Immensely popular with enthusiasts of traditional and historical circuits, as well as fans of close, unpredictable racing, the IZOD Indycar series makes a welcome return this weekend to the Milwaukee Mile after a two-year absence.
Our regular IndyCar aficionado Matt Lennon takes a look at the sport’s return to Milwaukee and looks at the form guide heading into this weekend’s Grand Prix of Milwaukee.
Milwaukee is the only Indycar race to have been sanctioned by all four governing bodies of the four previous incarnations of the series, those being the American Automobile Association (AAA), United States Auto Club (USAC), Championship Auto Racing Teams (CART – and its successor Champ Car) and now IndyCar.
In July 2009, it was announced that Wisconsin Motorsports, the circuits original promoter, had run into financial trouble and had its race promoter agreement terminated by the circuit’s board of directors due to licensing fees owed to NASCAR. Once these issues were resolved, the race was returned to the IndyCar Series calendar.
The oldest operating speedway in America, open-wheel racing series have been coming to Milwaukee since 1937 – a dirt track at the time until it was paved in 1954, and with the exception of wartime, have continued ever since. The one-mile oval, with only slight nine-degree banking in each of the turns, provides good overtaking opportunities and plenty of space for side-by-side racing.
Since the American open-wheel landscape was unified in 2008, Ryan Briscoe and Scott Dixon have shared the spoils in the two races here and both are itching to chalk up their first wins of the year. Dario Franchitti won the first visit by the IRL to this circuit in 2004, and Will Power hasn’t raced here since Champ Car visited in 2006, retiring with mechanical problems.
Prospects for this weekend appear to be another instalment of the Penske vs Ganassi show, however in such a competitive series, anybody is able to stand up and challenge for a win if their car is hooked up properly. It should be a thrilling show as the drivers and teams move another step closer to championship glory.
[Images via LAT]