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