Your One stop for all the Racing & Sports News... Local and National
Happy birthday, Ron Hornaday Jr.
The Kevin Harvick Inc. driver dominated Saturday's rescheduled Copart 200 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race, winning on his 51st birthday.
"It's a cool day," Hornaday said. "What'd they (say), 'How old are you?' I don't know. I'm in my 50s, now, I guess."
Hornaday led 189 of the race's 200 laps and easily beat MRD Motorsports' Dennis Setzer. The race was postponed from Friday night after heavy rain struck the Milwaukee area.
"I hate to tell you but I don't think the truck was that good," Hornaday said.
"I think we were just that much better than the rest of them," Hornaday said.
Whatever the case, Hornaday was the class of the field, as crew chief Rick Ren made numerous adjustments after Friday's practice to propel Hornaday to dominance.
"You just can't expect to be as good as we were today," Ren said. "But it sure is a darn nice feeling."
Matt Crafton Battles Rick Crawford
Photo by Dan Peters
Hornaday took control of the race early, passing Matt Crafton on the third lap and pulling away. Disaster nearly struck later in the race, when a caution came out for Aric Almirola's spin after Hornaday had pitted his No. 33 Chevrolet.
But Hornaday was fast enough to remain on the lead lap, and after the other seven trucks on the lead lap pitted, Hornaday was back in the lead.
Hornaday Battles the "Onion" Todd Bodine
Photo By Dan Peters
Setzer finished second, one second behind Hornaday. Xpress Motorsports driver Brian Scott finished third with a broken right wrist, with Germain Racing's Todd Bodine fourth and Circle Bar Racing's James Buescher fifth.
Sixth through 10th were Stacy Compton (Wyler Racing), Tayler Malsam (Randy Moss Motorsports), Colin Braun (Roush Fenway Racing), David Starr (HT Motorsports) and Terry Cook (HT).
Heading for the pits...
Photo By Dan Peters
Hornaday dedicated the victory to his wife's mother, who has been in the hospital all week.
"This is probably the eighth race in 30-some years me and my wife's been married that she's missed," Hornaday said. "Her mom is really deathly sick, and she's been in the hospital all week long. ... all she wanted to know was when I was going to race, and she kept calling. Hopefully this will boost her up a little bit."
NASCAR Camping World Truck Series at the Milwaukee Mile...will be on Saturday
As Drivers were being introduced... the rains returned.. and forced NASCAR to schedule the Truck race at 12:30 pm (CST) So race fans will have a racing "Tri-fecta" with the Star Mazda Series at 2:30, followed by the Nationwide Series practice & race in the evening...
From Friday...Friday June 19, 2009. Dodging the Rain.. some 5 inches overnight. The skies became partly sunny and the Trucks hit the track... but the damage was done. They will start by Points Friday night....weather permittingTTed MusgraveMike SkinnerChad McCumbee & Butch Miller
Benson in serious condition after super modified crash
Reigning NASCAR Truck champion Johnny Benson is in serious but stable condition after a fiery crash during a supermodified race.
The driver was starting his second lap when he collided with another car on Saturday night at Berlin Raceway in Marne, Mich. His car slammed into the wall and erupted into flames.
Benson, of from Grand Rapids, Mich., reportedly had multiple injuries, including burns and broken ribs.
The 45-year-old driver lost his full-time ride last Monday when Red Horse Racing folded his Camping World Truck Series team because it couldn't find sponsorship.
Flag to Flag Victory at Milwaukee for Romancini
Photo By Joe Paolella
He won the pole Saturday.. Backs it up with domination on Sunday
Mario Romancini earned his first career Firestone Indy Lights victory with a flag-to-flag win in the Husar's House of Fine Diamonds 100. Romancini beat series points leader J.R. Hildebrand to the checkered flag by 1.0907 seconds. Sebastian Saavedra was third, Gustavo Yacaman fourth and James Davison fifth.
Results Sunday of the Husar's House of Fine Diamonds 100 presented by Charter Firestone Indy Lights event May 31 at the 1-mile The Milwaukee Mile, with order of finish, starting position in parentheses, driver, laps completed and reason out (if any) and money earned:
1. (1) Mario Romancini, 100, Running $30,000
2. (2) J.R. Hildebrand, 100, Running $22,500
3. (4) Sebastian Saavedra, 100, Running $18,000
4. (6) Gustavo Yacaman, 100, Running $16,000
5. (7) James Davison, 100, Running $15,000
6. (5) Wade Cunningham, 100, Running $14,500
7. (10) James Hinchcliffe, 100, Running $14,000
8. (8) Andrew Prendeville, 100, Running $13,500
9. (9) Pippa Mann, 98, Running $13,000
10. (15) Charlie Kimball, 97, Running $13,500
11. (12) Pablo Donoso, 95, Running $12,000
12. (16) Rodrigo Barbosa, 95, Running $11,500
13. (14) Sergey Mokshantsev, 93, Running $11,000
14. (11) Daniel Herrington, 84, Contact $13,000
15. (13) Martin Plowman, 84, Running $11,000
16. (3) Jonathan Summerton, 49, Contact $10,000
Winner's average speed: 113.945 mph
Time of race: 53:26.8054
Margin of victory: 1.0907 seconds
Cautions: 4 caution flags for 17 laps
Lead changes: 0 lead changes
Lap leaders: Romancini 1-100.
Point standings: Hildebrand 198, Saavedra 188, Romancini 179,
Cunningham 163, Summerton 162, Hinchcliffe 156, Strous 146, Herrington 146, Davison 145, Howard 123.
Photos Below By Joe Paolella
The #9 Car of Jonathan Summerton Spins on Lap 5..avoids contact and the other cars...continues on..
FIRESTONE INDY LIGHTS POST-RACE NOTES:
This is the first career victory for rookie Mario Romancini. His previous best finish was third at Kansas and Indianapolis.
Romancini led all 100 laps, his first laps led in the series.
Romancini is only the second polesitter to win at The Milwaukee Mile. Alex Lloyd won from the pole in 2007.
This is the second Firestone Indy Lights victory for RLR/Andersen Racing. The team won with J.R. Hildebrand at Kansas in 2008.
Photo By Joe Paolella
J.R. Hildebrand finished second, his fourth podium finish of the season.
Hildebrand remains the points leader with a 10-point advantage over Sebastian Saavedra.
Saavedra finished third, his fourth top-five finish of the season.
Gustavo Yacaman finished a season-best fifth. His previous best was ninth at St. Petersburg 2 and Long Beach.
James Davison finished fifth, bettering his previous season-best finish of sixth at Indianapolis.
Pippa Mann finished ninth, her first top-10 finish.
Photo Gallery AJ Foyt 225 2009
Tony Kanaan is still sore from his meeting with the outside wall and Turn 3 SAFER Barrier at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway during the Indianapolis 500 on May 24, but at least he's considerably cooler.
Kanaan shaved his head - ahead of consummating the deal he made with IndyCar Series points leader Dario Franchitti earlier in the season. He had Franchitti's blessing.
The pact: When Franchitti won (as he did at Long Beach), Kanaan would have to let his hair grow until he won a race - and vice versa (with Franchitti remaining shaved).
"Dario let me cut it after Indy," said Kanaan, who still was sporting the underbrush during the 500 Victory Celebration on May 25 (he's shown in photo with son Leonardo during an outing this week near their Florida home). "He either felt sorry for me after the crash or he thought I was too ugly for long hair and let me do it. I thought I should do it before he changed his mind. A lot of people think that I broke the bet, but that's not true. It was with his permission."
Kanaan incurred bruising around his ribs and legs in the single-car incident on Lap 98 as the No. 11 Team 7-Eleven car experienced a mechanical failure.
"I'm as good as I can be; I can't complain. I'm here walking instead of limping, and for sure it's going to be a tough weekend for me but I'm used to it."
Kanaan, fifth in the championship standings, is a two-time winner of the ABC Supply/A.J. Foyt 225. He led Franchitti across the finish line by 2.5 seconds in 2007.
"It's always great to go back to a track that you have won at," said Kanaan, driver of the No. 11 team 7-Eleven car. "Milwaukee has always been a 'pick-me-up' track, since my past few Indy 500s have been tough breaks. The Team 7-Eleven car is always strong in Milwaukee and hopefully the trend is the same this year."
Photos from 2008 AJ Foyt 225
The Camping World 200 & 250 Photo Gallery... Photos by Dan Peters & Joe Paolella
Kenny Wallace sets a milestone Saturday at Milwaukee.. His 400th career Nationwide start and his 753rd NASCAR start. Kenny even lead a lap during the race !!
“Three-Peat” For Benson.. Wins Third Straight Truck Race at Milwaukee
Friday was not your typical night at the Legendary Mile in Milwaukee. The day started under mostly sunny skies. As the race began under a setting sunset… storm clouds gathered on the horizon. But unlike other areas of Milwaukee, little if any rain fell at the track, it was the lightning and electrical storm that played havoc with tonight’s race.
As the race approached lap 150, a severe storm swept the track with dangerous lightning, forcing the track and NASCAR officials to red flag the race and evacuate the grandstands. Even the media was told to get indoors.
A scant 30 minutes later, the skies cleared and the race was on. Nothing it seams would stop Johnny Benson from claiming his third straight Milwaukee triumph under the lights.
Benson's victory from the pole position in the Bill Davis Racing Toyota was his first of the season and 10th of his CTS career -- all coming in the past three seasons. He entered the race leading the points and expanded his advantage to 50 over Todd Bodine.
"It feels great," Benson said. "I could do almost anything I wanted. That last set of tires was awesome. This is way cool. I can't believe we won three in a row."
#03 Chrissy Wallace made another start at Milwaukee.. She made her debut earlier in the year at Martinsville Speedway in March.
"Really, everything I know about Milwaukee has come from my dad." (Mike Wallace) said Chrisy. "He's talked about how the track is and what you gotta do to get a good lap there."
The AJ Foyt 225 & Milwaukee 100 Photo Gallery... Photos By Mark Rotor & Dan Peters
The Milwaukee Mile... Through The Years
The Milwaukee Mile's future is certainly bright, but many racing and Milwaukee history aficionados are equally enthralled by its legendary past. Originally a privately owned horse-racing track, the one-mile oval has been in existence since at least 1876. In 1891, the Agricultural Society of the State of Wisconsin purchased the land to create a permanent site for the Wisconsin State Fair. The track has operated as part of the fairgrounds ever since.
The Milwaukee Mile has hosted auto-racing events every year since 1903, making it the oldest continuously operating auto racing facility in the world. During that time, the track has seen nearly every type of motorsports competition, from turn-of-the-century "speed contests" and 24-hour endurance races to Depression- and WWII-era open-wheel car duels, USAC stock car events, midget racing, and now CART and NASCAR competition. The roster of past winners at The Milwaukee Mile is a veritable "who's-who" of racing history, including names like Barney Oldfield, Rex Mays, A.J. Foyt, Al Unser and Mario Andretti.
Auto racing at The Milwaukee Mile debuted on September 11, 1903, when William Jones of Chicago won a five-lap speed contest, setting the first track record with a 72 second, 50 mph lap in the process. Five, 10 and 15-mile races were common in the early days, as were 24-hour endurance races, which were staged in 1907 and 1908. It wasn't until 1915 that the first 100-mile race was held, with Louis Disbrow averaging 62.5 mph to take the checkered flag.
From the beginning, The Milwaukee Mile attracted some of the biggest names in racing, including the sport's first truly famous racer, Barney Oldfield. In fact, Oldfield's exploits at The Milwaukee Mile helped build his legend. He set the track's record in 1905 and again in 1910, when he pushed his famous Blitzen Benz to an average speed of 70.l59 mph. In June 1917, he out-dueled Ralph DePalma in a series of 10, 15 and 25-mile match races, driving a car dubbed the "Golden Submarine" - so named because it was painted gold and completely enclosed to protect the driver in case it overturned.
DePalma also played a significant role in The Mile's development. In 1911, he won the inaugural Milwaukee Mile Championship Car race, as well as the famed Indianapolis Speedway Race held the following weekend. He was one of ten racers to compete in both events. Although The Mile's "first-race-after-Indy" status didn't become entrenched until 1947, it has since become one of the longest-running traditions in motorsports.
The Milwaukee Mile faced a series of unique challenges during the years surrounding World War I. Since the original purpose of the track was for racing horses, the early retaining walls were little more than picket fences until concrete barriers were installed in the 1920s. With the horsemen and auto racers sharing the same track, special attention to the dirt surface was necessary, forcing the track's groundskeeper to loosen the surface for horse racing and to harden it for cars. In the 1920s, board tracks sprang up across the country and The Mile fell from favor with many drivers, who preferred the smoother and faster board tracks. However, this gave the facility a chance to develop a number of local drivers and its first promoter of note - Tom Marchese. During his tenure, which lasted from 1929 through 1967, Marchese promoted more major races at The Milwaukee Mile than any other promoter in the history of the speedway.
In the 1930s, The Mile returned to national prominence with the development of a new grandstand area, which replaced the original grandstand built in 1914. Holding 14,900 spectators, it was built over time in three sections, and then merged via a common roof in 1938. Fortified several times through the ensuing decades, it stood until September 2002.
Some of the first big events held in the newly improved facility had nothing to do with auto racing. Through much of the 1930s, the Green Bay Packers played two games a year on The Milwaukee Mile's infield, and the site even hosted the 1939 NFL Championship game in which the Packers beat the New York Giants, 27 - 0. The Milwaukee Chiefs from the American Football League also played their home games there in 1941.
Champ Cars made their first appearance at The Milwaukee Mile on July 17, 1933. But before the 100-mile race could get underway, a rainstorm hit the track, washing out the show. A group of drivers, led by Wilbur Shaw, convinced promoter Tom Marchese to run the race the following day, in the process coining the now-popular sports term "rain date."
There were three other Champ Car races held at The Mile during the 1930s with Rex Mays winning in 1937, Chet Gardner in 1938 and Babe Stapp in 1939. Mays was the first to break the 90 mph barrier in 1934 with a lap of 39.47 seconds (91.21 mph). The 1937 race was perhaps the most memorable of the decade, since a scoring error caused it to end prematurely after the 96th lap, instead of the 100th.
The 1930s also saw the emergence of Tony Willman, who is still considered one of the top Midget and Sprint Car drivers ever to come out of Wisconsin. Willman's fame peaked on August 4, 1939, when his hometown of South Milwaukee made him honorary mayor and paraded him to that day's race in the official town car with another 200 supporters' vehicles driving behind. Fittingly, he won the event.
Although interrupted by World War II, the 1940s were marked by the continued growth of racing at The Mile and the continued domination of major events by Rex Mays, who won the 100-mile race in 1941 and again in 1946 (when racing resumed). In 1948, the facility held its first 200-mile Champ Car race as well as its first major stock car race.
From 1947 through 1980, The Milwaukee Mile was the site of more national Championship midget, stock and Indy car races than any other track in the country. Milwaukee had established itself as the premier one-mile oval in America. In July of 1950, 33,161 fans watched Myron Fohr win a 150-mile stock car race at The Mile, an attendance record that stood until July 4, 1993, when 34,260 people witnessed the return of the NASCAR Busch Grand National Series to Milwaukee.
In 1950, the June 100-mile race was named the Rex Mays Classic, while in 1961, the 200-mile August event was designated the Tony Bettenhausen Classic. These two races became mainstays on the Champ Car schedule through 1982, when the August event was eliminated.
Under Tom Marchese's skilled promotion, the track prospered as it enjoyed the unqualified backing of the State Fair Board and management. As the growth of racing continued, improvements were still being made, one of which would take the track into the modern era of auto racing.
The modern era began in May 1954 when the track was paved for the first time. However, during the 1950s and 60s, the quarter-mile dirt oval in the infield was the sight of numerous, weekly racing programs. Miles Melius of Slinger was the dominant driver, and Carl Kulow of Plymouth won frequently as well. Horseracing events also continued during The Wisconsin State Fair on the interior half-mile oval until 1959.
During the 1960s, Norm Nelson of Racine dominated the USAC late-model stock car ranks. He won Championships in 1960, 1965 and 1966 and started in 75 straight USAC late-model stock car races at The Mile, winning 11 times.
The 1960s were also marked by the emergence of rear-engine vehicles on the Champ Car circuit, debuting at Milwaukee in 1962. In 1963, the rear-engine Lotus-Fords of Jim Clark and Dan Gurney dominated the field in the August race, with Clark taking the checkered flag in a record speed of 109.303 mph.
The last victory for a traditional roadster at Milwaukee came at the 1964 Rex Mays Classic when A.J. Foyt outclassed the field. Although Foyt would also switch to a rear-engine car before that season was over, he did have one last unintended appearance at The Mile in a front-engine car. In 1965, Foyt was forced to tow his dirt track car, a front-engine Offy, to Milwaukee from Springfield when his rear-engine Lotus-Ford, along with his crew, did not arrive in Milwaukee in time for qualifying. He proceeded to prepare the car himself for racing on pavement and then put the car on the pole with a speed of 107.881 mph. Foyt led 16 of the 200 laps but eventually finished second to Gordon Johncock. By 1966, only three roadsters were in the Rex Mays Classic field. The last year a front-engine roadster raced at The Mile was in 1970 with Bob Harkey at the wheel. The entire track was repaved at the end of the 1967 season. By 1970, most of the 1.2-mile road course in the infield had been obliterated with the enlargement of the pit area. The quarter-mile oval also went out of existence around the same time.
During the 1960s and into the early '70s, the most dominant stock car driver was Don White of Keokuk, Iowa. He won 14 stock car races, more than any driver in Milwaukee Mile history. Dominating stock cars in the mid-1970s was Butch Hartman, who won two USAC Championships and an amazing seven out of eight races on The Mile, duplicating the record of Parnelli Jones in the 1964 and '65 seasons.
The pre-eminent Champ Car driver of this period was Al Unser Sr., who won four times at The Mile and finished three miles ahead of the field at the 1970 Bettenhausen 200. Rick Mears also made his first appearance in Milwaukee during the late '70s, although surprisingly it came in a USAC stock car. Mears came back to win a USAC race in Milwaukee a year later and won Champ Car races at the track in 1988 and 1989.
1980 saw the first race sanctioned by Championship Auto Racing Teams (CART) - the Tony Bettenhausen 200 on August 10. After 36 years of hosting two Champ Car races a year, just one race was run in 1983, and that has been the case ever since.
A controversy marked the finish of the 1983 race as Tom Sneva won the race - his second at The Mile - by a margin of 10 seconds. An inspection of Sneva's car revealed that it didn't have proper ground clearance on the side pod's mounted skirts, so Al Unser, Sr. was declared the winner. CART's technical staff later upheld a subsequent appeal by Sneva and reversed the ruling, giving the win back to Sneva two weeks later. Sneva won for the third straight time at The Mile in 1984, his fourth victory in five races at Milwaukee. 1984 was the first year the June event was 200 miles in length, which proved fortuitous for Sneva, snaring the lead from Rick Mears on lap 199.
NASCAR made its debut in Milwaukee in 1984 with the Busch Late Model Sportsman series, now known as the Busch Series. The Busch Late Model Sportsman division also raced in Milwaukee in 1985, NASCAR's last visit to The Mile until its return in 1993. Sam Ard drove to victory in the 200-mile race, followed by the two Wisconsin stock car legends, the late Alan Kulwicki and Dick Trickle, as well as Bobby and Davey Allison and Dale Jarrett, respectively. The 1985 event saw one of the most exciting finishes in Mile history as Jack Ingram and Rick Mast swapped the lead four times in the last six laps with Ingram winning by less than one car length.
In 1985, Miller Brewing Company became title sponsor of the Champ Car event. That year, Mario Andretti set a qualifying record of 147.608 mph and went on the win the Miller American 200. It was his fourth victory at The Mile, but his first since 1967. 1986 went down in history as the first time a father and son had won back-to-back races in Milwaukee as Michael Andretti took the checkered flag. He picked up his second win in a row at Milwaukee by winning the Miller American Racing 200 in 1987.
In 1990, the Champ Car race took the name "Miller Genuine Draft 200." Al Unser Jr. won that event after leader Michael Andretti ran out of fuel on the 198th lap. Little Al's victory made it the ninth Milwaukee Mile win for the Unser family. His father, Al, Sr. and his Uncle Bobby, each have four. In 1991, a first in the worldwide history of auto racing occurred as three members of the same family finished 1-2-3 in a major Champ Car event. Michael Andretti won the race followed by his cousin, John, in second and father, Mario, in third. Michael's brother, Jeff, was also in the field, finishing 11th.
In 1992, with Milwaukee in danger of losing its CART race, Carl Haas was given a long-term contract to organize all racing activity at the storied facility. Working feverishly with the combined help of the Wisconsin State Fair Board, Wisconsin Sports Authority and Miller Brewing Company, Haas was able to save the race and begin a series of improvements that have culminated with the completion of the new grandstands for the 2003 season.
Shortly after Haas took over, a new front stretch wall was installed and 700 gallons of paint were used to give the grandstand and other structures a fresh look in time for the Miller Genuine Draft 200. A record crowd of more than 43,000 saw Michael Andretti make it two wins in a row with a record average speed of 138.031 mph. Bobby Rahal, who set a new track record in qualifying, finished second followed by Scott Brayton in third. The 1993 event saw reigning Formula One World Champion, Nigel Mansell, pass Raul Boesel with 19 laps remaining to claim his first career oval track victory. Mansell went on to win the CART Championship the same year.
In 1994, Team Penske swept the top three positions in the only rain-shortened Champ Car race in Milwaukee Mile history. Al Unser Jr. won, with Emerson Fittipaldi finishing second and Paul Tracy in third. The following year, Tracy moved to the top step of the victory podium, driving for the team owned by Haas.
Haas was back in the victory lane again the next year when Michael Andretti held off Al Unser Jr. by less than two-tenths of a second to record his fifth Milwaukee Mile victory. The track was resurfaced again prior to the 1996 race, which was won by Michael Andretti. More new names were added to Milwaukee Mile winner's list when Greg Moore won in 1997 and Jimmy Vasser took the checkered flag in 1998.
In addition to stellar CART action, the Carl Haas era in Milwaukee has also been marked by the return of NASCAR racing for the first time since the mid-80s. On July 4th 1993, a record crowd was on hand for the NASCAR Busch Series Havoline "Formula 3" 250, which was won in thrilling fashion by Steve Grissom. Another exciting NASCAR finish occurred in 1996, when local hero Dick Trickle was passed with just four laps to go by Roy "Buckshot" Jones, who went on to win the first major race of his career by a scant .002 second over Mike McLaughlin.
The NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series visited The Mile in its inaugural 1995 season with Mike Skinner winning both the pole and the race. The Truck Series has returned each year since and the track has proven to be the perfect match. In 1996, the series record was set when 17 lead changes occurred during the race.
Both the NASCAR Busch Series and Craftsman Truck Series have been extremely popular at The Milwaukee Mile, with attendance records set at the 1993 event and again at the NASCAR Busch Series events in 1996, '98 and in '99 when 43,434 saw rookie Casey Atwood win. In 2000, the NASCAR Busch Series event at The Mile went to Jeff Green, and was then swept for the next two years by Greg Biffle.
The Milwaukee CART races have been marked by a series of foreign-born winners, with Canadian Paul Tracy grabbing his second victory in 1999, followed by Juan Montoya of Columbia in 2000, Kenny Brack of Sweden in 2001, and then Tracy again in 2002. But America is not without her due. In 2000, Kurt Busch captured both the pole and the race in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series. The following year, the victory went to former Franklin resident Ted Musgrave, and in 2002, the spoils of victory went to Terry Cook.
2002 - 2005
The upgrades and facility improvements at The Milwaukee Mile starting in 2002 have been substantial to say the least. The bleacher seats were replaced with all-aluminum seating in the north and south terrace in 2002. In 2003, a completely new center grandstand area with 25,000 seats with improved sightlines, brand-new restrooms, concession areas and other fan-friendly amenities was completed, in time for The Mile’s centennial season, providing nearly 40,000 brand new seats at America’s oldest operating motor speedway. Not only was the facility enhanced, the amount of racing activity increased substantially.
The speedway’s infield underwent a transformation during this period, with a complete retrofitting of the infield road course, paving and widening the road course layout to 36 feet wide, offering greater usage of The Mile with a variety of course layouts. Increased car club and karting activity blossomed, in addition to corporate outings, factory roll-outs and police training activities. A non-tax supported bond also allowed the removal of older structures in the infield paddock to make way for new construction of a critical care/media building, new pavement along hot pit road, a new pit wall, and new scoring pylon which replaced the two-panel scoreboard dating back to the 1960’s. In addition, the paddock area was expanded to allow pass holders closer access to the action!
The first-ever Champ Car World Series night race took place at The Mile on May 31, 2003, with Michel Jourdain, Jr. streaking to victory under a well-crafted, temporary MUSCO Lighting system illuminating the historic oval. That year also provided a nighttime setting for the speedway’s popular NASCAR doubleheader weekend, with the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series moving to a Friday night, with the NASCAR Busch Series running under the lights the following night near the end of June.
In 2004, The Milwaukee Mile introduced season tickets and partial season ticket options and upped the major spectator weekend from two to four, doubling the number of events with the addition of the IRL IndyCar Series and the return of the Governor’s Cup/ASA National Tour event weekends.
Returning to The Mile in 2004 after an 11 year absence was the U.S. Auto Club, with its proven Silver Crown and National Midget Series, who continue to compete on the IRL IndyCar Series weekend. In ’04, USAC held it’s 172nd and 173rd sanctioned point races held at The Milwaukee Mile, won by David Steele and J.J. Yeley, respectively. They joined inaugural IndyCar Series victor Dario Franchitti and Indy Pro Series winner Paul Dana on a memorable open wheel weekend.
Grass roots stock car racers from Wisconsin and the upper Midwest found a home at The Mile on the speedway’s rejuvenated Governor’s Cup August weekend that has continued since 2004.
The ARCA RE/MAX Series was added to Champ Car weekend in 2005, bringing back the Midwestern-based stock car series back to The Mile for the 9th time, with 7-time ARCA champion Frank Kimmel fittingly picking up the winner’s trophy in the series’ first visit to The Milwaukee Mile since 1983. Later that season, the first USAC Sprint Car Series event since 190 was held. Indiana’s Bobby East sped away to victory in the Parnelli Jones Classic, which was a prelude to the NASCAR Autozone Elite Division, Midwest Series 150-mile race, won by Alabama’s J.R. Norris.
Champ Car winners during these seasons were Paul Tracy, Jourdain and Ryan Hunter-Reay. NASCAR victors were Greg Biffle, Jason Keller, Ron Hornaday and Wisconsin’s Johnny Sauter in the Busch Series, with veterans Terry Cook, Brendan Gaughan, Dennis Setzer and Wisconsin’s Ted Musgrave picking up his second Truck victory at The Mile, making him the only driver to win more than one NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race at America’s Legendary Oval.
In 2005, Ohioan Sam Hornish, Jr. became a popular Milwaukee Mile IRL IndyCar Series race winner in 2005, at the same speedway his father and mother – who is a Milwaukee native - shared their first date. Hornish provided legendary team owner Roger Penske with his eighth pole position earned and sixth open wheel championship race victory at The Mile.
The Milwaukee Mile Enters A New Era
“Craig, Andy and their team have the sports marketing expertise, particularly in the field of motorsports, as well as general business experience, to transform The Mile into a successful, state-of-the-art, sporting and entertainment facility.
Under the terms of the agreement, Milwaukee Mile Holdings has acquired the promotional rights at The Mile for 18 years, and has also been granted an option to acquire 9.35 acres of state-owned land adjacent to The Mile along Greenfield Avenue in exchange for enabling the State Fair Park to acquire a private parcel of land located within the Park grounds. Preliminary plans for the 9.35-acre site include a hotel and retail complex, and potentially commercial and residential space.
Stoehr is Chairman of Milwaukee Mile Holdings and Managing Partner of Badger Pacific Equity Partners. He returns to his native Oconomowoc after spending the last eight years abroad, living and working in London, Paris, Milan, Istanbul and Dubai. He has an extensive sports marketing background. During 2002 and 2003 seasons, he was Chief Executive of the Class 1 World Powerboat Championship, which is the waterborne equivalent of Formula 1.
He oversaw the Championship’s business activities and directed the staging of 16 Grand Prix events held in a variety of countries. His also has an extensive background in world international soccer, having worked on various legal and business development matters in connection with the 1994 and 1998 FIFA World Cups, as well as with international soccer stars Pele, Roerto Baggio and others. He began his career as a corporate attorney with the New York office of Latham & Watkins, the world’s fourth largest law firm after earning his J.D. degree from Northwestern University’s Law School and attending Marquette University Law School.
Edwards Collects First NASCAR Nationwide Series Win Of The Season
The Start of the Race... as the sun was setting...
Carl Edwards made the trip from Infineon Raceway worthwhile on Saturday night, winning the NASCAR Nationwide Series NorthernTool.com 250 at the Milwaukee Mile, for the second straight year.
Edwards left Infineon earlier in the day, where he practiced his NASCAR Sprint Cup Series car, to race at Milwaukee. Having to start at the rear of the field, Edwards tiptoed through the field early in the race.
Photo By Joe Paolella
After his Cup counterpart, Joe Gibbs Racing's Kyle Busch, led for numerous laps, Edwards chased him down and made the pass for the lead on Lap 205.
Despite two caution periods in the final 50 laps, Edwards easily pulled away to his first Nationwide victory of the season. He also repeated as the Milwaukee race winner, going to victory lane in 2008 with new crew chief Drew Blickensderfer.
"It seems like almost every week, we're getting faster and faster," Edwards said. "It's really cool to get that first win. Hopefully, it kicks off the rest of the season like it did last year."
Edwards and Busch Battle Early
Photo By Joe Paolella
2008 Turnaround started at the Mile…. déjà vu?
Edwards' 2008 win at Milwaukee kicked off an impressive second-half run where he won seven of the final 19 races. Can he do it again this season?
"We could go win every race," Edwards said. "That's how we try to approach them. As good as last season ended, it didn't get good until a year ago tonight. All my guys are aware of that, I was aware of that. People were mentioning that to me as I was getting in the car: 'Hey, do you remember last year?' I thought, 'Boy, if we could do that again and get it going, there's no reason we can't have the same success.'"
The victory was the first of the season for Dan Stillman, who replaced Blickensderfer as Edwards' crew chief.
Edwards Crew at work
Photo By Joe Paolella
Busch finished second, despite leading the most laps (80) for the eighth consecutive race.
"I was out front and he passed me," Busch said of Edwards. "His car was better than my car was. Any time I tried to go harder I got loose."
JR Motorsports' Brad Keselowski finished third. Polesitter Erik Darnell, Edwards' teammate, finished fourth after rallying in the closing laps. Roush Fenway's Ricky Stenhouse Jr. completed the top five
Truck Series Winner Ron Hornaday had a strong finish...Here his crew services the ninth place finisher
Photo By Joe Paolella
Sixth through 10th were Rusty Wallace Racing's Steve Wallace, Phoenix Racing's Mike Bliss, Richard Childress Racing's Stephen Leicht, Kevin Harvick Inc.'s Ron Hornaday and Braun Racing's Jason Leffler.
Busch saw his series lead over Edwards cut to 127 points, with Keselowski third, 218 out of the lead.
Fun at the "Ole" Race Track. Heavy rains both Thursday and Friday Nights created several small "Lakes" in the infield. Race Fans are always creative...and with the muggy warm weather... they used thsese new lakes to cool off.
The lakes were even mentioned on the Speed channel's coverage earlier in the day... Below are photos of fans cooing off in the newly christened "Lake Tretow" in Turn three
Photos By Joe Paolella
Photo Gallery From This weekend
Morgan Shepherd still smiles even after failing to make the race
Photos By Joe Paolella
The Nationwide Garage is open for business at the Milwaukee Mile
Photo By Summer Peters
NASCAR News & Notes Milwaukee
Keselowski Back In Championship Conversation
Will Saturday night’s race at The Milwaukee Mile be yet another defining moment in Brad Keselowski’s (No. 88 GoDaddy.com Chevrolet) season?
After the third race this year, Keselowski was mired in 22nd place in the NASCAR Nationwide Series driver rankings. His standing as a favorite to challenge for the series title was in serious doubt.
But that’s all changed.
Starting with the April 4 race at Texas Motor Speedway, he’s literally gone into overdrive. Since that event 10 races ago, he’s compiled a result sheet that reads like, well, a championship resume:
Keselowski hasn’t just climbed back into the title picture, he’s forced points leader Kyle Busch (No. 18 Combos Toyota) and second-place Carl Edwards (No. 60 Save A Lot Ford) to pay close attention to his whereabouts on the track. He’s 208 points out of first place and 71 points behind Edwards.
After his third-place finish at Kentucky Speedway last Saturday, he jumped fellow series-only regular Jason Leffler (No. 38 Great Clips Toyota) to move into third in the standings by a 10-point margin. And Leffler certainly hasn’t slumped in losing his previous five-race foothold on that spot. He’s been similarly consistent to Keselowski with nine consecutive top 10s, including three top fives.
But its at stand-alones where Keselowski has taken advantage of Leffler with two thirds and a second place in the three events to date (an average finish of 2.7), while Leffler’s average finish in those races is 5.6.
Now, Keselowski comes to Milwaukee with plenty of confidence, the stats to back it up and a solid run last year (eighth) that began with his first NASCAR national series pole.
Beer Capital Meets Wine Country For Key Double-Duty Travel
Kyle Busch and Carl Edwards have skirted any issues that could have impacted their travel to and from separate NASCAR Nationwide and NASCAR Sprint Cup double-duty events.
But this weekend’s jaunt from Infineon Raceway to The Milwaukee Mile is the longest of the four events that require back-and-forth travel.
Double-duty drivers have always managed to get from Sonoma to Milwaukee to compete in the race — sometimes at the last moment.
It’s not uncommon for double-duty drivers to miss the Driver’s Meeting and be forced to start from the back of the field at Milwaukee. The closest call recently was in 2007 when Denny Hamlin got to the track well after the start of the event.
Aric Almirola was Hamlin’s substitute driver. He won the pole and started the race, and was leading when Hamlin finally made it to pit road. Hamlin took over on Lap 58 and went on to cross the finish line first. However it was Almirola who was credited with the win since he started the event.
Almirola, who leads all drivers with two NASCAR Nationwide Series poles at the track, will be making his first appearance at Milwaukee since that race, driving the No. 40 StopRepairBills.com Chevrolet for Key Motorsports.
Busch and Edwards will count on the weather, their pilots and substitute drivers to keep them in the position to maintain their top two spots in the series standings.
Johnny Sauter, a native of Necedah, Wis., and the 2005 winner of this race, will sub for Busch. Edwards will count on young Colin Braun, who won his first NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race last Friday at Michigan International Speedway. Braun started 10th in this event last year; just his third series start and his first at The Milwaukee Mile.
Is It Wimmer’s Turn For A Home-Track Win?
It’s every driver’s dream — to win at his home track.
With so many great racers from Wisconsin, it was surprising that a native son hadn’t won any of the first 14 NASCAR Nationwide Series races at the track dubbed “America’s Legendary Oval,” a home to racing for 106 years.
But in 2005, Necedah’s Johnny Sauter finally broke through. And one year later, Paul Menard, from Eau Claire, was celebrating in Victory Lane.
Now, Scott Wimmer (No. 5 Fastenal Chevrolet) hopes his turn is next.
Wimmer is from Wausau and has had a solid NASCAR career. He’s competed in each of the top three national series to the tune of a combined 288 starts. He’s accumulated 180 of those in the NASCAR Nationwide Series and has six victories — but none at his home track.
He’s come close, finishing second in 2007 and third in 2002.
He’s driven for three different owners in his quest to land the coveted win. This weekend, he’ll have solid equipment from JR Motorsports.
Kelly Bires (No. 10 Braun Racing Toyota), a native of Mauston, also is entered at Milwaukee.
Erik Darnell (No. 6 Northern Tool + Equipment Ford) and Jason Keller (No. 27 Kimberly-Clark Ford) aren’t from Wisconsin but are racing for home-state pride.
Darnell’s car sponsor also is the race sponsor. And Keller, who’s eighth in the standings — he’s been out of the top 10 (11th) just once this year — carries the banner for one of the series’ longest-standing sponsors. Kimberly-Clark’s long-time base was in Neenah.
Lucky 13: Raines Continues Standings Climb
Familiar names leap to mind when considering NASCAR Nationwide Series-only regulars in the top10 in points, or those on the brink of breaking in.
Brad Keselowski, Jason Leffler, Justin Allgaier (No. 12 Verizon Wireless Dodge), Brendan Gaughan (No. 62 South Point Hotel & Casino Chevrolet), Jason Keller, Mike Bliss (No. 1 Miccosukee Resorts Chevrolet), Steve Wallace (No. 66 USFidelis Chevrolet), Michael McDowell (No. 47 www.constructionjobs.com Toyota), Scott Lagasse Jr. (No. 11 America’s Incredible Pizza Co. Toyota), Tony Raines (No. 34 Long John Silver’s Chevrolet) …
Very quietly, the 12-year veteran of NASCAR national series competition is working his way toward the NASCAR Nationwide Series top 10.
Driving for owner Bob Jenkins, he’s currently 13th, his best ranking of the season and his highest since 2002, his most recent full-time season when he finished 12th in the final standings.
He’s got the No. 34 team settled in 19th place the top 30 in owner points.
He was fourth at Talladega in April, his best series finish since 2005.
Raines began his national series career in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series from 1997-98, capturing four wins before moving on to the NASCAR Nationwide Series. He ran four consecutive full-time seasons from 1999-2002 for Bill and Brian Baumgardner.
Raines cracked the 200-start barrier in NASCAR Nationwide racing earlier this year and has 134 starts in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series.
He’s also pulled double duty twice this season, most recently last week when he raced at both Kentucky and Michigan.
The 45-year old from LaPorte, Ind. has a top five and two top 10s — including a ninth-place finish last year — at Milwaukee.
In The Loop
A Little “Truck” Always Helps At The Mile
Ron Hornaday Jr. (No. 33 Jimmy John’s Chevrolet) knows a few things about bouncing from a NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race to a NASCAR Nationwide Series race at The Milwaukee Mile.
He’s pulled double duty in the same season four times (1998 and 2005-07), and has 18 total races there between the two series.
Hornaday’s had success at Milwaukee – he won the NASCAR Nationwide race in 2004 and has finished in the top 10 in all nine of his NASCAR Camping World Truck starts.
In three NASCAR Nationwide starts since the inception of Loop Data, Hornaday has a Milwaukee Driver Rating of 82.7, an Average Running Position of 18.9 and 15 Fastest Laps Run. His stats in a NASCAR Camping World Truck are even better as he has scored three top fives in the last four races. In the last four NASCAR Camping World Truck races, he has a Driver Rating of 116.7, an Average Running Position of 5.5, a Laps in the Top 15 percentage of 96.9 and 81 Fastest laps Run.
Eric Darnell hopes his transition to the series will be as smooth.
Darnell will run his first NASCAR Nationwide Series race at Milwaukee on Saturday, but also has had success in his four NASCAR Camping World Truck starts there.
Darnell finished fourth at The Mile last season, his second consecutive top-10 Milwaukee finish. In his three Milwaukee races since 2005, Darnell has a Driver Rating of 98.5, an Average Running Position of 9.3, a Laps in the Top 15 percentage of 83.7 and 28 Fastest Laps Run.
This will be Darnell’s fifth NASCAR Nationwide start. Three have come on tracks over a mile in length (Darlington, Nashville and Kentucky) and one was a short track (Richmond International Raceway).
In those starts, he has posted a solid Driver Rating of 90.7, an Average Running Position of 11.6, seven Fastest Laps Run and a Laps in the Top 15 percentage of 64.7.
2009 Manufacturers' Championship Standings
Following Race 14 of 35 Michigan International Speedway
The 1-2 finish by Joey Logano and Kyle Busch last Saturday at Kentucky helped Toyota maintain its lead in the Bill France Performance Cup standings.
Ford is the defending winner at Milwaukee but Chevrolet’s nine wins there lead all manufacturers. Chevy has won three of the last five races.
Johnny Sauter carried Dodge to victory in 2005 the first, and to date only, win for the brand at the track.
NASCAR Nationwide Series Raybestos Rookie Standings
Rk / Driver Team Points
1 Brendan Gaughan RWR 149
2 Justin Allgaier Penske 148
3 Michael McDowell JTG-D 132
4 Scott Lagasse Jr. CJM 124
5 Michael Annett Germain 107
6 Jon Wes Townley RAB 75
7 Erik Darnell RFR 48
8 Ken Butler III R3 40
9 Peyton Sellers CM 29
10 Marc Davis MDM 24
11 Terry Cook MSRP 13
Up Next: New Hampshire
The NASCAR Nationwide Series takes a break from the stand-alone portion of its 2009 schedule next week.
It will be a companion event at New Hampshire Motor Speedway on Saturday, June 27, for the Camping World RV Sales 200 presented by Turtle Wax.
Last year, in keeping with series tradition at the track, Tony Stewart became the 22nd different race winner.
Landon Cassill, the eventual NASCAR Nationwide Series Raybestos Rookie of the Year, captured his first career pole.
ABC will carry the race beginning at 2:30 p.m. ET. It’s the last of four broadcasts on the network for the year.
The Race: NorthernTool.com 250
The Place: The Milwaukee Mile
The Date: Saturday, June 20
The Time: 8:30 p.m. ET
The Distance: 250 miles / 250 laps
TV: ESPN2, 7:30 p.m. ET
Radio: Sirius NASCAR Radio / MRN
2008 Race Winner: Carl Edwards
2008 Polesitter: Brad Keselowski
Event Schedule (all times CT):
Saturday—Practice 9-10:15 a.m., Final Practice—10:45 a.m.-noon. Qualifying 4:35 p.m.
Rk Driver Points
1 Kyle Busch 2,211
2 Carl Edwards 2,074
3 Brad Keselowski 2,003
4 Jason Leffler 1,993
5 Joey Logano 1,860
6 Justin Allgaier 1,628
7 Brendan Gaughan 1,620
8 Jason Keller 1,613
9 Mike Bliss 1,599
10 Steve Wallace 1,543
DIXON WINS AT MILWAUKEE, TAKES POINTS LEAD
IndyCar Series champion Scott Dixon became the first driver to win for the second time in 2009, taking the checkered flag at The Milwaukee Mile ahead of last year’s winner Ryan Briscoe, who dominated for most of the race.
Photo By Yolanda Rotor
Dixon also took over the points lead for the first time since the end of the 2008 season.
Briscoe led 154 laps after passing Tony Kanaan on Lap 26. Briscoe got caught up in lapped traffic on the tight, flat circuit, and Dixon wasted no time, passing for the lead on Lap 201 of the 225-lap event.
"I was trying to get the flow of traffic the whole day," said Dixon, who won earlier this season on the 1.5-mile oval at Kansas Speedway. "I definitely think from the start our car was better. We could run quick times when we needed to, and we were good in traffic. We had many runs on (Ryan) Briscoe, and he kind of blocked a lot and that was kind of frustrating early on, but he definitely got caught up there with (Tomas) Scheckter trying to take him on the bottom, and I got a great run on the high side and it just lined up perfect."
Battle in the Pits
Dixon won the race in record time, covering 225 miles at America ’s Legendary Oval in one hour, 38 minutes and 43.9552 seconds.
Last Sunday’s Indianapolis 500 winner Helio Castroneves started the race shotgun on the field after a qualifying mishap and battled all day to remain on the lead lap. After falling behind at one point, Castroneves used a no-pit strategy on the the second and final caution period on lap 160 to get his lost lap back, but the long green flag run that followed forced him to pit for fuel on lap 180, which dropped the affable Brazilian to an eleventh place finish
Another bad day for Kanaan… and more fire
Tony Kanaan launched past both Briscoe and Rahal to lead the opening lap, and lead the first 25 laps before settling in line solidly in the top ten. Kanaan’s courageous drive came to an end, however, on lap 135 when he brought his machine to pit road with smoke billowing from it from an apparent engine fire.
“I really don’t know what happened,” Kanaan said after exiting his car. “The car just caught fire and it was really burning up when I came in.”
Four-time Milwaukee Mile event winner Paul Tracy made a popular return to The Milwaukee Mile driving the ABC Supply-backed A.J. Foyt Racing famous #14 entry in place of injured Vitor Meira. After he qualified 14th, Tracy instantly grabbed four positions at the start, but his much-heralded drive went sour from the beginning as handling issues with the car left him with a 17th place finish.
The fast paced race was only slowed twice by the caution flag and only once for an incident involving wall contact when rookie Mike Conway slid against the turn four SAFER barrier on lap 57. E.J. Viso brushed the fence late in turn four late in the event but he continued on and the race remained under the green flag.
Rare Yellow Flag
The Only Crash of the race involved rookie Mike Conway, who found the marbles in turn four
Photos By Joe Paolella
In 2000, Dixon also captured a 2000 Firestone Indy Lights race at The Milwaukee Mile, yet had struggled at America ’s Legendary Oval until recently in IndyCar Series races. His first laps led in series competition came just last year, when he finished second to Briscoe. The Target Chip Ganassi driver led twice for 27 laps on Sunday.
Dixon holds a four-point advantage over Briscoe and Target Chip Ganassi Racing teammate Dario Franchitti. Graham Rahal finished fourth, and Danica Patrick finished fifth, her fourth consecutive top-five finish. Rookie Raphael Matos earned a career-best sixth-place finish.
Indianapolis 500 winner Helio Castroneves finished 11th after starting 20th.
Briscoe, Dixon, Franchitti and Castroneves won the first four events of the season.
Milwaukee Mile IndyCar Practice... Crash ..Bang.. Boom
Stunt-man Stanton Barrett Crashes hard into the turun 2 Safer barrier early in morning practice.. he is ok.. the safer barrier needed some repair.
Then things settled down..
ABOUT THE MILWAUKEE MILE:
The Milwaukee Mile is the world’s oldest active motor speedway, dating back to 1903. America ’s Legendary Oval offers world-class auto racing featuring the stars of the Indianapolis 500 in the IndyCar Series, plus the talented teams competing in the NASCAR Nationwide Series and NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series. For the latest on activities at The Milwaukee Mile, visit the speedway’s website, www.milwaukeemile.com.
Copyright DPR Sports & Racing News. All rights reserved.