Estimated read time: 4-5 minutes
This archived news story is available only for your personal, non-commercial use. Information in the story may be outdated or superseded by additional information. Reading or replaying the story in its archived form does not constitute a republication of the story.
TOOELE VALLEY, UTAH (September 12, 2007) - The entry lists for the various series racing this weekend, September 13-15, at Miller Motorsports Park read like a "Who's Who" of road racers.
The track's final big event of the season, the Sunchaser 1000, features the Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series presented by Crown Royal Special Reserve, plus the KONI Challenge Series, the SIRIUS Satellite Radio Mazda MX-5 Cup Series, the BFGoodrich/Skip Barber National Presented by Mazda, the Formula TR Pro Series, SCCA Spec Miatas and the season's final "Magic of Miller" Celebrity Race.
The Rolex Series normally features its regular stars like ex-champions Scott Pruett, Max Angelelli, Max Papis, Shane Lewis, Bill Auberlen, Jan Magnussen, Patrick Long, Jorg Bergmeister, Christian Fittipaldi, David Donohue, Darren Law, Hurley Haywood, defending race winners Oswaldo Negri Jr. and Mark Patterson and championship leaders Alex Gurney and Jon Fogarty, most of whom have Formula 1 or IndyCar experience or are household names in worldwide professional sports car racing. But in a 1000-kilometer, 7.5-hour race like the Sunchaser 1000, most of the teams bring in third drivers, and those include former CART champ Jimmy Vasser, former Indy 500 winner Buddy Rice, ex-F1 driver Tomas Enge, NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series regular Bill Lester, Champ Car stars Justin Wilson and Ryan Dalziel, plus IRL phenom Ryan Hunter-Reay, among many others.
In the KONI Challenge Series, world-champion skiers Phil and Steve Mahre will be part of a massive field of 68 cars that will race for 2.5 hours starting at 3:00 pm on Friday. Also in the lineup will be the Japanese drifting and Time Attack legend, Tarzan Yamada, who thrilled the crowds at Miller Motorsports Park in April during the GT LIVE event.
The SIRIUS Satellite Radio Mazda MX-5 Cup Series features television stars Frankie Muniz ("Malcolm in the Middle"), Ian Ziering ("Beverly Hills 90201" and "Dancing With the Stars") plus the weekend's Ironman candidate, Patrick Dempsey ("Grey's Anatomy"). Dempsey will be driving in the KONI Challenge Series and the Rolex Sports Car Series in addition to his 45-minute Mazda MX-5 Cup Series, the most ambitious schedule of any driver at the track this weekend.
The final "Magic of Miller" Celebrity Race of the Year will highlight many of the action sports stars who are in town for next week's AST Dew Tour at the EnergySolutions Arena. Heading the list is freestyle motocross legend-turned-rally car star Travis Pastrana, one of the world's most popular athletes. Joining Pastrana will be 2004 AMA Supercross champ Chad Reed and X-Games and Dew Tour stars Ryan Nyquist, Ronnie Renner, Adam Jones, Fuzzy Hall, Mike Mason and Chris Burandt.
Perhaps the biggest name of all is the event's grand marshal, Mario Andretti. Mario Andretti is the only man ever to win the Formula One World Championship, the Champ Car National Championship (four times), the Indianapolis 500, the Daytona 500, the 24 Hours of Daytona, the 12 Hours of Sebring (three times) and the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb. Although he hasn't driven competitively for several years, Mario maintains constant contact with the sport through the careers of his son (Michael) and his grandson (Marco) and in his role as corporate spokesman for a number of companies, including Bridgestone Firestone, Magnaflow Exhaust and Chevron Corporation (including Texaco and Havoline). It is Texaco who will sponsor Mario's visit to Utah; Texaco is an associate sponsor of the Sunchaser 1000. Mario will give the command to start engines prior to the Sunchaser 1000 on Saturday morning.
The action gets underway Thursday morning with practice and qualifying for the various racing series, and admission is FREE for everyone all day. On Friday there will be more practice and qualifying plus the first of two races each for the Formula TR Pro Series (11:30 am) and the BFGoodrich/Skip Barber National Presented by Mazda (1:00 pm) plus the KONI Challenge Series race (3:00 pm), the SCCA Spec Miata race (5:45 pm) and the "Magic of Miller" Celebrity Race (6:30 pm). Saturday starts off with the second races for the Formula TR Pro Series (8:15 am) and the BFGoodrich/Skip Barber National Presented by Mazda (9:00 am), followed by the SIRIUS Satellite Radio Mazda MX-5 Cup Series race (9:45 am) and the Sunchaser 1000 (11:00).
There will a variety of fun off-track activities for fans to enjoy in addition to the racing. These include exhibitions by the Dew Mongoose Freestyle Team and the Cyco Ward Stunt Bikes, plus kart rentals at the Miller Kart Track, and Kid Cross, which provides mini-motocross bike rides for kids in a safe environment. The Colonial Flag Car Show will take place on Friday from noon to 7:00 pm, and fans can take helicopter rides over the facility. Rolex Sports Car Series drivers will have an autograph session in the paddock at 11:30 am on Friday, and event grand marshal Mario Andretti will be signing autographs at the Texaco tent in the paddock at 9:30 am on Saturday.
Tickets for Friday and Saturday at the Sunchaser 1000 are reasonably priced from $25 per day and up, and are available at the Miller Motorsports Park Welcome Center or online at www.ticketmaster.com. For more information, call the track at (435) 277-RACE or visit the website at www.millermotorsportspark.com.
For more information on Miller Motorsports Park, call the track at (435) 277-RACE or visit the website at www.millermotorsportspark.com.