Race Preview: Michigan
August 2, 2007 | 2:49 P.M. EST
History: Michigan International Speedway opened in 1968 in the Irish Hills of Brooklyn, Mich. Lawrence H. LoPatin and American Raceways Inc. owned the facility from 1968-1972 before current IRL IndyCar Series owner Roger Penske purchased the track out of receivership in June 1973. In July 1999, Penske Motorsports Inc. merged with International Speedway Corp. In 2002, the IRL IndyCar Series visited the track for the first time with rookie Tomas Scheckter earning his first series victory.
Track Length: 2-mile D-shaped oval
Race Distance: 200 laps/400 miles
Banking of Turns: 18 degrees
Poster Awards: More than $1 million
Number of IRL Races Hosted: Five
Fastest Lap: 223.097 mph set by Bryan Herta in 2003
2006 Polesitter: Helio Castroneves
2006 Podium: Helio Castroneves (winner), Vitor Meira (2nd), Dan Wheldon (3rd)
Championship Standings: Click here
What happened in 2006?
Helio Castroneves was able to hold off a hard charging Vitor Meira during the last laps of the rain delayed Firestone Indy 400 at Michigan International Speedway to win his fourth race of 2006 and reclaim the championship points lead.
- The Firestone Indy 400 is the only event in the 2007 season that takes place on track with a distance of 2 miles. Michigan International Speedway will play host to the only 400-mile events on the 17-race schedule, the second-longest event of the year. Only the Indianapolis 500-Mile Race is longer.
- Dario Franchitti is looking to becoming the seventh driver to win the Indianapolis 500 and an Indy-style race at Michigan in the same year. Drivers who have accomplished the feat include: Johnny Rutherford (1980), Gordon Johncock (1982), Bobby Rahal (1986), Rick Mears (1991) Juan Pablo Montoya (2000) and Buddy Rice (2004).
- There have been five different winners in the five previous Michigan races, but none of the top-five drivers in the point standings have ever won at MIS. Only two drivers in the top-10 in the IndyCar Series points standings – Helio Castroneves (6th) and Tomas Scheckter (9th) – have won at MIS.
- This weekend’s event will be the final IndyCar Series race at MIS for the foreseeable future after series and track officials failed to reach an agreement for next season.
What they are Saying
"Michigan will be wide open, for sure. It's great racing for the fans because we will probably be side-by-side and inches apart all day long, but it's pretty nerve-wracking for the drivers. We just need to keep doing what we've been doing all summer and put together another good weekend."
--Danica Patrick, driver of the No. 7 Motorola Dallara-Honda for Andretti Green Racing
"I always remember sitting on the couch during the summer with my father and the one, big, mid-summer race was the Michigan Indycar race. Its always been high speed, big drafting, lots of action.....I'm excited to get back to MIS with our Patron RLR Team! I think we've taken large steps forward on the bigger tracks and are ready to contend for the win!"
--Scott Sharp, driver of the No. 8 Patron Tequila Dallara-Honda for Rahal-Letterman Racing
"I enjoy Michigan a lot and will always have fond memories of the track. It's where I got my first IndyCar win (in 1999) and I started on the pole there in 2004. Right now, we've got to focus on getting the 7-Eleven car back into victory lane. We're capable of winning any of the final races so if we can do that, we'll get ourselves closer to Dario (Franchitti) and Scott (Dixon) in the championship."
--Tony Kanaan, driver of the No. 11 Team 7-Eleven Dallara-Honda for Andretti Green Racing
"For sure, I am glad to give it one more run at Michigan. I'm sad to see that track leave the schedule next season since that's where I earned my first win in the Series, but I'm happy to have another shot to race there yet this season. It's a fast track and I'm really looking forward to going there. We've struggled a bit as a team in the last few races, so hopefully we can turn it around there. We had a good run at Michigan last year so we'll see what happens."
--Tomas Scheckter, driver of the No. 2 Dallara-Honda for Vision Racing
"Michigan should be a good race for us. The team has been working very hard on putting together a package that should put us in the hunt. It has been awhile since I was at MIS and I am looking forward to being a part of this last race there."
--Sarah Fisher, driver of the No. 5 AAMCO Dallara-Honda for Dreyer & Reinbold Racing
"Michigan International Speedway is where Firestone achieved the memorable first win of our current racing era, back in 1995. Firestone has won every MIS open-wheel race since, a notable achievement when you consider the extreme demands placed on race tires at this superspeedway, not to mention the uncertainty inherent in racing in general. We're proud of that record and eager to add another victory to the ledger with a new Firehawk tire spec at this year's Firestone Indy 400. We've also enjoyed the added exposure that Firestone receives from being title sponsor here in recent years"
--Al Speyer, Executive Director for Firestone Racing
Schedule of Events
Saturday, August 4
- Practice 1: 10:00 a.m. – Noon (ET)
- Practice 2: 1:15 - 3:15 p.m. (ET)
- Qualifying: 4:30 p.m. (ET)
Sunday, August 5
- Race: Noon (ET)