Only 10 days remain until the start of the IndyCar® Series Firestone Indy 400 weekend at Michigan International Speedway.
Tickets are available for the Firestone Indy 400 on Sunday, August 5, along with all events at MIS during the weekend, including IndyCar Series practice and qualifying on Saturday, August 4, and exhibits by historic Indy cars and Corvettes.
Fans can purchase tickets by logging on to MISpeedway.com, or by calling the MIS Ticket Hotline at 800.354.1010. The MIS ticket hotline is open from 9:00 a.m. - 9:00 p.m. seven days a week.
As we count down the days until the Firestone Indy 400, here are 10 facts, one for each day.
Media Note: Feel free to use this daily countdown leading up to the Firestone Indy 400.
10 - In the 2006 Firestone Indy 400 there were only two caution periods which slowed the field of 19 cars down for 10 laps. The minimal number of cautions, which is an IndyCar Series track record, also allowed for another IndyCar Series track record to be changed. Helio Castroneves took the checkered flag with a race speed of 193.272 mph, not only setting an MIS open wheel record, but it was the third-fastest average speed in IndyCar Series history.
9 - The 2007 Indianapolis 500 winner Dario Franchitti will be making his ninth open wheel start at Michigan International Speedway. Franchitti has five starts at the two-mile oval in the former CART Series, with three top-five finishes. The IndyCar Series hasn't treated Franchitti so kindly since his MIS IndyCar debut in 2004. He has one top-10 finish (eighth, 7/05) in three starts. This year however may be Franchitti's opportunity to succeed at MIS, as the driver of the No. 27 Andretti Green Racing Honda is currently at the top of the point standings after posting three wins and 10 top-five finishes this season.
8 - Scott Sharp, driver of the No. 8 Patron Sharp Rahal Letterman Honda, has not won at the two-mile oval, but he has two achievements that no other driver will ever be able to say. Sharp is the only driver that has finished in the top 10 in all five IndyCar races at MIS, as well as being the only driver to complete all 2,000 miles.
7 - Sam Hornish Jr. will make his seventh start at MIS Sunday, August 5 in the Firestone Indy 400. Hornish will be making his sixth start in the IndyCar Series, but Hornish also made one start in a stock car during June's ARCA RE/MAX Series event. Hornish also plans to enter the CARFAX 250 Busch Series race later this month, making him the only driver in MIS history to race in the ARCA, Busch, and IndyCar Series in the same season.
6 - If a driver doesn't receive the AAA Pole Award for the Firestone Indy 400, starting from the sixth position would be their best bet. Since the IndyCar Series' Michigan International Speedway debut in 2002, the driver that started from the sixth position hasn't finished any worse than where they began. Two drivers have won from the sixth starting position, Buddy Rice in 2004 and Alex Barron in 2003. Last year's race winner Helio Castroneves started in the sixth position in 2002 as well as Buddy Lazier in 2005, both drivers finished their day in that same position. The only driver who was in position to challenge Helio Castroneves last year was second place finisher Vitor Meira, who coincidentally began the race in the sixth position.
5 - The five IndyCar Series events held at Michigan International Speedway have seen no repeat winners. Three current drivers (Helio Castroneves, Buddy Rice, and Tomas Scheckter) will attempt to be the first two-time IndyCar Series winner and the first repeat winner in open wheel racing at the track since Scott Goodyear in 1994.
4 - Vitor Meira, the driver of the No. 4 Honda for Panther Racing, had a stellar performance in last year's IndyCar Series race and has been strong in 2007, with eight top-10 and three top-five finishes in 11 races so far this season. Meira has four IndyCar starts at MIS, finishing fifth in 2004 and
second last year. Meira led the field on three different occasions for a total of 75 laps, the most of any driver.
3 - The driver who ended his day in position No. 3 in last year's Firestone Indy 400 was Target Chip Ganassi Racing's Dan Wheldon. The third place finish gave the 2005 IndyCar Series champion his third top five (7/06, 7/05, 8/04) at MIS in only four starts, placing him third on the track IndyCar average finishing position list. Wheldon is currently fourth in the series points standing.
2 - With two laps to go in the 2006 Firestone Indy 400, Danica Patrick ran out of gas, ruining her top-10 run. Patrick finished in the 17th position, just three spots ahead of her 20th place finish in 2005. Overrun with emotions, Patrick stormed and stomped down pit road where she knocked over an orange traffic cone in frustration. The most recent woman to race in an open wheel event at MIS voiced her disappointment with her now former crew at Rahal Letterman Racing, blaming them for the miscalculation of fuel mileage. Patrick's foot stomping tirade landed her in the sixth spot in the "Top Ten MIS Moments of 2006."
1 - The driver who starts from the first position in the Firestone Indy 400 Sunday, August 5 has a better shot than anyone else to visit Gatorade Victory Lane. Since the first open wheel event held at the two-mile oval in 1968, 17 drivers who started from the pole ended up winning. The most recent three drivers to do so were competing in an IndyCar Series event (Helio Castroneves, 07/06; Bryan Herta, 07/05; Tomas Scheckter, 07/02).
To get your tickets for the Firestone Indy 400 visit MISpeedway.com, or call the MIS Ticket Hotline at 800.354.1010. Tickets to the remaining events of the 2007 race season at MIS, including the CARFAX 250 NASCAR Busch Series race on August 18 and the 3M Performance 400 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series race on August 19 are also available. "It's Your Speed" at Michigan International Speedway.