Milwaukee IndyFest Live Thread

IndyCar Returns to the Milwaukee Mile, Will the Fans Return Too? [Milwaukee IndyFest Live Thread]

6/16/12 in IndyCar   |   Eric_   |   7716 respect

Blog Photo - Milwaukee IndyFest Live ThreadToday's Milwaukee IndyFest is different in that what happens off the track matters more than what happens on it. After last year's disappointing attendance, it looked like IndyCar's long history at the Milwaukee Mile was about to come to an end. However, Michael Andretti stepped up to promote this year's race. Andretti and his group have done a great job making this is a worthwhile event, from lower ticket prices to a concert after the race (Smash Mouth) and other things to make this look more than a street circuit event (emphasis on event) than a usual oval track race. That said, this is being treated (understandably) as a last chance for Milwaukee. If attendance disappoints, this will likely be it for the one track in the country older than Indianapolis Motor Speedway. IndyCar and its fans will be looking at the crowd with great interest. If it weren't for my CPA Exam obligations and studying, I would've flown to Milwaukee myself and gone.

If Indianapolis and Texas are any indication, this will be another fantastic race. Last week at Texas, IndyCar finally figured out racing on 1.5 mile tracks. By taking away downforce, the cars have become harder to drive, ending the pack racing while still allowing passing. In the end, Justin Wilson won in a shocker for Dale Coyne Racing, taking advantage of Graham Rahal hitting the wall while leading with 2 laps to go (Rahal continued to take 2nd). Wilson's new found oval strength has continued here, as he qualified 2nd. However, he's serving an engine change penalty this week, so he's back in 12th.Wilson is one of seven serving grid penalties for engine changes, including the top two in the points: Will Power and Scott Dixon, as well as rookie Josef Newgarden, who has again been fast. Can he finally put it all together this week? The result of the penalties are fast cars starting mid-pack, which adds another layer of intrigue.

On the pole though is Dario Franchitti. Dario had a horrible race at Texas, missing the set-up completely, having multiple squirrely moments, and finishing 3 laps down. Attrition helped him finish 14th, but he now sits 64 points back of Power. Starting 2nd, thanks to the penalties, is Ryan Hunter-Reay, who is trying to rebound from three straight DNF's. Power will start 14th, with Dixon 21st, and the other not out of it title contenders Helio Castroneves, Simon Pagenaud, and James Hinchcliffe starting 4th, 7th, and 8th respectively.

While Dario on pole is always dangerous, and a potential threat to dominate, my pick for this race is Ryan Hunter-Reay. He's due for some good luck, and he's the top guy this race for Michael Andretti, who has earned good karma for trying to save this race. My darkhorse is Rubens Barrichello. After the engine wouldn't fire at Texas, Rubens has been near the top of the charts all weekend so far, and will start 3rd this afternoon. This looks like an oval track that Barrichello likes, and with his talent and experience, that makes him a threat to win.Coverage starts at 1:00 on ABC, with green flag at 1:30. Timing and scoring can be found here, and More Front Wing's indispensable Event Summary can be found here. Q it up here throughout the race.

Also use this thread to comment and for updates on the 24 Hours of Le Mans, which also runs this weekend. The race started at 9 AM this morning, and will obviously conclude 24 hours later. There is no more prestigious sports car endurance race out there.
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6/16/12   |   Eric_   |   7716 respect

For various reasons, I haven't been able to pay much attention to Le Mans the last few hours, but Audi is dominating, holding the top three spots. A Toyota currently being driven by ex-Champ Car driver Neel Jani is in 4th, 6 laps down.

6/16/12   |   Eric_   |   7716 respect

Audi is currently holding the entire top 3 at Le Mans. Another car took out the Delta Wing, and it has since retired.

6/16/12   |   Eric_   |   7716 respect

Unofficial Results:

1. Ryan Hunter-Reay (after all Andretti has done to save this race, I'm glad to see karma pay off and give his team a win)
2. Tony Kanaan
3. James Hinchcliffe (he's now 2nd in points, he's not out of it)
4. Oriol Servia
5. EJ Viso
6. Helio Castroneves (that's right, no Penskes or Ganassis in the top 5, when was the last time that's happened?)
7. Alex Tagiliani
8. Ed Carpenter
9. Graham Rahal
10. Rubens Barrichello
11. Scott Dixon (still a lot of debate about that penalty,  although ABC's incompetence is part of that, but we've yet to hear from Beaux Barfield about it)
12. Will Power (given what happened to Dario and Dixon, this result can't be what he wanted, never a factor)
13. Simon Pagenaud -1 lap
14. Ryan Briscoe -1 lap
15. Marco Andretti -1 lap
16. Mike Conway -1 lap
17. Charlie Kimball -1 lap
18. Katherine Legge -5 laps
19. Dario Franchitti DNF (Contact) (his title aspirations are in trouble)
20. Takuma Sato DNF (Contact)
21. James Jakes DNF (Contact)
22. JR Hildebrand DNF (Mechanical)
23. Justin Wilson DNF (Mechanical) (understatement of the day)
24. Simona de Silvestro DNF (Contact) (*sigh*)
25. Josef Newgarden DNF (Mechanical)

Power has a 31 point lead over Hinchcliffe, a 35 point lead over Dixon, and a 41 point lead over Hunter-Reay. Franchitti has dropped to 7th in points.

6/16/12   |   Eric_   |   7716 respect

Ryan Hunter-Reay wins! Hey, I actually picked the winner! TK and Hinchcliffe round out the podium. Chevy takes the entire top six. With Hinch taking 3rd, and Dixon and Power farther back, the points race continues to get interesting. Full results to follow shortly.

6/16/12   |   Eric_   |   7716 respect

Make that a battle for 3rd. Hinch goes by Servia for the last podium spot.

6/16/12   |   Eric_   |   7716 respect

RHR has a big lead. Best battle is for 4th between Hinchcliffe and Viso.

6/16/12   |   Eric_   |   7716 respect

Green with 24 to go.

6/16/12   |   Eric_   |   7716 respect

Went back to green, but yellow as Dario wrecks. A few laps before he was forced into the grass by a lap down Briscoe.

6/16/12   |   Eric_   |   7716 respect

Yellow for moisture.

6/16/12   |   Eric_   |   7716 respect

TK gets by Helio for 2nd. RHR though is up over 7 seconds.

6/16/12   |   Eric_   |   7716 respect

It was determined Dixon jumped a start when it was waved off. The debate is whether you can penalize a guy for a restart that didn't count, but at the same time, it makes sense if his jumping cause the restart to get waved off.

6/16/12   |   Eric_   |   7716 respect

Last pit stops going on right now. Everyone should make it to the end with the possible exception of Helio (although I think he's good).

6/16/12   |   Eric_   |   7716 respect

New speculation on Twitter is ABC might have screwed up and showed the wrong replay. Beaux Barfield is getting some benefit of the doubt right now, primarily because he hasn't had a blatantly bad call yet in his tenure.

6/16/12   |   Eric_   |   7716 respect

Dixon gets lapped by RHR. He has to be pissed and I don't blame him.

6/16/12   |   Eric_   |   7716 respect

Helio pits. Now a lap down and will need it to stay green.

6/16/12   |   Eric_   |   7716 respect

Helio hasn't pitted yet, and he's starting to drop by. RHR by him for the lead, and Viso by him for 2nd.

6/16/12   |   Eric_   |   7716 respect

Dixon black flagged for jumping a restart. That call looked very questionable.

6/16/12   |   Eric_   |   7716 respect

Sato got loose and ran into Jakes. JR happened to blow at the same time.

6/16/12   |   Eric_   |   7716 respect

Yellow as Sato crashes again. Jakes and Hildebrand also involved somehow. Time to switch to ESPN News (grumble, grumble..)

6/16/12   |   Eric_   |   7716 respect

Bunch of cars pitted. Helio didn't and thus now leads. Rest of the top 10: Viso, Tags, RHR, Dixon, Rubens, Hinch, TK, Dario, Servia. Also watch for Sato in 12th and Power in 13th.

6/16/12   |   Eric_   |   7716 respect

Wilson with a huge engine blow. I'm talking massive smoke and fire and everything. Exactly what you think when you think of an engine blowing.

6/16/12   |   Eric_   |   7716 respect

Dixon up to 5th. He is motoring. Dario drops to 6th. He's not looking as invincible in traffic.

6/16/12   |   Eric_   |   7716 respect

Yellow came out during pit stops, so things are a little jumbled. Current top 10: Viso (!), Rubens, RHR, Dario, Helio, Hinch, Dixon, Power, TK, Tags.

6/16/12   |   Eric_   |   7716 respect

Never mind. Only Nationwide pre-race got moved. *Bleeping* ABC

6/16/12   |   Eric_   |   7716 respect

Caution out. Simona got ass around.

6/16/12   |   Eric_   |   7716 respect

Justin Wilson has become a beast on ovals. Great pass on the outside of Pagenaud a bit ago. Green flag pit stops beginning now.

6/16/12   |   Eric_   |   7716 respect

Wow. The Nationwide race has been moved to ESPN News. The IndyCar race will stay on ABC throughout. I'm shocked.

6/16/12   |   Eric_   |   7716 respect

Newgarden can't catch a break on race day. He's back in the pits with the engine cover off.

6/16/12   |   Eric_   |   7716 respect

Le Mans meanwhile is finally back to green after that big accident. Audi is in places 1, 3, and 4, with the top Toyota in 2nd.

6/16/12   |   Eric_   |   7716 respect

RHR goes for the lead, but Dario shuts the door. Good racing so far. Unfortunately, Newgarden in the pits early with issues, then a penalty for running over the hose.

6/16/12   |   Eric_   |   7716 respect

Dixon's moving up quickly, and has passed Power on the outside.

6/16/12   |   Eric_   |   7716 respect

As the engines fire, the news was announced: Milwaukee will be back next year! Congrats IndyCar and fans, we did it!

6/16/12   |   Eric_   |   7716 respect

It looks engines will fire in about 20 minutes. The question is how long will the race stay on ABC.

Meanwhile at Le Mans, a scary looking crash involving the Toyota driven by Anthony Davidson (3rd overall at the time) and a Ferrari in the GT Am class that, well, I'm not really sure what he was going. Davidson is at the medical center, but apparently everyone is OK. Safety car has been out for quite a while.

6/16/12   |   Eric_   |   7716 respect

We'll get the race in, but it's still raining, so we're going to be here a while. Catch you here when it's time to race.

6/16/12   |   Eric_   |   7716 respect

The full list of engine penalties: Wilson, Power, Dixon, Newgarden, Briscoe, Sato, Conway.

6/16/12   |   Eric_   |   7716 respect

As the broadcast starts, it's unfortunately raining at the track. It'll pass soon, but this will delay the start a bit. With Nationwide scheduled for 3:30 on ABC, expect the race to get moved to ESPN News.

Meanwhile at Le Mans, the defending champion Audi Quattro is leading, followed by two Toyota hybrids, and then three more Audis (an Ultra, a Quattro, and another Ultra). The Delta Wing is 16 laps down after having a long stop to repair the gear box. It's not officially part of a class, but the ACO mandated that it go LMP2 speeds.