Sunday, June 1, 2008

Indycars Take On Milwaukee Mile

Even though much of the jabber since the Indy 500 has focused on Ryan Briscoe and Danica Patrick's tangle in pitlane, Indycar's young guns stole the show in qualifying for today's 225 lap race on the Milwaukee Mile. Outside of Indy, State Fair Park in Milwaukee has the longest tradition of running Indycars of anywhere. Wisconsin's famous flat track should be especially challenging with 26 cars taking the green flag. There should be some dicey moments throughout the 225 laps and I would still expect one of the Indycar Series regulars to take the checkers. With Marco Andretti and Graham Rahal leading the way, the tussle into Turn 1 should be a sight to see. Rahal's front row starting spot is impressive but not altogether surprising to me, since the Newman Haas Lanigan team has experience here from CART and Champ Car, even though these are different cars than what they are used to. Qualifying is one thing but racing is another as we saw at Indy, so the transition teams are still going find tough sledding adjusting to conditions during the race.

Bravery and youth can make up for poor handling at times so Rahal should still show well. Marco must overcome the Andretti exuberance and apparent family tendency to run cars into the ground or take unwarranted chances. We'll see how he handles lapped traffic if he can grab the lead early on. And the lappers should be encountered within the first 10 laps or so.

Danica didn't show well in qualifying although she has run well here before. Her run-in with Dan Wheldon will be shown over and over today but it's still good for the series. I'm thinking Scott Dixon is the man to beat however, and I doubt that Wheldon's poor race at Indy with a malfunctioning car will be repeated here. Watch for Kanaan to charge and Helio will be one to watch as well, especially since the Penske bunch has had its troubles at Milwaukee in the past. Remember the collapsing rear wings not that long ago? It will be fun to watch as these cars on short tracks are a site to behold, and the wheel to wheel battles should be intense since aero issues are reduced and increased levels of downforce translate into great cornering grip. Being out front won't be as important as at Indy. This is where the phrase "Go fast. Turn Left" takes on new meaning.

I wish I could be there.

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