Only 10 days remain until the start of the IRL IndyCar® Series weekend at Michigan International Speedway.
Tickets are still available for the Firestone Indy 400 on Sunday, July 30, along with all events at MIS during the weekend, including IndyCar Series practice and qualifying on Saturday, July 29, and exhibits by historic Indy cars and Corvettes.
Fans can purchase tickets by logging on to www.MISpeedway.com, or by calling the MIS ticket hotline at 1-800-354-1010. 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, here are 10 facts, one for each day, as the Firestone Indy 400 weekend quickly approaches.
10 - Driving the No. 10 car for his first season with Target Chip Ganassi Racing is 2005 series champion Dan Wheldon. Wheldon finished second in last season's Firestone Indy 400 at MIS while driving for Andretti Green. He won the opening race of 2006 at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
9 - Tony Kanaan will be making career start No. 9 in the Firestone Indy 400 at MIS. Kanaan recorded his first ever open wheel victory at the 2-mile oval back in 1999. He has since gone on to win six IRL IndyCar Series races, including three during his championship season in 2004. He has yet to win in 2006, but has led the most laps in IndyCar Series competition at MIS (208).
8 - Danica Patrick will make her second career start at MIS in the Firestone Indy 400. Last season, Patrick finished 20th after starting in the No. 8 position. In 2006, Patrick has registered a number of top-10 showings, including an eighth-place finish at Indianapolis and a fourth-place finish at Nashville.
7 - Bryan Herta won the 2005 Firestone Indy 400 at MIS last season in the No. 7 XM Satellite Radio Dallara/Honda/Firestone and became the 12th different first-time winner in the last 12 major open-wheel races at the track, dating back to 1995 when Scott Pruett took the checkered flag at MIS for his first Michigan victory.
6 - Just six drivers have won the Indianapolis 500 and the open-wheel event at MIS in the same season. In 2004, Buddy Rice became the latest to accomplish the feat. Other drivers who have completed the double include Johnny Rutherford in 1980, Gordon Johncock in 1982, Bobby Rahal in 1986, Rick Mears in 1991, and now-NASCAR-bound Juan Pablo Montoya in 2000.
5 - This season's Firestone Indy 400 will be the fifth IRL IndyCar Series race at Michigan International Speedway. Past champions include Tomas Scheckter (2002), Alex Barron (2003), Buddy Rice (2004), and Bryan Herta (2005).
4 - Vitor Meira, the driver of the No. 4 Honda for Vision Racing, has been strong in 2006, with eight top-10 and five top-five finishes in nine races so far this season. Currently, he sits fifth in points. Meira is on the verge of his best season yet in the IRL IndyCar Series.
3 - Only three rookie drivers in the history of the IRL IndyCar Series have won a race in their first season of competition. The last rookie success happened at MIS when Tomas Scheckter won in 2002, following Buzz Calkins (1996 at Walt Disney World) and Jim Guthrie (1997 at Phoenix). Will Marco Andretti become the fourth in 2006?
2 - Just two drivers have finished in the top 10 in each of the four IRL IndyCar Series races at MIS. Scott Sharp and Sam Hornish Jr. have each turned the top-10 trick in 2002, 2003, 2004, and 2005, but neither has taken a checkered flag at the two-mile oval.
1 - 1960s driver Ronnie Bucknum had one victory in his IndyCar career. His lone win came on October 13, 1968 at Michigan International Speedway. 38 years later, Bucknum's son, Jeff, will make his first MIS start in the Firestone Indy 400 in hopes of repeating his father's success.
Tickets for the Firestone Indy 400 are currently on sale at MIS's official website, www.MISpeedway.com, or by calling the MIS ticket hotline at 1-800-354-1010. Tickets to all other events delivered by Domino's Pizza, which include the ARCA RE/MAX Series Hantz
Group 200, the NASCAR Busch Series Carfax 250, and the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series GFS Marketplace 400 on August 20, are also still available.
For tickets and information regarding events at MIS, log on to www.MISpeedway.com, or call the MIS ticket hotline at 1-800-354-1010.