IZOD IndyCar Series - IZOD IndyCar Series - Firestone 550k Preview

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DATE: Saturday, June 9th
SITE: Texas Motor Speedway (1997) -- Fort Worth, Texas
TRACK: 1.5-mile oval - 2,250 feet (Frontstretch); 1,330 feet (Backstretch)
CAPACITY: 138,122 (Total Permanent Seating)
ANNUAL: 16th
TELEVISION: NBC Sports Network
ANNOUNCERS: Bob Jenkins, Jon Beekhuis, Wally Dallenbach
RADIO: IMS Radio Network/SIRIUS XM Satellite
START TIME: 8 p.m. (ET)
DEFENDING CHAMPION: Dario Franchitti (Race 1), Will Power (Race 2)
POLE WINNER: Alex Tagliani ((Race 1), Tony Kanaan (Race 2)
LAPS: 228
MILES: 342 (550 kilometers)
QUALIFYING RECORD: Billy Boat, 1998 (225.979 m.p.h.)
RACE RECORD: Will Power, 2011 Race 2, (206.693 m.p.h.)
2011 Finish
1Dario Franchitti26Ryan Briscoe9
2Scott Dixon77E.J. Viso19
3Will Power38Vitor Meira12
4Alex Tagliani19Graham Rahal20
5Takuma Sato410Helio Castroneves13
2011 (First 275k Race) Facts and Figures
AVERAGE SPEED: 181.649 m.p.h.
TIME OF RACE: 54 minutes, 47.2787 seconds
MARGIN OF VICTORY: 0.0527 second
CAUTION FLAGS: 1 for 10 laps
LEAD CHANGES: 6 among 5 drivers
POLE WINNER: Alex Tagliani (215.186 m.p.h.)
FASTEST LAP: E.J. Viso, 216.263 m.p.h., Lap 59
Past Firestone 550k Winners (Starting Position) Car -- Speed
2011 -- Dario Franchitti (2nd) -- Dallara-Honda -- 181.649 m.p.h. (Race 1)
2011 -- Will Power (3rd) -- Dallara-Honda -- 206.693 m.p.h. (Race 2)
2010 -- Ryan Briscoe (1st) -- Dallara-Honda -- 159.508 m.p.h.
2009 -- Helio Castroneves (4th) -- Dallara-Honda -- 172.677 m.p.h.
2008 -- Scott Dixon (1st) -- Dallara-Honda -- 159.740 m.p.h.
2007 -- Sam Hornish Jr (2nd) -- Dallara-Honda -- 177.314 m.p.h.
2006 -- Helio Castroneves (3rd) -- Dallara-Honda -- 185.710 mph
2005 -- Tomas Scheckter (1st) -- Dallara-Chevrolet -- 165.047 m.p.h.
2004 -- Tony Kanaan (3rd) -- Dallara-Honda -- 153.965 m.p.h.
2003 -- Al Unser Jr (7th) -- Dallara-Toyota -- 168.213 m.p.h.
2002 -- Jeff Ward (7th) -- G-Force-Chevrolet -- 164.984 m.p.h.
2001 -- Scott Sharp (2nd) -- Dallara-Oldsmobile -- 150.873 m.p.h.
2000 -- Scott Sharp (12th) -- Dallara-Oldsmobile -- 169.182 m.p.h.
1999 -- Scott Goodyear (8th) -- G-Force-Oldsmobile Aurora -- 151.177 m.p.h.
1998 -- Billy Boat (2nd) -- Dallara-Oldsmobile Aurora -- 145.388 m.p.h.
1997 -- Arie Luyendyk (11th) -- G-Force-Oldsmobile Aurora -- 103.903 m.p.h.
NOTE: Formerly called True Value 500 (1997-98), Longhorn 500 (1999), Casino
Magic 500 (2000-2001), Boomtown 500 (2002), Bombardier 500 (2003-04),
Bombardier Learjet 500 (2005-06), Bombardier Learjet 550 (2007-09),
Firestone 550k (2010), Firestone Twin 275s (2011). Race increased from
500 kilometers to 550 in 2007, and then changed to twin 275-kilometer
events in 2011. Race returned to 550 kilometers for 2012.
Past Firestone 550k Pole Winners (Finish)
2011 -- Alex Tagliani -- 4th (Race 1)
2011 -- Tony Kanaan -- 5th (Race 2)
2010 -- Ryan Briscoe -- 1st
2009 -- Dario Franchitti -- 5th
2008 -- Scott Dixon -- 1st
2007 -- Scott Sharp -- 7th
2006 -- Sam Hornish Jr -- 4th
2005 -- Tomas Scheckter -- 1st
2004 -- Dario Franchitti -- 2nd
2003 -- Tomas Scheckter -- 18th
2002 -- Tomas Scheckter -- 17th
2001 -- Mark Dismore -- 20th
2000 -- Buddy Lazier -- 7th
1999 -- Mark Dismore -- 8th
1998 -- Tony Stewart -- 14th
1997 -- Tony Stewart -- 5th
Last Race Results
RACE: Chevrolet Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix (June 3rd)
SITE: The Raceway at Belle Isle -- Detroit, Michigan
MILES: 124.2
LAPS: 60
WINNER: Scott Dixon
RUNNER-UP: Dario Franchitti
THIRD: Simon Pagenaud
FOURTH: Will Power
FIFTH: Oriol Servia
POLE WINNER: Scott Dixon (Finished 1st)
TIME OF RACE: 1 hour, 27 minutes, 39.5053 seconds
MARGIN OF VICTORY: 1.9628 seconds
AVERAGE SPEED: 85.012 m.p.h.
CAUTION FLAGS: 3 for 12 laps
LAP LEADERS: Scott Dixon 1-60.
Led from start to finish.
Firestone 550k Entry List
CarDriver, HometownCar/Name
2Ryan Briscoe (Sydney, Australia)Hitachi/Team Penske
3Helio Castroneves (Sao Paulo, Brz)AAA Insurance/Team Penske
4J.R. Hildebrand (Sausalito, CA)U.S. National Guard/Panther Racing
5E.J. Viso (Caracas, Venezuela)Citgo/PDVSA/KV Racing Technology
6Katherine Legge (Guildford, England)TrueCar/Dragon Racing
8Rubens Barrichello (Sao Paulo, Brz)BMC/Embrase/KV Racing Technology
9Scott Dixon (Auckland, New Zealand)Target/Chip Ganassi Racing
10 *Dario Franchitti (Scotland)Energizer/Chip Ganassi Racing
11Tony Kanaan (Salvador, Brazil)GEICO/KV Racing Technology
12 *Will Power (Toowoomba, Australia)Verizon/Team Penske
14Mike Conway (Bromley, England)ABC Supply Co./AJ Foyt Enterprises
15Takuma Sato (Tokyo, Japan)Rahal-Letterman-Lanigan Racing
18Justin Wilson (Sheffield, England)Sonny's Bar B-Q/Dale Coyne Racing
19Jamie Jakes (Leeds, England)Boy Scouts America/Dale Coyne Racing
20Ed Carpenter (Indianapolis, IN)Fuzzy's Vodka/Ed Carpenter Racing
22Oriol Servia (Pals, Spain)Panther/Dreyer & Reinbold Racing
26Marco Andretti (Nazareth, PA)RC Cola/Andretti Autosport
27James Hinchcliffe (Toronto, Canada)GoDaddy.com/Andretti Autosport
28Ryan Hunter-Reay (Boca Raton, FL)DHL/Sun Drop/Andretti Autosport
38Graham Rahal (New Albany, OH)Service Central/Chip Ganassi Racing
67Josef Newgarden (Nashville, TN)Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing
77Simon Pagenaud (Poitiers, France)Schmidt Hamilton HP Motorsports
78Simona de Silvestro (Switzerland)Nuclear Energy/Lotus-HVM Racing
83Charlie Kimball (Camarillo, CA)NovoLog FlexPen/Chip Ganassi Racing
98Alex Tagliani (Lachenaie, Canada)Team Barracuda/Bryan Herta Autosport
* - Defending champion
Leading Contenders (Finish the last eight years)
Will Power------------13th---14th3rdWon
Scott Dixon14th11th2nd12thWon3rd4th2nd2nd
Ryan Briscoe---12th------3rd2ndWon6th3rd
Helio Castroneves12th5thWon16th2ndWon20th10th4th
Tony KanaanWon3rd7th2nd5th8th6th11th5th
Marco Andretti------14th19th19th4th3rd13th6th
Dario Franchitti2nd8th14th4th---5th5thWon7th
Ryan Hunter-Reay---------20th---16th7th19th9th
Takuma Sato------------------25th5th12th
Alex Tagliani---------------14th18th4th14th
Oriol Servia------------26th------21st15th
Ed Carpenter21st20th9th18th9th9th---18th16th
J.R. Hildebrand---------------------23rd18th
James Hinchcliffe---------------------20th19th
Graham Rahal------------11th22nd---9th30th
Mover of the Week
Tony Kanaan - Started 18th on the grid and finished 6th
Sports Network Selections
Pick to Win - Dario Franchitti
Darkhorse - Marco Andretti
Last Week's Pick to Win (Will Power) - Finished 4th
Last Week's Darkhorse (Sebastien Bourdais) - Finished 24th
Back to basics for 2012. That's what's in store for this year's running of the Firestone 550, as this season there will be just one race.

This race had changed format for 2011. The configuration of the race last season, consisted of two full-field 275-kilometer races (171 miles/114 laps each) with two race winners being recognized by the sanctioning body. Half points were awarded in both races.

Last year, Dario Franchitti started second on the grid in the first race, and defeated Scott Dixon by .0527 of a second, as he dominated, leading 110 of the 114 laps, including the final 61.

In race two, Will Power was the dominant driver, leading 68 laps to outduel Scott Dixon by .9466 of a second. Tony Kanaan, who started on the pole, led for 39 laps, but finished fifth. The starting grid for the second race was made by a random draw and Power was lucky enough to gain the third spot, while race one winner, Dario Franchitti, drew the 28th position leading to a seventh place result.

After finishing third and second in 2008 and '09, Ryan Briscoe completed the climb to the top, as he raced to victory for his only win of 2010. It certainly wasn't an easy journey for Briscoe.

Six days after crashing in the 2010 Indianapolis 500, Briscoe bounced back in the IZOD IndyCar Series with an impressive win, as he held off Danica Patrick for his sixth career title.

Briscoe made a late-race pass on Patrick for the lead, and then held her off by 1.46 seconds for the win. During the final round of pit stops under green, Patrick pitted one lap before Briscoe and then later inherited the lead on lap 192. But Patrick only led that lap, as Briscoe passed her on the outside and then grabbed the top position for good. Briscoe led four times for 102 laps, while Dario Franchitti, who placed fifth, finished with 86 laps led.

In 2009, Helio Castroneves edged teammate Ryan Briscoe by less than a second for his 16th career IndyCar title. The win gave Castroneves his third career triumph at Texas Motor Speedway and Team Penske its fifth victory in the last eight races at Texas.

Only three drivers, Arie Luyendyk (1997), Scott Dixon (2008) and Helio Castroneves ('09), have won the Indianapolis 500 and Texas 550k in the same season.

Scott Dixon defeated 2008 Indy 500 winner Helio Castroneves under caution to win this race that year. In doing so, Dixon became the second pole sitter to capture this race. Dixon led seven times for 58 laps, while Castroneves led seven times for 85 laps. Marco Andretti held the lead with just seven laps remaining, but Dixon passed as Andretti and Ryan Hunter-Reay made contact.

In 2007, Sam Hornish Jr raced to victory, as he edged Tony Kanaan by less than a second. Starting second on the grid, Hornish Jr took the lead on lap one and dominated the race, leading 159 of the 228 laps. Pole sitter Scott Sharp failed to lead any laps and finished seventh. Hornish Jr, who reclaimed the lead for the final time on lap 197, won by 0.0786 of a second for his 19th and last career IndyCar title.

Castroneves posted his 10th career IndyCar victory in 2006, as he clipped Scott Dixon at the finish line. Castroneves, who now owns 20 career titles, won by 0.2402 of a second after starting from the third position. Pole sitter Sam Hornish Jr finished fourth.

Panther Racing has won five races at Texas Motor Speedway second only to Team Penske (six) for most IZOD IndyCar Series wins at Texas. Tomas Scheckter (2005), Sam Hornish Jr. (2001-02) and Scott Goodyear (1999-2000) all drove a Panther car to Victory Lane at Texas.

Back in 2005, Tomas Scheckter posted his first victory since July of 2002, when edged Hornish Jr by less than a second. After failing to finish four of the first five events of 2005, Scheckter, who started on the pole, led five times for 119 of the 200 laps for his second career IndyCar title. Battling with Tony Kanaan for most of the day, Scheckter reclaimed the lead on lap 191 and held on for the win. Kanaan, who led seven times for 62 laps, finished third.

THIS AND THAT FROM TEXAS MOTOR SPEEDWAY: In the 23 previous races at Texas, 16 have finished with a margin of victory of less than one second, and eight races have been decided by less than one-tenth of a second...Previous Texas winners entered include Dario Franchitti (2011 - Race 1), Will Power (2011 - Race 2), Ryan Briscoe (2010), Helio Castroneves (2009, 2006 and 2004), Scott Dixon (2008), Tony Kanaan (2004)...The Firestone 550 will be the second race in the A.J. Foyt Trophy, given to the 2012 Oval Champion. Dario Franchitti won the Indianapolis 500 to take the early lead in the championship within the IZOD IndyCar Series championship.

The next IZOD IndyCar Series race is the June 16 Milwaukee IndyFest 225 at The Milwaukee Mile. Dario Franchitti won last year's race there.

06/06 11:37:34 ET

As of June 6, 2012, at 11:37 AM ET
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