IndyCar: Milwaukee race preview

The loss of the Milwaukee Mile as Indycar’s traditional post-Indy 500 race has always rankled with me. Another bit of US open-wheel heritage lost in the divorce. Yet it’s position as the penultimate oval of the season could start to give it back some significance this weekend. 

Aside from the potential for a record breaking eleventh winner of the season, this unique oval is going to be a stern test for the championship contenders. With no other oval like it on the calendar and banking that makes it more akin to a four turn road course, it is a potential banana skin. Which is exactly the opposite of what those chasing Will Power and Helio Castroneves need.

Even with the double points finale at Fontana, the likes of Hunter-Reay and Pagenaud are out of time to ‘chip away’ at the Penske points lead. Both need to win and hope Penske get the late season ‘yips’ that have affected them in recent years. History favours RHR over Pagenaud with the last two wins at the mile. A glance over results in general suggest drivers from road racing backgrounds tend to excel. So expect Kannan and Dixon  – fresh from braking his losing steak – plus all 3 Penske cars, Sebastien Bourdais and Justin Wilson to figure for the win.
 
At the other end of the spectrum there are many drivers who need some big performances, starting this weekend, to secure their IndyCar futures. Rumours persist that James Hinchcliffe’s place at Andretti Autosport is shaky at best. Charlie Kimball has not taken the next step in his development after his breakout win last season (and Chip Ganassi doesn’t run race cars just for the fun of it). Equally the likes of Andretti, Rahal and Sato need to finish strong to make up for relatively disappointing seasons. 

An exciting weekend at the Milwaukee Mile is definitely in prospect.

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3 Comments Add yours

  1. The problem with Milwaukee is the cars. They are so under-powered and over-aero’d that there is no braking so the racing comes down, once again, to pit strategy. In the mid 60s (64 or 65?) AJ wrecked his rear engine car (Lotus if I remember correctly) and rolled his Champ dirt car off a trailer, put on slicks, and kicked everybody’s ass. Now everybody runs the same thing and it’s boring as whale crap.

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  2. Correction to my prior comment. I have been reminded by the good folks at “Oilpressure” that the Foyt incident that I referenced occurred in 1965 and that it was not a result of a Foyt crash but the result of Foyt’s rear engine car no showing up at the track.

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  3. WingSideUp says:

    I think the points guys are going to play conservative for a while in this race. There’s always been a bit of carnage here so I think they’ll try to get to the finish. Pag and RHR got a long road to hoe today! Wilson has a pretty good record here as does Hinch and while I hate to admit it, Sato and GR have a few top 10s. I took TK, Dixie, and HEL for the win in my VirtualThunder.com picks.

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