Firestone Indy 200

DIXON EYES THIRD CONSECUTIVE WIN AT NASHVILLE

Saturday, July 12 -8 p.m. (EDT)

Track - Nashville Superspeedway

Distance - 200 laps / 266 miles

TV ESPN (Live)

RadioIMS Radio Network / XM Satellite Radio(Live)

2007 Winner Scott Dixon

2007 Polesitter Scott Dixon

Nashville Superspeedway 1.33-mile oval

Sunbelt Rentals 100 4:30 p.m. (EDT)

Saturday, July 12

Track Nashville Superspeedway (1.33-mile oval)

Distance 77 laps/100 miles

TV ESPN2 (Taped) 2:30 p.m. (EDT) July 17

Radio IMS Radio Network

2007 Winner Robbie Pecorari

2007 Polesitter Alex Lloyd

Firestone Indy 200

Dixon dominant

Scott Dixon will attempt to win his third consecutive race at Nashville. If he wins, it will be the third time an IndyCar Series driver has won three consecutive races at one track. Dan Wheldon won three consecutive races at Homestead-Miami, and Dixon won three straight at Watkins Glen. Can Dixon recover from his spin at The Glen and return to Victory Lane at Nashville where he has led 194 laps in five starts?

Changing of the guard

Drivers from five teams have won races this season. At Watkins Glen, Ryan Hunter-Reay put Rahal Letterman Racing into Victory Lane for the first time since 2004. Darren Manning finished second, the best finish for A.J. Foyt Racing since 2002. Buddy Rice, with Dreyer & Reinbold Racing, finished fourth. RLR drivers started on the front row at Nashville in 2004. Can these teams continue their surge to the front of the grid on Nashville’s tricky 1.33-mile concrete surface?

Diverse, compact schedule puts teams to the test

Not only are IndyCar Series teams in the middle of a stretch of six consecutive races, but the next several races will have teams switching from oval setups to road-course setups and back again. Beginning with the race at Richmond June 28 and continuing through the race at Infineon Aug. 28, the schedule alternates between ovals and road courses. How are teams keeping up with the grueling schedule?

First-time winner at Nashville?

With nine rookies in the IndyCar Series field and several other drivers competing at Nashville for the first time, a driver could win his or her first IndyCar Series race at Nashville. Already this season, Graham Rahal, Danica Patrick, Ryan Briscoe and Ryan Hunter-Reay have won their first career races.

Race Notes:

The Firestone Indy 200 will be the eighth IndyCar Series event conducted at Nashville Superspeedway. Past winners Scott Dixon (2006, 2007) and Tony Kanaan (2004) are entered in the event.

Three drivers entered in the Firestone Indy 200 have won PEAK Motor Oil Pole Awards at Nashville: Scott Dixon (2003, 2007), Buddy Rice (2004) and Dan Wheldon (2006).

Twelve drivers entered in the Firestone Indy 200 have competed in previous IndyCar Series events at the track. Six of those drivers led laps (Scott Dixon 194, Tony Kanaan 149, Dan Wheldon 135, Vitor Meira 117, Buddy Rice 52 and Danica Patrick 7.

While Jay Howard, Hideki Mutoh and Jamie Camara are making their first IndyCar Series start at Nashville all three have Firestone Indy Lights experience at the track. Camara and Howard both won at the track. Camara in 2005 and Howard in 2006.

Season-to-Date:

·         Helio Castroneves and Scott Dixon are the only drivers to finish in the top five in eight of the 10 races this season.

·         Helio Castroneves is the only driver running at the finish of every race in 2008.

·         Seven drivers have won races in 2008. The IndyCar Series record is nine drivers in 1996/97, 2002, 2003 and 2005.

Milestones & Records:

Helio Castroneves will attempt to make his 108th career IndyCar Series start. It would also be his 106th consecutive start. Helio Castroneves can establish an IndyCar Series record for most consecutive seasons with at least one win should he win the Firestone Indy 200. Castroneves is tied with Scott Sharp with victories in seven consecutive seasons. Helio Castroneves can extend his IndyCar Series record for consecutive seasons with a pole to seven if he can win the PEAK Motor Oil Pole Award at Nashville. Scott Dixon needs to lead 85 more laps to become the fifth driver to lead 2,000 laps in his career. The others to lead at least 2,000 laps are Sam Hornish Jr. (3,428), Helio Castroneves (2,774), Dan Wheldon (2,735) and Tony Kanaan (2,419). Scott Dixon has led 633 laps this season. The record for most laps led in a season is 899 by Tony Kanaan in 2004. Helio Castroneves has led laps in 64 IndyCar Series races, second only to Sam Hornish Jr., who led laps in 67 races. Vitor Meira has gone 86 starts without a victory in the IndyCar Series, the longest drought of any IndyCar Series driver.

Sunbelt Rentals 100

Highly-competitive season resumes with Sunbelt Rentals 100

The Firestone Indy Lights season continues with a return to the 1.33-mile oval at Nashville Superspeedway. San Diego’s Richard Antinucci leads Brazil's Raphael Matos by 27 points while Englishman Dillon Battistini is third, 42 points behind. The top-six drivers (Antinucci, Matos, Battistini, Arie Luyendyk Jr., J.R. Hildebrand and Ana Beatriz) are separated by 73 markers.

Ladies first?

For the first time in series history, two female drivers are competing for the 2008 championship. Brazil's Ana Beatriz and Switzerland's Cyndie Allemann join the series as Lucas Oil Rookie of the Year candidates. Beatriz, who is sixth in points, benefits from the championship experience of Sam Schmidt Motorsports, while Allemann, who is 15th in points drives for American Spirit Racing, which won the Sunbelt Rentals 100 last year with driver Robbie Pecorari.

Can Sam Schmidt Motorsports continue domination at Nashville?

Sam Schmidt Motorsports drivers have won the three of the last four races at Nashville with Thiago Medeiros (2004), Jaime Camara (2005) and Jay Howard (2006) hoisting the Gibson guitar after the race. The team dominated the 2007 race with Alex Lloyd leading 54 laps before his car was forced to pit on lap 74 after it was damaged by debris. Schmidt has three cars entered this weekend, including points leader Richard Antinucci. Rookies Ana Beatriz and James Davison also drive for Sam Schmidt.

Race Notes:

Familiar names race in Music City

The Sunbelt Rentals 100 entry list features several drivers hoping to emulate their family’s success in open-wheel racing

·         Richard Antinucci, the nephew of 1998 Indianapolis 500 winner Eddie Cheever Jr., drives the No. 7 Lucas Oil/Sam Schmidt Motorsports car. He will be making his first start at Nashville.

·         Sean Guthrie, driver of the No. 4 Carcrafters Guthrie Racing car, is the son of three-time Indianapolis 500 starter Jim Guthrie. Guthrie will make his third start at Nashville this weekend in search of his first win.

·         Arie Luyendyk Jr., driver of the No. 26 Andretti Green Racing/AFS Racing car, also seeks his first win at Nashville. The second-generation driver, who finished second in the inaugural Nashville race in 2002, is the son of two-time Indianapolis 500 winner Arie Luyendyk.

Firestone Indy Lights drivers face concrete challenge: The Firestone Indy Lights makes its seventh visit to the 1.33-mile Nashville Superspeedway, the only concrete facility on the schedule. The concrete surface puts a premium on handling as track conditions change throughout the race. Along with Kentucky Speedway and Chicagoland Speedway, Nashville Superspeedway is one of only three tracks to have played host to the Firestone Indy Lights every season since its inception in 2002.

Home of Firestone

Nashville-based Firestone provides all of the tires for every Firestone Indy Lights team and serves as the title sponsor of the Firestone Indy Lights. 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.

Season To Date:

·         Five drivers have won races this year – Dillon Battistini, Raphael Matos, Richard Antinucci, J.R. Hildebrand and Bobby Wilson. Battistini has the most wins with three (Homestead, Indianapolis and Iowa). Matos and Antinucci split the doubleheaders at St. Petersburg and Watkins Glen.

·         Five drivers have won the SWE Pole Award this season – Raphael Matos, Dillon Battistini, Pablo Donoso, Arie Luyendyk Jr.., and Franck Perera. Matos is the only driver to win more than one pole (Homestead and St. Pete).

·         Richard Antinucci has finished first or second in six of the nine races this season. He won St. Petersburg 2 and Watkins Glen 2 and finished second at Homestead, St. Petersburg 1, Indianapolis and Watkins Glen 1.

Milestones:

·         Arie Luyendyk Jr. will attempt to make his 56th Firestone Indy Lights start at Nashville Superspeedway, which would extend his series record.

·         Bobby Wilson will attempt to make his 38th consecutive start, which is second on the all-time list. Jaime Camara holds the series record with 42 consecutive starts from 2005-2007.

·         Richard Antinucci and Raphael Matos moved into a tie with A.J. Foyt IV for seventh on the Firestone Indy Lights all-time win list with their victories at Watkins Glen.

Schedule (local time):

July 10

4-6 p.m. – IndyCar Series practice (Rookies and transition drivers)

July 11

9-10 a.m. – Firestone Indy Lights practice

10:15 a.m.-Noon – IndyCar Series practice

12:30-1:30 p.m. – Firestone Indy Lights practice (two groups)

1:45-3:45 p.m. – IndyCar Series practice (two groups)

4:15 p.m. – SWE Pole Qualifying

5:30 p.m. – PEAK Motor Oil Pole Qualifying presented by AutoZone

July 12

2:45 p.m. – Sunbelt Rentals 100 pre-race

3:30 p.m. – Sunbelt Rentals 100 (77 laps/100 miles)

6 p.m. – Firestone Indy 200 pre-race

7 p.m. – Firestone Indy 200 (200 laps/266 miles)


Related Motorsport Articles

84,671 articles