IndyCar Series: Race: ABC Sports (live), 3:30 p.m. (EDT), Aug. 13
    Live streaming video of all practice sessions, Marlboro Pole Qualifying (4:15 p.m. EDT, Aug.12) and the in-car footage of the race also will be available at www.indycar.com.

RADIO:
IndyCar Series: Qualifying: IMS Radio Network, live web-cast, 4:15 p.m. (EDT) Aug. 12
Qualifying wrapup: IMS Radio Network, 5:30 p.m. (EDT), Aug. 12
Pre-race: IMS Radio Network (live), 3 p.m. (EDT), Aug. 13
Race: IMS Radio Network (live), 3:45 p.m. (EDT), Aug. 13
    Live coverage of Marlboro Pole Qualifying (4:15 p.m. EDT, Aug.12) and the race also will be available at www.indycar.com. The race broadcast is also available on XM Satellite Radio channel 145 "IndyCar Racing."

SCHEDULE (all times local; subject to change):

Saturday, Aug. 12
11 a.m. -- 12:30 p.m. IndyCar Series practice (two groups)
1:45 -- 3:15 p.m. IndyCar Series practice (two groups)
4:30 p.m. IndyCar Series Marlboro Pole Qualifying (65 minute session)

Sunday, Aug. 13
10:30 a.m. Final IndyCar Series practice
3:45 p.m. Meijer Indy 300 presented by Coca-Cola and Secret (200 laps/300 miles)
    ABC & IMS Radio Network (live)

THE TRACK:
1.5-mile asphalt oval; 70 feet wide
Frontstraight: 1,662 feet
Backstraight: 1,600 feet banked at 4 degrees
Turns: 703.92-foot radius banked at 14 degrees
    Ground was broken on Kentucky Speedway on July 18, 1998.The speedway has 70,000 permanent seats and 50 luxury suites. Buddy Lazier won the inaugural IndyCar Series event at the track on Aug. 27, 2000.

INDY-STYLE RACING IN KENTUCKY:

Auto racing made its debut in the Cincinnati area in 1916 when John Aitken won the International Sweepstakes, a 300-mile race held on a 2-mile board oval. Louis Chevrolet won the race in 1917, while Joe Boyer won the final race in 1919.

The Cincinnati Race Bowl was a 3/8-mile paved oval opened in 1948. It was later named the Cincinnati Midget Speedway and then Milford Speedway. The site is now an industrial park located in Hamilton Township.

In 2000, the Kentucky Speedway opened in Sparta, Ky., and welcomed the IndyCar® Series for the first time. Buddy Lazier won the inaugural event, the Belterra Casino 300, in 2000 en route to his IndyCar Series championship that season.

INDYCAR SERIES NOTES:

* Four Indianapolis 500 champions are expected to participate in the Meijer Indy 300 presented by Coca-Cola and Secret: Helio Castroneves (2001, 2002), Buddy Rice (2004), Dan Wheldon (2005) and Sam Hornish Jr. (2006).

* Five IndyCar Series champions are scheduled to participate in the Meijer Indy 300 presented by Coca-Cola and Secret: Scott Sharp (1996 co-champion), Sam Hornish Jr. (2001, 2002), Scott Dixon (2003), Tony Kanaan (2004) and Dan Wheldon (2005).

* Drivers entered in the Meijer Indy 300 presented by Coca-Cola and Secret have plenty of talent and experience. The 19 drivers entered in the Meijer Indy 300 presented by Coca-Cola and Secret have combined for 70 IndyCar Series victories, 68 pole positions and 967 starts.

* The Meijer Indy 300 presented by Coca-Cola and Secret will be the fifth of six events in 2006 contested on a 1.5-mile track. Winners in 2006 on 1.5-mile tracks: Dan Wheldon (Homestead-Miami Speedway), Helio Castroneves (Twin Ring Motegi and Texas Motor Speedway) and Sam Hornish Jr. (Kansas Speedway). The final 1.5-mile track on the schedule is Chicagoland Speedway (Sept. 10).

* Scott Sharp and Sam Hornish Jr. are the only former Kentucky winners expected to participate in the Meijer Indy 300 presented by Coca-Cola and Secret. Sharp is the defending champion of the event. Hornish won in 2003.

* The Meijer Indy 300 presented by Coca-Cola and Secret will be the 132nd IndyCar Series event since the series' inaugural race in 1996. In the 131 previous events, 26,200 laps of competition have been completed.

* In 11 races thus far in 2006, there have been five winners. Sam Hornish Jr., Scott Dixon and Helio Castroneves are the only multiple winners. Hornish won at Indianapolis, Richmond and Kansas, Castroneves won at St. Petersburg, Motegi and Texas and Dixon won at Watkins Glen and Nashville. Dan Wheldon won at Homestead-Miami and Tony Kanaan won at Milwaukee. In those 10 races, 16 drivers have finished in the top five in at least one event.

INDYCAR SERIES PRE-RACE QUOTES:

HELIO CASTRONEVES (No. 3 Marlboro Team Penske Dallara/Honda/Firestone, point leader): "Kentucky is a challenging track, because it's very bumpy and very fast. The racing there is extremely tight with a lot of side-by-side action, so Sunday should be an exciting show for the fans. The race always comes down to the final laps, and I'm not expecting anything different this year. We'll definitely look to maintain the momentum from our win in Michigan and put up another strong finish.These last few races are very critical in the hunt for the championship, and I know Marlboro Team Penske is up to the challenge."

SAM HORNISH JR. (No. 6 Marlboro Team Penske Dallara/Honda/Firestone, second place, 8 points behind): "Kentucky has always been a special place for me. Not only have I won there (in 2003), but I also led my first IndyCar Series laps there in 2000. My performance in that race resulted in me getting my first full-time ride in the series. Kentucky Speedway is a fairly difficult track because of the bumps, plus the surface gets pretty slick when we run in the afternoon heat. After our difficulties in Michigan, I'm really looking forward to getting back out there and continuing our efforts to earn Marlboro Team Penske's first series championship."

DAN WHELDON (No. 10 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Dallara/Honda/Firestone, third place, 17 points behind): "I came to the Target team with a lot of goals, and one of them was to win the championship with a new team. That hasn't changed. I can't deny that it has been disappointing not to capitalize on every opportunity we had this year. We've had a lot of them, but there was always something. But with just three races left, we are that much more motivated to win. I've had less wins than any of the other drivers in the hunt, but I'm only 17 points out. It's a great opportunity to show what we have now, and I intend on battling to the end."

SCOTT DIXON (No. 9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Dallara/Honda/Firestone, fourth place, 31 points behind): "With three races to go in 2003, I was in fourth place in the driver standings with a 42 point deficit behind Castroneves. There were five of us in the hunt, and it was consistency, the Target team's "never give up" attitude and teamwork that won us the championship that year. We are nowhere near ready to give up on that now. The last two races were very frustrating for us but with three races left, we still can do this. We have all the elements to be successful. I've got two wins this year and I'm looking for more. I started second and finished second at Kentucky in 2003. No one should count us out."

VITOR MEIRA (No. 4 Revive Panther Racing Dallara/Honda/Firestone, fifth place, 56 points behind): "Kentucky is a track where Panther has had a lot of success, and we expect the same this season. We have reached a point where we feel very confident coming into every single race, and our expectations are high for this weekend. Panther has been strong at every different kind of track this season -- superspeedways, short tracks and road courses, so we expect the same at Kentucky."

TONY KANAAN (No. 11 Team 7-Eleven Dallara/Honda/Firestone, sixth place, 67 points behind): "The testing program that we have with the Indy Pro Series is paying off for us. We ran much better at Michigan as a result of it. We (AGR) tested at Kentucky with Dario (Franchitti) and Jonathan Klein, and I believe that Team 7-Eleven will see the benefits of that test when we race at Kentucky Speedway."

MILESTONES: * Helio Castroneves earned his 11th IndyCar Series victory at Milwaukee, breaking a tie with Dan Wheldon for second on the IndyCar Series list for all-time victories.

* Marlboro Team Penske tied Andretti Green Racing for most victories by a team when Tony Kanaan won at Milwaukee. Each team has 22 wins in the IndyCar Series

* Helio Castroneves extended his record for most poles in a career when he won the pole at Michigan International Speedway. Castroneves has 15 career pole positions.

* Sam Hornish Jr. became the first IndyCar Series driver to surpass $11 million in career earnings with his victory at Indianapolis earlier this season. He needs $171,245 in earnings to surpass $12 million in his IndyCar Series career.

* Scott Sharp needs one win to earn his 10th IndyCar Series victory and to tie Dan Wheldon for third place on the IndyCar Series all-time wins list. Sharp will attempt to extend his series record for consecutive starts to 117 straight races.

* Marco Andretti would be the youngest winner of a major open-wheel event should he win at Kentucky. Scott Dixon was 20 years, 9 months and 14 days when he won a Champ Car event at Nazareth in 2001. Sam Hornish Jr. (21 years, 259 days) was the youngest winner of an IndyCar Series event when he won at Phoenix in 2001. Andretti will be 19 years, 5 months old on race day.

* Vitor Meira has gone 56 starts without a victory in the IndyCar Series, the longest drought of any IndyCar Series driver.

-credit: indy racing league

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Felipe Giaffone , Buddy Lazier , Scott Sharp , Helio Castroneves , Adrian Fernandez , Scott Dixon , Tony Kanaan , Dan Wheldon , Buddy Rice , Marco Andretti , Chip Ganassi , Jonathan Klein , Sam Hornish Jr. , Vitor Meira
Teams Panther Racing , Team Penske , Chip Ganassi Racing