The race entertained as promised with plenty of passing, traffic and action on the flat oval track. Before qualifications even commenced though the silly season news heated up. SFHR and ECR announced they’re joining forces next year to become a multi car team, consolidating into one big happy All American family. Except for Conway that is, who’s a part time driver and full time Englishman. The series loses two teams but gains one, and we hope CFHR have success together. They cited the coming of aero kits, the need for shared data and the advantages of a two car team in the decision. We’d love to see Sarah back behind the wheel next year, but that ain’t gonna happen.
Power started and won the race from pole, leading most of the race in dominating fashion. Team Penske finished 1-2 with Montoya also running a strong race despite a rough pit stop and looking solid heading into the last two races. He received a warning for running into a tire in his pit box but no penalty, as it seems Penske rules were in effect again for race control. The race was run almost entirely under green flag conditions with drivers generally behaving themselves all day. Kanaan and Dixon took third and fourth for Target Chip Ganassi Racing while Josef Newgarden took fifth for SFHR.
Photo from dailytelegraph.com.au
Andretti Autosport had a disappointing weekend, with all four cars qualifying poorly and Hinchcliffe who’d been quickest hitting the wall with minutes to go in the final practice, wrecking a perfectly good car. Hunter-Reay had the most entertaining drive of the race, storming from the rear of the field to near the front and gaining fourteen positions before his suspension finally gave up on him. After he climbed out of his car a dejected Hunter-Reay said “Our championship hopes are up in smoke.” AA rookie Munoz struggled all weekend and made the only contact with the wall all race, finishing last.
Photo from indycar.com
In pre-race, Robin Miller amused viewers on NBCSN as usual with his grid run. In a brief encounter with J.R. Hildebrand, he raised the possibility of him driving a third car for the new CFH Racing. He then spoke with Larry Foyt about expanding to two cars and of the possibility of “half the grid being Americans next year.” We can only hope. Miller also mentioned the field being even stronger next year, which really would be something.
The grandstands looked to be only about half full for the race, if that, but we’re happy to pass along news reports stating that the IndyCar series will return to the historic mile next year. At least there’s some stability when it comes to oval tracks on the schedule. The oval track racing proved exciting with two and even three wide passing throughout the afternoon.
One of the biggest moments of the race was the start, where Sato in mid pack got extremely loose and nearly caused a pile up on the first lap. He recovered but was never a factor in another disappointing performance in front of his sponsor’s home town crowd. This after Larry Foyt told Miller in pre race that “the pressure’s on” Sato who “needs to finish the season strong.”
The grand old mile put in a good showing yesterday, providing challenging and entertaining racing for drivers and spectators alike. Power’s prime position in the points was strengthened as was Montoya’s, while Helio’s standing suffered with an 11th place finish. It was one of those pure Penske days in Milwaukee and sets up an exciting final two races of a rapidly dwindling season.