Saturday, August 4, 2007

Franchitti Takes Michigan IRL Pole - Hornish 2nd

Well it looks like Dario may be in the catbird seat to extend his points lead over Scott Dixon tomorrow at Michigan International. But anything can happen at MIS - and often does.

Take last year for instance, when this picture was taken from high up in the main grandstands. My son and I went up with my brother and his son as spectators and after walking through the souvenir areas and killing time race morning, as we got to the stands a huge storm blew in so the race was delayed and they ran incident free until almost dark, with Helio taking the win. My first visit to Michigan was in 1981 and they never did get the race run that weekend due to rain. In 83, we got chased out of the stands by a tornado warning and then John Paul Jr. won on the last lap after Rick Mears had a rare crash. In 85, the tires were suspect and the race got postponed a week and then Danny Ongais barrel rolled down the backstretch. In 89, Scott Pruett and Al Unser Jr. dueled wheel to wheel in a fantastic finish for one of Pruett's few Indycar wins. I've camped at the track, taken a motor home, stayed in motels, done banzai one-day runs up and back (like I will this year), and gone as a spectator and as a photographer with credentials. All of this is from memory so the details might be a tad fuzzy, but the point is I have great memories of this awesome track where you get to see the Indycars run flat out, three and four wide, with pack racing and usually high drama at the end. It was even more incredible when the large fields were there before the split and they ran 500 miles instead of 400 like they will tomorrow.

So of course I'm saddened that MIS and the IRL could not agree on a date for next season, and I hope that is only temporary. I'm looking forward to adding to the memory banks this year and hope to bring back more great pix from one of open wheel's most storied race tracks.

More soon, hopefully from the media center at the track after the race.

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