Race Preview: Nashville
July 12, 2006 | 9:52 A.M. EST
Built: Ground was broken on Nashville Superspeedway in August 1999, becoming the third concrete oval in the United States (the others being Dover Downs and Bristol Motor Speedway)
Track Length: 1.33 mile concrete oval
Race Distance: 200 Laps/266 miles
Banking of Turns: 14 degrees
Poster Awards: More than $1 million
Number of IRL Races Hosted: Five
Fastest Lap: 206.211 mph set by Scott Dixon in 2003
2005 Polesitter: Tomas Scheckter
2005 Podium: Dario Franchitti (winner), Sam Hornish Jr. (2nd), Patrick Carpentier (3rd)
What happened in 2005?
On a night when everything seemed to go wrong for Andretti Green Racing, Dario Franchitti had his luck change in the final laps Saturday, breaking through to post his first IRL IndyCar Series victory of the season in the Firestone Indy 200 at Nashville Speedway.
The Firestone Indy 200 is the only event in the series that takes place on a track with a concrete surface and the only track with a 1.33-mile distance. The event is the third and final night race of the season.
Home Town Feeling
IndyCar Series driver Dario Franchitti is a native of Scotland, but the driver of Andretti Green Racing’s No. 27 Klein Tools/Canadian Club Dallara-Honda calls the Nashville-area home.
In addition, Nashville-based Firestone provides all of the tires for every Indy Racing League team. The company operates a distribution center near Nashville Superspeedway in Lebanon, Tenn., which handles 90,000 tires per day and services customers in the company’s mid-South region, shipping tires to every state east of the Mississippi River.
What they are Saying
"The NYSE team had the opportunity to test at Nashville a couple weeks ago and that should help us with the setup for the car. The track's concrete surface is bumpy in places so we'll have our work cut out for us but the team has done a great job thus far and I'm confident that we will have another good race."
--Marco Andretti, driver of the No. 26 NYSE Dallara-Honda for Andretti Green Racing
"I have a lot of good memories from last year. It means a lot to win anywhere but I had a lot of friends and family in the stands last year and that made it very special. I’m really looking forward to coming back here and trying to win again. Since I’ve been coming here, the stands have been full every year. In the past, Nashville has been NASCAR country but now the IndyCar Series is the biggest race on the schedule."
--Dario Franchitti, defending race winner and driver of the No. 27 Klein Tools/Canadian Club Dallara-Honda for Andretti Green Racing
"While it might seem like Nashville is just another oval for us, it really poses a lot of challenges. This is the only concrete surface we race on all year. It’s the same for everyone out there, so the different track surface means more work for the engineers but I know Marlboro Team Penske is up for the challenge. We’ve had some good runs mixed with a little bad luck, so hopefully we’ll be able to work things out and return to victory lane."
--Helio Castroneves, driver of the No. 3 Marlboro Team Penske Dallara-Honda.
"This track always presents a big challenge to our engineers. It is very difficult to strike a balance with a tire that is hard enough to stand up to the concrete, yet soft enough to provide the drivers with the grip that they need. We definitely have to watch tire wear more closely here than at any other track on the schedule. But that is a key reason why we go racing - to meet difficult challenges head-on and seek new and better solutions."
--Al Speyer, Executive Director of Motorsports for Firestone Racing
Schedule of Events
Friday, July 14
Saturday, July 15