Milwaukee Mile Preview

Indy 500 winner Ryan Hunter-Reay returns to defend his IndyFest crown at the Milwaukee Mile.  [Joe Jennings Photo]


Verizon IndyCar Series: ABC Supply Wisconsin 250 at Milwaukee IndyFest

There have been 115 Indy car races at what is now called the Milwaukee Mile. Legendary drivers who have written the history of the sport have raced here and won. Shaw, Mays and Bettenhausen, Bryan, Ward and Clark have joined the Andrettis, Mears and Mansell in victory lane at what was known as Wisconsin State Fair Speedway; or at times just “The Fair Park”.

On Sunday, today’s motorsport’s heroes: Ryan Hunter-Reay, Will Power and Helio Castroneves, will lead a 22-car field of Verizon IndyCar drivers on the historic Mile in the ABC Supply Wisconsin 250 at Milwaukee IndyFest; the 16th of 19 races on the 2014 schedule.

The first race here in West Allis was contested in 1903 on the then dirt track. Indy car events began in 1933 under AAA sanction and the oval was finally paved in 1954. USAC began a 24-year run in 1956 before CART (1980-2003), Champ Car (2004-’06) and IRL/IndyCar (2004-2014) bring us to the present.

Since 1933, 18 drivers have won a race here and then captured that season’s championship beginning with Rex Mays (1941) to Hunter-Reay (2012).

Six former winners of nine previous races are entered for Sunday’s event: Hunter-Reay (2013-’12,’04), Scott Dixon (’09), Ryan Briscoe (’08), Tony Kanaan (’07,’06), Sebastien Bourdais (’06) and Juan Pablo Montoya (’00). These six former winners will compete in the 10th IndyCar/IRL race held here.

Event promoter/team owner/ former driver Michael Andretti has won five times here as a driver and five more as an owner. His four-car team has triumphed in five of the previous nine races at the Mile, including the last two, while son Marco has won two poles and finished in the top five four times. Grandpa Mario was victorious on the MM four times.

Andretti Autosport team driver and Indianapolis 500 winner Hunter-Reay has three wins here and is in third place in the points chase just 63 behind leader Will Power.

In 2013 RHR overtook race-leader Takuma Sato on lap 198 and went on to lead Castroneves to the checkered flag by 4.8 sec. for his second consecutive win at the Mile. James Hinchcliffe, who will test the free-agent waters for 2015, has finished sixth or better in three previous MKE starts.

Penske Racing sits on top of the championship point’s chase with Power having bumped teammate Castroneves out of first place at Mid-Ohio a week ago. Neither driver has won since Detroit back in June, but they have dominated the point’s lead for most of the season. The team has won seven times at the fairgrounds track and Castroneves has been P1 three times.

Target Chip Ganassi Racing won here in two of the last five races: Dixon (2009) and Franchitti (2011), but Dixon,  the 2013,  three-time series’ champ is just sixth in the standings and has given his four-car team its only win (Mid-Ohio) after it switched to Chevrolet power in the off-season. Tony Kanaan, who is starting his 231st consecutive Indy car event, may give Ganassi Racing its best chance for a victory having won here in 2006-’07 and placed second in 2012.

Among the others, Sebastien Bourdais, eighth in points (-148), has done well on road/street courses for KV Racing Technology, having placed fourth and fifth at Houston, first and ninth in Toronto and second last week at Mid-Ohio. The flat Milwaukee oval may slow him down a bit this weekend.


  • In 1965, three Indy car races were run here, including two in one week during the August State Fair.
  • Seven drivers who raced here in 2013 are no longer regulars in the series: E.J.Viso, Franchitti, James Jakes, Ana Beatriz, Tristan Vautier, Alex Tagliani and Simona De Silvestro are racing elsewhere most weekends.
  • Three drivers were eliminated from the championship chase after Mid-Ohio: Charlie Kimball, Justin Wilson and Hinchcliffe.
  • Ten different drivers have won races so far in 2014. This is one off the record of 11 set in 2000 and 2001.
  • Race sponsor ABC Supply, a Wisconsin-based company, will have 1,500 employees, mostly from its Beloit, WI headquarters, at the race. The company is also a long-time sponsor of A.J. Foyt Racing.
  • The Milwaukee Mile is banked just 9.25-degrees in the turns; about the same as the turns at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
  • Look for an Andretti Autosport team to win the race that its sports marketing company promotes.
  • TV: Race-Sunday, 3:00pm (ET), NBCSN/ Qualifying-Saturday, 8:00pm (ET), NBCSN (tape delay).
  • Radio: XM-209/Sirius-213.



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