<pre> WHAT: Harrah's Indy 200; ninth of 13 races in 2001 Indy Racing Northern Light Series season WHERE: Nashville Superspeedway, 1.33-mile concrete oval WHEN: 7 p.m. (CDT) Saturday, July 21 DISTANCE: 266 miles/200 laps POSTED ...
<pre> WHAT: Harrah's Indy 200; ninth of 13 races in 2001 Indy Racing Northern Light Series season
WHERE: Nashville Superspeedway, 1.33-mile concrete oval
WHEN: 7 p.m. (CDT) Saturday, July 21
DISTANCE: 266 miles/200 laps
POSTED AWARDS: More than $1 million
CARS: Dallara and G Force chassis; Oldsmobile V8 and Infiniti Indy V8 3.5-liter engines; Firestone tires
2000 RACE WINNER: Inaugural Indy Racing Northern Light Series event at Nashville Superspeedway.
CURRENT SERIES POINTS LEADER: Sam Hornish Jr.
(Pre-Race) "Indy Racing 2Day" ESPN2 (live), 5:30 p.m. (EDT), July 21
(Race) ESPN (live), 8 p.m. (EDT), July 21 Announcers: Bob Jenkins, Larry Rice, Jason Priestley Pit reporters: Vince Welch, Jack Arute Replay: ESPN, 3:30 a.m. (EDT), July 22
(Qualifying) ESPN2 (live), 5:30 p.m. (EDT) July 20 Announcers: Bob Jenkins, Larry Rice Pit reporters: Vince Welch, Jack Arute, Jason Priestley
(Race) IMS Radio Network (live), 8 p.m. (EDT) July 21 Pre-race show starts at 7:30 p.m. Host: Mike King; Analyst: Johnny Parsons Jr. Announcer: Jerry Baker Sr. Pit Reporter: Mark Jaynes; Pit reporter: Kim Morris Area affiliate: WSM-FM 95.5, Nashville, Tenn.
SCHEDULE (all times local):
(Thursday, July 19) Noon: Indy Racing League garage opens 5-6:30 p.m.: Practice (two groups) 7:30-9 p.m.: Practice (two groups)
(Friday, July 20) Noon: Indy Racing League garage opens 2:30-3:30 p.m.: Practice (two groups) 4:45 p.m.: MBNA Pole Qualifying 6:30-7:30 p.m.: Autograph session 8-8:30 p.m.: Final practice (All cars)
(Saturday, July 21) Noon: Indy Racing League garage opens 6 p.m.: Cars to grid 7 p.m.: Harrah's Indy 200 (266 miles/200 laps)
THE TRACK: 1.33-mile concrete D-shaped oval racetrack Frontstraight: 2,494 feet Backstraight: 2,203 feet Turns: 1,220 feet Width: 55 feet (minimum) Banking: Turns-14 degrees; Frontstraight-9 degrees; Backstraight-6 degrees </pre> Ground was broken on Nashville Superspeedway in August 1999, and the facility includes 3,000 acres of which 1,200 have been developed. The track, owned by Dover Downs Entertainment, Inc., is one of three concrete ovals in the United States, the others being Dover Downs and Bristol Motor Speedway. The facility has 50,000 seats (25,000 permanent, 25,000 temporary) and 24 luxury suites. For night racing, the track uses an innovative Musco Lighting system that incorporates mirrors to simulate daylight and reduce glare. At the end of Phase II construction, the facility will feature a 1.8-mile road course, 1/4-mile dirt track, 5/8-mile paved oval, Legends oval track and a dragstrip. Ken Schrader won an ARCA event on April 13, the first race at the new facility.
THE RACE: -- The Harrah's Indy 200 marks the first time the Indy Racing Northern Light Series has visited Nashville Superspeedway. The event also marks the first Indy-style race in Tennessee.
-- This is only the second concrete track on which Indy Racing has competed. Races took place in 1998 and 1999 on the 1-mile concrete oval at Dover Downs International Speedway in Dover, Del.
RACE NOTES: -- Three Indianapolis 500 winners are entered in this event: 1998 champion Eddie Cheever Jr., 1996 champion Buddy Lazier and 1992 and 1994 champion Al Unser Jr.
-- The Harrah's Indy 200 is the fourth and final night race on the Indy Racing Northern Light Series schedule in 2001. In April, Greg Ray won the zMAX 500 at Atlanta, and in June Scott Sharp won the Casino Magic 500 at Fort Worth, Texas, and Buddy Lazier won the SunTrust Indy Challenge at Richmond, Va., the only other Northern Light Series events taking place under the lights.
-- Two Indy Racing rookies are confirmed to participate in the Harrah's Indy 200: Felipe Giaffone (Treadway-Hubbard Racing) and Didier André (Galles Racing).
SERIES NOTES: -- At 21, Sam Hornish Jr. became the youngest driver to win an Indy Racing League event with his victory at the season opener March 18 in Phoenix. He followed that with a win at Homestead-Miami on April 8 and is one of five drivers in Indy Racing history to win consecutive races.
-- Sam Hornish Jr.'s consecutive victories at Phoenix and Homestead-Miami, coupled with Buddy Lazier's back-to-back wins at Pikes Peak and Richmond, Va., mark the first time in Indy Racing history that two drivers have won consecutive races in the same season.
-- The Indy Racing Northern Light Series will consist of a record 13 races this year between mid-March and late September. In addition to Nashville, Tenn., five new markets for the Northern Light Series will play host to events in 2001: Chicago, Miami, St. Louis, Kansas City, Mo., and Richmond, Va.
-- The 2002 Indy Racing Northern Light Series schedule will have the largest number of events in Indy Racing history with 14 races between March and mid-September. Michigan International Speedway and Nazareth Speedway have been added as new venues, and the June race at Fort Worth, Texas, and events at Richmond, Va., and Nashville, Tenn., will be at night.
-- The Indy Racing League will not award qualifying points this year in an effort to discourage teams from building fragile but fast qualifying engines that provide an advantage over those teams lacking the budget to build the costly extra engines.
-- Sarah Fisher's second-place finish on April 8 at Homestead-Miami was her career best and the best by a woman in the history of Indy-style racing. Fisher also started second at the SunTrust Indy Challenge on June 30 at Richmond, Va., a career best and the best by a woman in the history of Indy-style racing.
-- Rookie Felipe Giaffone is dominating the series Rookie of the Year point standings. Giaffone has 217 points and is tied for third overall in the Northern Light Series standings with Eliseo Salazar. The next-highest rookie in the standings, Didier Andre, has 110 points and is 17th overall.
-- While Sam Hornish, Jr. holds a 60-point lead in the overall point standings over second place Buddy Lazier, only three points separate rookie Felipe Giaffone and Eliseo Salazar, tied for third place, and Scott Sharp in fifth place. Giaffone and Salazar each have 217 points while Sharp has 214.
-- Buddy Lazier's victory June 30 at Richmond, Va., was his sixth career Indy Racing League victory, tying Scott Sharp for the most career wins of any driver in league history. Sharp earned his sixth career win June 9 at Texas.
-- Should Buddy Lazier lead a lap in the Harrah's Indy 200, he would set an Indy Racing record by leading in 22 career Northern Light Series events. He is tied with 1996-97 champion Tony Stewart with 21.
-- Prior to the last two Northern Light Series events, no driver had ever led the first lap of an Indy Racing event when starting in the second row. On June 30 at Richmond, Va., Buddy Lazier took the lead on Lap 1 after starting fourth. Eliseo Salazar led the first lap July 8 at Kansas City, Kan., after also starting third.
-- Greg Ray has won 12 career MBNA Poles, a series record. He has three poles in 2001 with his most recent pole coming June 16 at Pikes Peak. He has started in the top four in 23 of the last 27 Indy Racing events in which he has competed.
-- Buzz Calkins has the longest active streak in Indy Racing of running at the finish, running in the last 10 consecutive races dating back to August 2000 at Kentucky Speedway. His best finish in that span is third on April 28 at Atlanta Motor Speedway. He has been running at the finish in 14 of the last 15 Indy Racing events.
-- Eddie Cheever Jr. and Buddy Lazier set a record July 8 at Kansas Speedway for most consecutive starts in Indy Racing Northern Light Series competition with 49. Davey Hamilton started 48 consecutive races from the inaugural Indy Racing event in 1996 until the Casino Magic 500 on June 9 at Texas Motor Speedway, where he suffered serious leg and foot injuries. Cheever and Lazier also share the record for competing in the most Indy Racing events with 50. <pre> STATISTICS:
2001 points leaders 1. Sam Hornish Jr. 309 2. Buddy Lazier 249 3. Felipe Giafone 217 Eliseo Salazar 217 5. Scott Sharp 214 6. Billy Boat 181 7. Eddie Cheever Jr. 158 8. Airton Dare 157 9. Buzz Calkins 156 10. Jeff Ward 144
2001 money leaders 1. Helio Castroneves $1,305,075 2. Sam Hornish Jr. $999,025 3. Scott Sharp $895,875 4. Buddy Lazier $807,425 5. Eliseo Salazar $741,700 6. Greg Ray $707,075 7. Billy Boat $659,375 8. Eddie Cheever, Jr. $636,875 9. Airton Dare $613,325 10. Robbie Buhl $612,975
2001 wins 1. Sam Hornish Jr. 2 Buddy Lazier 2 2. Helio Castroneves 1 Eddie Cheever Jr. Greg Ray 1 Scott Sharp 1
2001 rookie points leaders 1. Felipe Giaffone 217 2. Didier André 110 3. Brandon Erwin 40 4. Casey Mears 36 5. Jon Herb 33
2001 laps led 1. Sam Hornish Jr. 465 2. Greg Ray 357 3. Buddy Lazier 281 4. Eddie Cheever Jr. 168 5. Eliseo Salazar 74
2001 MBNA Poles 1. Greg Ray 3 2. Scott Sharp 2 Mark Dismore 1 Jaques Lazier 1 Jeff Ward 1
2001 wins by chassis 1. Dallara 8
2001 wins by engine 1. Oldsmobile 7 2. Infiniti 1