Friday, June 17, 2011

Milwaukee 225 Preview

With the series returning to the Milwaukee Mile this weekend after a year off, here’s a quick look at some of the big storylines going into this race:

The Mazda Road To Indy Returns!: After missing out at Texas, we get a full slate of Mazda Road to Indy events. In Firestone Indy Lights, Joseph Newgarden will look to follow up on a great performance at Indy with another win, while USAC ace Bryan Clauson gets to give it another go. In Star Mazda, Connor De Phillipi attempts to keep the victories coming, while teammate Nick Andries looks to take a victory of his own, and France's Tristan Vautier looks to challenge as well. We also get to see some USF2000 action, so there’s definitely a full slate going on. If you aren’t following the INDYCAR ladder series this year, you’ve been missing out on some great talent and some great racing.

Kite Flying: In the USAC Silver Crown event this weekend, it's interesting to note that former IndyCar driver Jimmy Kite will be competing in Silver Crown for the first time in six years. He'll be driving a car driven by Eddie Sachs, Jr.

Oval Challengers: Seriously, can anyone top Ganassi or Penske on an oval? After Texas, you have to wonder. Tony Kanaan had a great race to do exactly that at Iowa last year, but Milwaukee’s an easy track to find yourself a lap down early. This might not be the week for a new winner, but you never know.

Livery Notes: Ryan Hunter-Reay is sporting Go Daddy colors this weekend, while Mike Conway has some DHL/Sundrop sponsorship on his ride. Ed Carpenter will be in the familiar black/yellow paint scheme, but with Direct Supply as a sponsor. Justin Wilson will have the always-popular Dad’s Root beer livery, while Dario will give up the Target red for a green-and-blue Downy scheme. Meanwhile, Ryan Briscoe will be in a sharp black-and-blue design for Transitions Adaptive Lenses. Basically, get used to some different schemes this week.

KV Momentum?: After a very good, clean weekend for KV Racing, they’ll look to build on those results from the Texas races. Can Takuma Sato and Tony Kanaan hang around at the front of the field? Can EJ Viso keep it clean and follow up on two Top 10 finishes? You hear it a lot: this is a fast team, but they need to stop with the carbon fiber destruction. Texas was a nice step forward; hopefully Milwaukee isn’t two steps back.

Eye On Rahal: If Graham Rahal’s going to excel on another oval this year, it just might be Texas. He started second here in 2008 and 2009, and had a nice P4 finish the last time the series visited the Mile. He’ll need it if he’s going to keep pace with that front pack in championship points.

Traffic, Traffic Everywhere: On a one-mile track, there's plenty of traffic no matter where you are. There are "only" 26 cars on track this week instead of Texas' 30, but the series will probably be hard-pressed to come away with one a single caution flag like last week.

Pole Run: Alex Tagliani’s won two poles in a row. Can he make it a third at Milwaukee, but as a bigger question, can he find the same speed in the race itself?

Pole Position: Scott Dixon (though I’m pulling for Tag to make it three in a row. How could you not, honestly?).

Race Winner: Scott Dixon.

Have a great weekend and a great Father’s Day!

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