Kentucky Speedway will be the site of the "Prelude to the IZOD IndyCar Series Championship" when the facility stages Race No. 16 of 17 of the 2011 series season on Sunday, Oct. 2.

The outcome of the 12th series race in track history is expected to carry heavy championship implications when it falls one event prior to the season finale to be held at a location that will be announced at future date. The 300-mile Kentucky event will culminate a doubleheader weekend that will open with a NASCAR Camping World Truck Series battle Oct. 1.

Penske Racing driver Helio Castroneves earned his only Kentucky Speedway IICS title in his ninth start on the 1.5-mile tri-oval by making superior fuel mileage through the closing 53 of 200 race laps on Sept. 4, 2010.

The three-time Indianapolis 500 champion set the new series track record for widest margin of victory by crossing the finish line 13.1597 seconds ahead of the second-place Ed Carpenter. Dan Wheldon followed Carpenter in third place. Castroneves became the eighth different IICS victor in track history and owns the series track records for top-five finishes with seven and top-10 finishes with eight.

Kentucky Speedway is one of three 1.5-mile tri-oval racetracks and one of four announced Speedway Motorsports, Inc., facilities on the 2011 IICS docket. The series will visit Texas Motor Speedway June 11, New Hampshire Motor Speedway Aug. 14 and Infineon Raceway Aug. 28.

Overall the 2011 IICS schedule will feature the 100th running of the Indianapolis 500 on May 29, nine road and street courses including a new Maryland race on the Streets of Baltimore Sept. 4, and a total of seven oval tracks ranging in length from 0.875 miles to 2.5 miles, including the return of The Milwaukee Mile to the schedule on June 19.

"It's important our series continue to strike a balance between ovals and non-ovals to maintain our claim to the most diverse racing schedule in the world. We want to have the best drivers in the world, and it's important our schedule truly challenges the best through short ovals, speedways, temporary circuits and road courses.

"IndyCar is entering a new and exciting era. Fortunately, this brings opportunities with new venues and promoters that are fully aligned with our strategy moving forward. We are committed to working with our partners and listening to our fans about what they want as we do what is in the best interest of the sport," IICS Chief Executive Officer Randy Bernard said.

Kentucky Speedway will begin offering season ticket plan renewals in the coming weeks. The 2011 track season will open with a July 7-9 NASCAR tripleheader beginning with a NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race, followed by a NASCAR Nationwide Series tilt and the speedway's inaugural 400-mile NASCAR Sprint Cup Series extravaganza.

Visit www.indycar.com for the full series schedule.

Story by Mike Schmaltz



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