Monday, June 20, 2011

Milwaukee Mile Recap

Well, the weekend at the Milwaukee Mile had both the expected and unexpected. Dario Franchitti grabbed the pole, but Simona de Silvestro had a scary qualifying accident. The Mile's not a forgiving track, as Ryan Hunter-Reay found out on Lap 1. Dario led until the halfway point, but Tony Kanaan tore past him. Back and forth they went, with Dario's car awesome on the restarts, but falling off a bit after that. Helio jumped out after the last pit stop and fifth caution, but after he had a cut tire and TK's crash, Dario led the rest of the way to win. It was a very good, competitive race, but it would have been nice to see what would have happened if TK didn't crash. In any case, Dario and Will Power are now tied in overall championship points. Here's some of the stories from the weekend:

Yellow Flag Report: Vitor Meira had to go to a backup car after crashing in practice. Simona de Silvestro crashed in qualifying, and parked it early in the race. Ryan Hunter-Reay said his end just got loose on the first lap. Bia rubbed the wall right before the first pit stop, but was able to come back out. Lloyd got loose, and collided with Saavedra on the day's second restart. JR Hildebrand hit the wall in the turn, with Scott Goodyear reacting like John Barnes was going to summarily execute him in the garage.Viso was having an amazing race, only to crash with just over 80 laps left. TK wiped out while in a position to win. The last was by far the most frustrating, as it seemed as if TK had the best car out there.

Newman/Haas Returns: After sort of a down couple of weeks, Newman Haas returned, with Oriol Servia taking a podium and Hinch moving all the way to 6th. Servia's back up to third in Championship points, no small feat when you look at the names surrounding him.

Ganassi Charm Offensive Continues: Dario complained this week in victory circle about Helio's blocking. Given his and Chip Ganassi's running complaint list the last two weeks, there might be about 15 Ganassi fans left by the time they win one of the championships (oval, road, overall) this year. There's something to be said for being a bit quiet and gracious in victory as well as defeat.

"Zack's right. We shouldn't gripe so much".
Courtesy IndyCar Media
KV's Weekend: Honestly, all 3 KV cars looked amazing early on. But that KV luck hit hard. Viso crashed while in the Top 5. TK crashed while pushing for the lead. Sato alone soldiered on to finish 8th. KV can win this year, but things need to swing their way.

Pit-Stop Hijinks: What was with that first pit stop? Sato's car goes into Briscoe's box, Dixon gets caught up in, and Taku's car boots a tire across pit road. It caused those driver to drop back to P13-P15, and Sato had to serve a drive-through penalty for hitting a crew member. Dario hit a tire as well, which resulted in a no-call that will probably get some internet grief this week. Personally, I think there needs to be quicker responses and clearer explanations on penalties from the series. Something to work on, in any case.

Love That Dad's!: Fitting for Father's Day, Justin Wilson was in the Dad's Root Beer livery for this race. He might want to think about employing it more often, as he was able to nab his first Top 10 since before Brazil. Plus, it's just an awesome-looking livery.

Rookie of the Year Update: JR Hildebrand crashed, finishing P21. James Hinchcliffe, on a track he'd never tested on, ran well to finish P6. Charlie Kimball finished P14, and Jakes had a decent result with P15. Bia had a couple of issues, and finished P17. Saavedra crashed out in P23. Right now, Hildebrand leads Hinch by 17 points, with Kimball in 3rd 15 points behind The Mayor. Saavedra's 21 points behind Charlie, and Bia and Jakes now find themselves tied just 4 points behind Conquest's driver.

Mazda Road to Indy Update: Star Mazda didn't get to race until after IndyCar due to weather, but those who stuck around saw Sage Karam rocket away for the win. In Indy Lights, Esteban Guerreri got the victory with a nice performance over 2nd-place Joseph Newgarden. Lights also saw all manner of confusion as the #7 and #11 cars were reported as failing tech, only to see that quickly retracted. (There's also O2RT withdrawing; I don't we've heard the last of that, so keep your ears open). In USF2000, Northern Ireland's Wayne Boyd had an excellent race to grab his first series win over 2nd-place Zach Veach.

Next Up: No time to rest, as the series heads to Iowa next weekend!

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