IRL: Only ten days until MIS Indy 400

Only ten days until the Firestone Indy 400 at MIS BROOKLYN, Mich. -- Only 10 days remain until the first car circles the two-mile oval and signifies the start to the open-wheel portion of MIS' 35th anniversary season. As we count down the days,...

Only ten days until the Firestone Indy 400 at MIS

BROOKLYN, Mich. -- Only 10 days remain until the first car circles the two-mile oval and signifies the start to the open-wheel portion of MIS' 35th anniversary season. As we count down the days, here's 10 fast facts, one for each day, as the Firestone Indy 400 quickly approaches.

10- Ten-time Indianapolis 500 qualifier and 1960 Indy track record-holder at Indy, Jim Hurtubise was the last driver in open wheel history to drive a front-engine roadster in an Indy car event when he took the green flag at MIS on July 16, 1972 in his beloved Mallard-turbo Offy roadster. Herk started 26th and logged 13 laps before dropping a valve to finish in 23rd place. Little did he know at the time that he earned his place in motorsports lore with the short run at MIS.

9- Roger Penske has nine wins as a team owner at MIS in 101 race starts with 19 different drivers. Rick Mears tops all Penske drivers with three MIS wins, followed by Bobby Unser with two. Mario Andretti, Danny Sullivan, Tom Sneva and Mark Donahue captured a single victory for Detroit businessman Penske. (See attached for Penske's all-time stats at MIS)

8- Eight Thousand. Al Unser Jr. has raced more miles than any open-wheel driver in MIS history- compiling 8,128 miles in 22 starts and one win at MIS.

7- Bobby Unser has the most all-time open-wheel poles at MIS with seven. Unser's poles came in July 1971, July 1972, July 1973, July 1974, July 1979, September 1979 and July 1980. Additionally, Unser was the first driver to break the 200 mph barrier at MIS -- in July 1973 - with a speed of 204.487.

6- Six different drivers have won IRL IndyCar Series races so far in 2003. Scott Dixon is the only multiple winner capturing three victories at Homestead, Pikes Peak and Richmond. Tony Kaanan was victorious at Phoenix, Scott Sharp at Motegi, Gil de Ferran won the Indy 500, Al Unser Jr. at Texas and Bryan Herta at Kansas.

5- Five drivers have won the Indy 500 and gone on to win a race at MIS in the same year- Johnny Rutherford did it in 1980, Gordon Johncock in 1982, Bobby Rahal in 1986, Rick Mears in 1991 and 2000, Juan Pablo Montoya in 2000. Can this year's Indy 500 winner Gil de Ferran add to the list of five with a win in the Firestone Indy 400?

4- Indy Car legends Johnny Rutherford and Gordon Johncock lead the all-time MIS open- wheel win list with four wins apiece.

3- Can Helio Castroneves, the driver of the #3 Malboro Team Penske car -- winless since last year's Indy 500--end his winless streak in this year's Firestone Indy 400?

2- Only two drivers have won back-to-back open-wheel races at MIS. Bobby Unser captured two in a row in July and September of 1979 and Mario Andretti was victorious in July and September of 1984. Can Tomas Scheckter join this elite group this year?

1- Tomas Scheckter started first and finished first in last year's first IRL race at MIS for his only IRL IndyCar Series win to date.

Fans can see all the stars of the IRL IndyCar Series in the Firestone Indy 400 on July 27. All seats are just $40, or fans can purchase a combination ticket for both Saturday and Sunday for just $50. The combo ticket includes the Saturday, July 26 Sears 200 along with the IRL IndyCar Series Firestone Indy 400 and the Infiniti Pro Series races on Sunday July 27. Children 12 and under are free all weekend. For ticket information, visit MIS' official website, www.MISpeedway.com, or call the MIS ticket hotline at (800) 354-1010.

-mis-

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Series IndyCar
Drivers Tomas Scheckter , Al Unser Jr. , Scott Sharp , Helio Castroneves , Gil de Ferran , Bobby Rahal , Scott Dixon , Bryan Herta , Mario Andretti , Al Unser Sr. , Rick Mears , Bobby Unser , Tom Sneva , Gordon Johncock , Roger Penske , Johnny Rutherford
Teams Team Penske