Saturday, June 18, 2011

Milwaukee 225 Preview

Milwaukee 225 Preview
IndyCar Garage is live at the Milwaukee Mile for qualifications and all the action on Sunday. Tyler Carmichael, moderator of breaks down the story lines to watch for this weekend.

1. Ovals get shorter at Milwaukee
INDYCAR had just one oval last year less than one mile, this year they will have three, and it starts this weekend at the Milwaukee Mile. Milwaukee took a one year break from the INDYCAR Schedule, due to financial issues with the promoter. This year, it will feature over 250 race cars and seven races in two days. Milwaukee is a very flat track and as some have described it, a road course type that requires driver skill and not flat out type racing. Marco Andretti about the Milwaukee Mile "The Venom car will start ninth tomorrow and I think we can get the job done from there. This is always a fun race but the track is really tough on equipment because there's no banking. If you get the balance off even a little bit it can hurt you. You really want to start mid-pack or better and make sure you don't go a lap down - the leaders are going to be fast. We're in the ballgame so hopefully we get it right tomorrow and have a strong finish."

2. Dario and Helio take the front row

Superpowers Ganassi and Penske will be represented on the front row with defending series champion Dario Franchitti and Team Penske veteran Helio Castroneves. Franchitti has won twice this year (St.Pete and Texas #1), while Castroneves has struggled to post a solid finish in any of the six INDYCAR races. See the full starting field below

3. Simona De Silverstro crashes in qualifying and is transported to the local hospital.

Fan favorite Simona De Silvestro of HVM Racing crashed in turn four during her two lap qualifying effort. Simona hit the outer portion of the wall and slide into the inside part of the strong straightway. Her car, AKA: Porkchop, is the team’s only car this weekend and is a 2003 Dallara, one of the oldest in the series. The team is trying to repair it for the race tomorrow, but it’s unclear on the status of the car and Simona herself. Simona had a nasty crash at Texas in 2010, Indy in 2011, and has been very mentally challenged since her wreck at Indy. With tomorrow’s race on ABC, and sponsor dollars probably big on the network TV races, don’t be surprised if Simona gets cleared, for her to participate in some form

4. The third of five races will be televised live on ABC – Prerace at 3:30 EST – Green Flag 4EST
INDYCAR drew an overnight T.V. rating of 1.4 for the opener at St. Pete , and it settled at 1.2. INDYCAR drew an overnight T.V. rating of 4.3 for the Indy 500, and it settled at 4.0. The two races have ABC network T.V. in common. Versus ratings for INDYCAR this year have been down from 2010, but ABC races are up. INDYCAR needs another solid rating of over 1.0 for ROI in sponsors, and creditability as well. INDYCAR CEO Randy Bernard is in the middle of contract talks for a new TV deal for 2013 and beyond, and if he wants any leverage, he needs high ratings this season. Bernard was recently quoted in the IndyStar as saying he would like to see at least eight INDYCAR races on network TV in 2013.

5. Attendance for Milwaukee

INDYCAR didn’t race the Milwaukee Mile in 2010 and it will probably show in tomorrow’s attendance. Expect race attendance to anywhere between 20,000 to 25,000. A nice re-start to regaining traction at Milwaukee but not close to the peak of 50,000 back in the early 1990’s. The sad thing is, that the racing is still outstanding at Milwaukee, but the fan base isn’t what it used to be.

6. Starting Grid for tomorrow’s Milwaukee 225
Row 1 – Dario Franchitti , Helio Castroneves
Row 2 – Scott Dixon , Tony Kanaan
Row 3 – Takuma Sato, E.J. Viso
Row 4 – Ryan Hunter-Reay, Ryan Briscoe
Row 5 – Marco Andretti, Oriol Servia
Row 6 – Ana Beatriz, Graham Rahal
Row 7 – Justin Wilson , Alex Lloyd
Row 8 – Danica Patrick, James Hinchcliffe
Row 9 – Will Power , J.R. Hildebrand
Row 10 – Alex Tagliani , Mike Conway
Row 11 – Charlie Kimball , Vitor Meira
Row 12 – James Jakes , Sebastian Saavedra
Row 13 – Ed Carpenter , Simona De Silvestro

7. Predications for the IZOD IndyCar Series race
1st – Helio Castroneves
2nd – Tony Kanaan
3rd – Dario Franchitti

Coming Tomorrow: Driver interviews and complete race day coverage of all four races

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