Set-up is the Key to a Kentucky Speedway IndyCar Series Victory
When two-time Kentucky Speedway IndyCar Series winner Sam Hornish, Jr., speaks about what it takes to win the "Meijer Indy 300 Presented by Coca-Cola and Edy's," those listening to the conversation, including his fellow competitors, lend an interested ear.
Such was the case today in the speedway Media Center where the defending series champion joined Andretti Green driver and former Kentucky Speedway IndyCar Series pole award winner Danica Patrick to discuss Race 14 of 17 on the 2007 series schedule.
"This track surface is different than a lot of the mile-and-halves that we run on where you're flat out the whole race and working your way through traffic," Hornish, Jr., said. "Here, you really have to have a car that works well on different lines.
"The big thing here is to keep the car with enough downforce to be able to work in and out of traffic and handle well on the surface. You have to have to find the happy medium where you also have a lot of speed. You can pile a lot of downforce on the car and make it handle real well, but then you're not fast enough.
"A big thing mentally for this race, usually, is just the patience, because so much can happen. We've been here on days where we were totally out to lunch at the beginning of the race and just worked on the car a little bit, waited for other people to make mistakes and worked our way back into it."
The three-time series champion will enter the race fifth in the series standings and 127 points behind leader Dario Franchitti after taking a Texas Motor speedway win along with six top-five and 10 top-10 finishes through 13 starts this season.
Patrick sits two spots behind Hornish, Jr., in the standings and is 171 points off her teammate's championship pace after scoring three top-five and nine top-10 finishes this season.
She is encouraged about the prospect of becoming the first female to win a Kentucky Speedway and IndyCar Series race after closing out her last three series events third, fifth and seventh.
"I'm encouraged for sure. I've always said running up front consistently is the most important thing to getting the first win. This (past) weekend (at Michigan) was an example of being up there for the (third) week in a row and something went wrong. "
She earned her track-best eighth-place finish on the Kentucky Speedway tri-oval last season.
Kentucky Speedway's fifth 2007 event weekend starts tomorrow with "Radio Disney Fanfest" when gates open at 3:00 p.m. Fans will see IndyCar Series practice and qualifying along with Indy Pro Series qualifying before enjoying Radio Disney activities and games on the speedway infield, live music from "The Summers" and a garage-area autograph session featuring all series competitors.
The family fun continues Saturday when gates open at 2:00 p.m., and the first 3,000 children age 12 and younger that enter the gates receive a free collectible Horsepower mascot bobblehead doll. Radio Disney family activities resume at 3:00 p.m., Radio Disney favorites The Jonas Brothers take the Turn 1 Concourse Stage at 4:30 p.m., and the IndyCar Series "Meijer Indy 300 Presented by Coca-Cola and Edy's" takes the green flag at 6:30 p.m. The Indy Pro Series "Kentucky 100" will finish up the night with a 9:00 p.m., start.
Tickets are available in advance online through the tickets pages of this site, by phone at 888-652-RACE and through Tickets.com and its outlets including Meijer stores. Tickets also will be on sale at the track main entrance on event day.
Story by Mike Schmaltz
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