MIS Top 10 moments of 2006

Published 4:49 am Saturday, December 30, 2006

By Staff
BROOKLYN – As 2006 comes to a close, Michigan International Speedway has compiled a "Top 10 Moments of 2006" list. Many race moments and community achievements are listed in what was truly an exciting year of racing for the 2-mile oval.
1. Dale Earnhardt Jr. bumped Carl Edwards out of the way during the final laps of the NASCAR Busch Series Carfax 250 on August 19. Earnhardt went on to win the race, causing Edwards to later purposely run into Jr's car and confronting the popular driver in Gatorade Victory Lane.
2. Matt Kenseth held off a hard-charging Jeff Gordon on the final lap to win the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series GFS Marketplace 400 on August 20. Kenseth became the 16th different driver to win multiple Cup races at MIS. He also won a Cup race at MIS in June of 2002.
3. Local Michigan native Johnny Benson won his first career NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race in 60 starts by taking the checkered flag for the Con-way Freight 200 on June 17. Benson, from Grand Rapids, held off Mark Martin on the final green-white checkered restart giving MIS its sixth different winner in seven career truck events since 1999.
4. Polesitter Helio Castroneves climbed his first MIS fence after recording his first career victory at the 2-mile oval in the Firestone Indy 400 on July 30. Castroneves passed the dominate Vitor Meira late in the race and held on, making him the speedway's 13th different race winner in as many events.
5. Kasey Kahne won his first career race at MIS in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series 3M Performance 400 presented by Post-it Picture Paper on June 18. Kahne won the race off of pit road against Carl Edwards and was awarded the victory after the red-flag came out on lap 129 for rain. Kahne's car was being cheered on by Adam Sandler, the race's grand marshal, whose movie "Click" was sponsoring Kahne's car in the race.
6. Danica Patrick can't seem to get a break at MIS. The rising star of the IRL IndyCar Series has had two of the worst finishes of her career at the 2-mile oval, including a 17th place finish in the 2006 event. Last July, she suffered a mechanical failure with two laps remaining, which caused a foot-stomping tirade down pit road.
7. MIS is known for its competitive races, however, in last June's ARCA RE/MAX Series Hantz Group 200, NEXTEL Cup regular David Stremme had other ideas. Stremme, piloting the #61 Hantz Group Dodge managed to lap the entire field and led a race-record 99 of 100 laps en route to his first career victory at MIS. Billy Wease, who finished second, was the only other driver to lead a lap in the race.
8. After going a lap down midway through the race, Brent Sherman managed to pull off a victory in the August ARCA RE/MAX Series Hantz Group 200 at MIS. After race-leader Burney Lamar suffered a mechanical problem with two laps remaining, new race leader T.J. Bell suffered an accident with Frank Kimmel, thus handing the lead over to Sherman, who got back on the lead lap 20 laps before.
9. Reed Sorenson became just the second NEXTEL Cup rookie in the past 10 years to record top-10 finishes in both Cup races at MIS in the same season. He finished fifth in June and eighth in August. Kasey Kahne also accomplished the feat in 2004 (2nd in June, 5th in August).
10. MIS hosted it Spirit of America 500 blood drive on September 11, collecting a record 789 units of blood in one 12-hour period for the Great Lakes Region of the American Red Cross. The blood drive has grown every year since 2002 making it one of the nation's largest single-day blood drives on 9/11.
Tickets will go on sale to the general public beginning on Saturday, January 13, 2007. For additional information, call the MIS Ticket Hotline at 1-800-354-1010 or visit www.MISpeedway.com