IndyCar Series' next stop - Milwaukee

IndyCar Series' next stop - Milwaukee

IndyCar Series' next stop - Milwaukee
May 30, 2007

MILWAUKEE (AP) -If not for the Milwaukee Mile, Sam Hornish Jr. might not be here today.

Most people go to the modest track in the middle of the state fairgrounds looking for a cold beer, warm bratwurst and good racing. It might not seem a recipe for romance, but that's exactly what Hornish's parents found there.

``One of my mom and dad's first dates that they went on, they went to an Indy car race at the Milwaukee Mile,'' Hornish said.

How, uh ... romantic?

``They spent a lot of their time at racetracks over their years, so it's a pretty neat deal,'' Hornish said, with a laugh. ``They're both bigger race fans than I'll probably ever be.''

Hornish, whose mother grew up in Milwaukee and later brought him back to sit in the grandstands as a kid, is happy to see the track reclaim its traditional spot on the IndyCar Series schedule - the weekend after the Indianapolis 500.

Milwaukee followed Indy for generations before the CART/IRL split splintered the schedule. This will be the first time in 10 years - and the 50th time overall - that the cars and stars of Indy will spend the following weekend in Milwaukee.

``It's a pretty neat deal that it's back there again,'' Hornish said. ``It took, the way I look at it, its rightful spot on the schedule. It was that way for so many years that it only seems right that that's how it goes.''

Even with the date change, Hornish expects his own cheering section in Milwaukee. A group of fans from near his hometown of Defiance, Ohio makes a big bus trip to the Milwaukee race every year.

``They actually do it for a lot of the races, but Milwaukee was one of the first ones that I actually knew of that they were doing that for,'' Hornish said. ``So I always thought that was pretty cool.''

Family ties aside, Hornish also loves the track; he won there in 2005. After a month of turning lap after lap at Indy - he finished fourth in Sunday's rain-shortened race - Hornish welcomes the change of venue.

``We're at Indy for a month,'' Hornish said. ``It's going to be fun to just get done (at Indy) and get to go somewhere that's totally different - not at all like the track we were just at. It'll actually feel like we're starting over again.''

Though both tracks have relatively flat corners with little banking, Hornish said they feel vastly different from behind the wheel.

``Indy, there's really no second groove, whereas at Milwaukee a lot of times you'll be able to use a second groove to your advantage,'' Hornish said. ``The preferred line is almost kind of like the middle groove on the racetrack - you can go up a little bit higher or you can go down a little bit. And really, it gives you an opportunity to actually have some good passing.''

Having won the Indy 500 and his third IndyCar Series championship last season, Hornish is looking for new challenges and still sees a potential future in NASCAR.

He's dipping his toes in the Busch Series this year, with mixed results.

``It's going OK,'' Hornish said. ``It could always be a little bit better, but I'm having a lot of fun just being able to learn something new and trying to see if we can do something else and be successful at it.''

Hornish, who plans to run 11-14 Busch races this year, said he's at a disadvantage, because his IndyCar Series commitments prevent him from being able to test the Busch car.

``Every time you go race, basically, you're learning the car again,'' Hornish said. ``And that's your practice time, whenever you get to race. So if you get run into on the 10th lap and taken out of the race, you don't really get a whole lot.''

Still, Hornish hasn't ruled out an eventual full-time switch to NASCAR.

``'What are you going to do next?,' is often the big question,'' Hornish said. ``I don't know yet. Of course, I feel we'd have to get a little bit better before we start thinking about doing that. But I don't know. We'll see what kind of plays out and happens.''

But if Juan Pablo Montoya can make the transition from open-wheel racing to NASCAR, so can Hornish, right?

``That's the way I look at it,'' Hornish said.

He said he's still trying to convince car owner Roger Penske to let him run the Brickyard 400 Nextel Cup series race at Indianapolis in August.

``I don't lobby for having too much extra stuff to do,'' Hornish said. ``But definitely, if they ask me to do it, I'll do it.''

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Re: IndyCar Series' next stop - Milwaukee

To Win A.J Foyt 225

Dan Wheldon +300
Sam Hornish Jr  +350 
Helio Castroneves +350
Tony Kanaan +450
Scott Dixon  +650
Dario Franchitti +1000
Marco Andretti +1600
Vitor Meira +2000
Danica Patrick +3300
Tomas Scheckter +3300
Buddy Rice +4000
Scott Sharp +4000
Kosuke Matsuura +5000
Marty Roth +8000
Ed Carpentier +10000
Jeff Simmons +10000
A.J Foyt IV +15000
Darren Manning +20000
Sarah Fisher +20000
Milka Duno +25000

@Sportsinteraction

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Weary Franchitti almost ready to race again
June 1, 2007

WEST ALLIS, Wis. (AP) -After nearly catching up on lost sleep, Dario Franchitti feels ``almost ready'' to get back into his race car.

Franchitti has been on a whirlwind tour this week in the wake of his Indianapolis 500 victory.

His busy schedule has included TV appearances and lots of interviews in New York City, media appearances in Chicago and Dallas/Fort Worth and throwing out the first ball at a Houston Astros game - ``It was pretty bad. I never threw a baseball before.''

All that came on top of race day, when Franchitti awoke at 5 a.m., worked his way through a strange race that included a three-hour rain delay in the middle, and never got back in bed, thanks to post-race interviews and celebrations, until 7 a.m. the next day.

``I got a whole hour of sleep,'' Franchitti said Friday while doing yet more interviews at the Milwaukee Mile, where he will race Sunday in the ABC Supply/A.J. Foyt 225. ``Then I had to get back to the track for the (winner's) pictures.

``It's really been a crazy week and I haven't really had time to sit down and just think about what it means to me to win the Indy 500,'' he added. ``It might be months before I really get to fully digest it.''

Now, if he can just catch a few more winks of sleep, the Scot says he will be able to put his full concentration into trying to become the ninth Indy winner to also win the following week at the suburban Milwaukee track. The last to do it was Al Unser Jr. in 1994.

This is the first time the IndyCars have been back on their traditional week-after-Indy date since 1996. That date was filled in the ensuing years by the rival Champ Car - formerly CART - series, with IndyCars running here since 2004 in July, a race won by Franchitti.

``This is the first time I've tried (for the back-to-back wins), but they are such different tracks, such different things required,'' Franchitti said. ``And with the competition level in this series, at any time, really, it's difficult to win back-to-back. To win the double (Indy and Milwaukee) would be a real accomplishment.''

Talking about one of his Andretti Green Racing teammates, Franchitti added, ``If Tony Kanaan does the job he did here last year, we're all fighting for second place anyway.''

The wide, relatively flat Milwaukee oval has been good to Franchitti, who first drove here in CART in 1997. Since his IndyCar win here, Franchitti has finished second and sixth.

``When I first came over here, (ovals) were a whole new discipline in racing,'' he said. ``There's times when I did very well, but other times when I struggled. I've just gotten more used to driving on them and feel a lot more comfortable.

``Don't get me wrong, I grew up on road courses and I still enjoy that. But I've come to enjoy ovals, too.''

On Friday, Franchitti got to spend some time with his crew for the first time since the picture-taking last Monday.

``It was good being back at the track, talking to the guys and working on the setups on the car,'' he said. ``It's good to get back to the routine and begin to focus on racing.''

Now that he has won the biggest open-wheel race in American, the next big step for Franchitti is going after his first IndyCar championship.

``We just need to keep trying to win races and let the points take care of themselves,'' said Franchitti, who trails series leader Scott Dixon by three points and runner-up Dan Wheldon by two after the first five races of the season.

``And, I hope we're not being greedy here, but we're going for the double this weekend.''

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Dixon Focused on Victories

The calendar has officially flipped from May to June, and with it, so has the focus of the IndyCar Series as teams and drivers prepare for this weekend’s ABC Supply Co./A.J. Foyt 225 at The Milwaukee Mile.

No longer is the garage abuzz with conversations about sipping milk and yards of brick, but rather of championship aspirations and the points’ battle that will lead to one team celebrating come the end of the 2007 campaign.

And while Target Chip Ganassi Racing’s Scott Dixon is currently leading the way in the standings by one point ahead of teammate Dan Wheldon, don’t expect him to start "points racing" any time soon.

Dixon, driver of the No. 9 Dallara-Honda, retook the top position in the championship standings with his runner-up performance to Dario Franchitti in last weekend’s Indianapolis 500. Though he is happy to be leading the way for the second time this season, Dixon is visibly frustrated by something missing from his resume.

"At this stage in the season, you want to go out for race wins," said Dixon, a native of New Zealand. "We've had three seconds so far this season (Homestead, St. Petersburg and Indianapolis). That's not nearly good enough for me. I think some of them we could have turned into wins. We definitely need to do that. We'll be as aggressive as we need to be.

"I guess I am somewhat frustrated at a couple of the places where I think we messed up a little bit. But if those are bad days, then we are still ending up with points like that, I think it's something to look forward to."

With several one-and-a-half mile tracks and road courses on the schedule in the coming weeks, Dixon and company are chomping at the bit at the thoughts of how successful they can be. However, being aggressive may not be enough come this Sunday for Dixon and crew. In three IndyCar Series starts at The Milwaukee Mile, the Chip Ganassi Racing driver has an average finish of 15th, with his sole top-10 result coming last season.

"It's not a strong part of our team at the moment," Dixon said about short ovals like this weekend’s 1-mile host. "Hopefully we can turn that around definitely this year and pick up some variable points that we left on the table last year.

"Milwaukee and Richmond, the short tracks coming up, are going to be a bit of a test for us to see how we fare on those. Luckily there's not too many of them considering how we did last year."

www.racingone.com

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IRL-Milwaukee-A.J. Foyt 225 Lineup
June 2, 2007

1. (3) Helio Castroneves, Dallara-Honda, 171.071 mph.

2. (9) Scott Dixon, Dallara-Honda, 169.266.

3. (11) Tony Kanaan, Dallara-Honda, 169.158.

4. (10) Dan Wheldon, Dallara-Honda, 169.097.

5. (6) Sam Hornish Jr., Dallara-Honda, 168.258.

6. (55) Kosuke Matsuura, Dallara-Honda, 167.462.

7. (15) Buddy Rice, Dallara-Honda, 167.456.

8. (20) Ed Carpenter, Dallara-Honda, 167.066.

9. (4) Vitor Meira, Dallara-Honda, 166.981.

10. (27) Dario Franchitti, Dallara-Honda, 166.890.

11. (8) Scott Sharp, Dallara-Honda, 166.735.

12. (22) A.J. Foyt IV, Dallara-Honda, 166.325.

13. (2) Tomas Scheckter, Dallara-Honda, 166.288.

14. (26) Marco Andretti, Dallara-Honda, 166.009.

15. (14) Darren Manning, Dallara-Honda, 164.774.

16. (5) Sarah Fisher, Dallara-Honda, 163.937.

17. (7) Danica Patrick, Dallara-Honda, 163.566.

18. (17) Jeff Simmons, Dallara-Honda, no speed.

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Castroneves wins another pole
June 2, 2007

WEST ALLIS, Wis. (AP) -If the races were as easy as qualifying has been this season for Helio Castroneves, he'd be running away in the IndyCar Series points.

The Brazilian, coming off a third-place finish last Sunday in the Indianapolis 500, won his fourth pole in six tries this season and the 20th of his career Saturday in time trials for the ABC Supply/A.J. Foyt 225 at the Milwaukee Mile.

``I love going fast, man,'' the grinning Castroneves said when asked about his qualifying prowess.

He turned a fast lap of 171.071 mph, considerably faster than runner-up Scott Dixon's 169.266.

``That's two-tenths (of a second) faster in qualifying, but it won't be such a big gap in the race,'' Castroneves said, shrugging. ``It's going to be a real competitive race.''

Dixon goes into Sunday's race holding a one-point lead over Target Chip Ganassi teammate Dan Wheldon, a three-point edge on Indy winner Dario Franchitti and 13 on Castroneves.

``Once everybody gets out there on the track, the speeds are going to slow down quite a bit and it's going to be very tight racing,'' Dixon said. ``I think everybody got a lot of work in (Saturday) and there are going to be a lot of good cars.''

Tony Kanaan, the defending race winner, will start third, alongside Wheldon in the second row, followed by reigning IndyCar Series champion Sam Hornish Jr., Kosuke Matsuura, Buddy Rice and Ed Carpenter.

Franchitti, struggling through most of Saturday after what he called ``a crazy week'' of media appearances following the biggest win of his career, qualified 10th. Marco Andretti, his Andretti Green Racing teammate, will start 14th after having a gearbox problem when he first tried to qualify. He later was allowed one more green-flag lap.

Danica Patrick, one of only two women in this week's race, was 10th fastest in practice but wound up 17th in qualifying. She'll start alongside Jeff Simmons, who crashed in practice and was not able to qualify. The Rahal Letterman Racing team planned to repair the car and Simmons will start last in the 18-car field.


LAPPING THE FIELD: Sarah Fisher, back full-time in the IndyCar Series for the first time since 2003, topped everyone in Saturday's practice sessions with 167 laps on the mile oval.

The first practice was split into two groups, but Fisher was allowed to run in both of them because she is the only driver in the field who had never raced on the Milwaukee oval.

Despite all those laps, Fisher wound up last in practice and qualified 16th.


HELLO, HELLO: Dan Wheldon and team owner Chip Ganassi have had a great relationship since Ganassi signed the Englishman away from Andretti Green Racing before the 2006 season.

But Ganassi, who also fields sports cars and stock cars, has been somewhat preoccupied lately by his latest foreign acquisition, Juan Pablo Montoya.

Montoya, who won the 1999 CART championship and the 2000 Indianapolis 500 for Ganassi before heading off to Formula One, is now trying to make his mark for Target Chip Ganassi Racing as a rookie in NASCAR's Nextel Cup Series.

``Chip used to call me two or three times a week, and I'm down to one now,'' Wheldon said, grinning. ``Obviously, the other one's going to Juan. Like I told (Ganassi), just remember who's winning you the races.''

Wheldon has won two of five races this season heading into the Milwaukee race.


SPARKPLUGS: The Milwaukee Mile is the world's oldest active speedway, dating to 1903. In the last five years, the track at the Wisconsin State Fairgrounds has undergone $23 million in improvements, including an all-new aluminum grandstand, new infield road course, the construction of infield buildings, paddock areas, a new pit wall, installation of the SAFER Barrier System and numerous safety-driven initiatives. ... Sam Hornish Jr. has finished third, first and second in his last three starts here. ... Rookie Milka Duno, who drew plenty of attention last week when she drove in her first Indy 500, skipped Milwaukee and plans to make her third IndyCar start next week at Texas Motor Speedway.

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Kanaan wins by wing and a prayer
June 3rd, 2007

West Allis, WI (Sports Network) - When Helio Castroneves' rear wing collapsed on lap 201, Tony Kanaan inherited the lead and went on to win Sunday's ABC Supply/A.J. Foyt Indy 225 at the historic Milwaukee Mile. The No.11 Andretti Green Racing driver crossed the finish line 2.5707 seconds ahead of Dario Franchitti.

The victory was Kanaan's second of the season and ninth of his IndyCar career.

After winning his fourth pole of the season Castroneves led the 18-car field to the green flag for 225 laps of short-track racing.

The No.3 Honda was able to pull away from the field early as Kanaan, Scott Dixon and Dan Wheldon battled for the second spot.

On lap 14 Castroneves was already starting to lap some of his competitors as he passed Sarah Fisher.

The first caution flag of the race came out on lap 22 for debris on the middle of the frontstretch. Under the caution period Castroneves led the leaders down pit road for their first stops.

Buddy Rice inherited the first position by staying out on the track. Castroneves won the race off pit road followed by Kanaan.

After the restart the No.15 Honda held onto the lead despite being on older tires. A few laps later Kanaan passed Castroneves to take over the second spot. But eventually Castroneves would take the second spot back.

As Castroneves and Kanaan battled for second Rice increased his margin to one second. But Castroneves quickly started to cut into that lead and on lap 62 Castroneves took the inside lane to pass Rice. Rice continued to fall back through the field as he got ready to make his first pit stop.

The No.3 Honda once again started to put some distance between himself and the field. Kanaan drove in second followed by Hornish Jr., Wheldon and Franchitti.

The next caution flag came out on lap 89 for a Danica Patrick spin out. This caution period allowed for the leaders to make another round of pit stops.

A great stop by Wheldon's pit crew put him in first when the stops were completed. Castroneves fell to the second followed by Hornish Jr., Dixon and Franchitti. Kanaan didn't get enough fuel during his stop and had to come back down pit road for a second time.

Wheldon led the field to the restart on lap 97. During the next lap Castroneves went underneath him coming out of turn three to take back the lead.

At the halfway mark of the race Castroneves held a 1.5 second lead over Wheldon. His margin over Penske teammate Hornish Jr., the third place driver, was at 4.7 seconds.

The No.3 Honda continued to show the way. Castroneves and Wheldon quickly pulled away from the field. Dixon and Franchitti battled for the third spot but trailed the leader by almost 10 seconds.

The huge margin was erased when a caution flag for debris in turn three came out on lap 135. During the caution period the leaders went down pit road for service.

Another great job by Wheldon's pit crew helped him beat Castroneves off pit road for first position. Franchitti, Dixon and Hornish Jr. rounded out the top-five after the stops.

The No.10 held off Castroneves on the restart and started to increase his margin. By lap 150 the lead reached 1.3 seconds. Franchitti, who was running in third, trailed Wheldon by more than four seconds.

On lap 158 Rice got into the marbles and slammed into the wall to bring out another caution flag. This crash ended Rice's day after he had lead 37 laps of the race.

During the caution period the leaders made their last pit stops of the race. Another excellent stop by Wheldon helped him maintain the lead. Castroneves came out of the pits in second. A great stop by Vitor Meira put him in the third spot.

On the lap 169 restart Castroneves flew to the inside coming into turn one and in the process went underneath Wheldon to take the lead. Wheldon and Meira both started to fall back through the field.

The race became a three-car battle as Castroneves led Hornish Jr. and Kanaan.

With 35 laps remaining the margin for the No.3 Honda reached two seconds. His lead increased as Hornish Jr. and Kanaan battled each other for second. Kanaan would eventually win the fight.

Only 24 laps were left in the race when disaster struck the race leader. In turn four the right-rear wing bracket collapsed on Castroneves' car sending him into the inside wall and ending his day. Castroneves led a race-high 126 of 225 laps.

Kanaan was now the leader after the crash by Castroneves. He led Hornish Jr., Wheldon and Franchitti to the restart with 17 laps remaining. Only a few laps were run before Marco Andretti brought out a record sixth caution flag.

With 10 laps to go Kanaan led the field to the restart. The No.11 Andretti Green Racing driver held onto his lead as the battle heated up behind him. Franchitti passed Wheldon for the third spot but was looking to gain more.

The race had just seven laps left when another team Penske driver had wing problems. Hornish Jr., who was in second, had a left-rear wing bracket collapse. Franchitti would pass him for second as Hornish Jr. eventually took his car down pit lane.

As the laps wound down it became clear that nobody was going to catch Kanaan, barring any last minute mistakes by Kanaan. Kanaan kept it mistake free and crossed the finish line.

Wheldon, Dixon and Meira completed the top-five.

Franchitti's second place finish moves him to the top of the standings with 221 points, three more than Wheldon. Dixon is third overall, just five points behind Franchitti. With the win, Kanaan jumped up to fourth place 20 points back.

The next IndyCar Series race is set for Saturday night, June 9th at the Texas Motor Speedway.

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Patrick confronts Wheldon after on-track incident
June 3, 2007

WEST ALLIS, Wis. (AP) -Danica Patrick may be small, but she's not about to back down on the track or off.

Patrick, one of two women in Sunday's ABC Supply/A.J. Foyt 225 at the Milwaukee Mile, had an on-track collision with the car driven by Dan Wheldon and then made a beeline for the Englishman in the pits after coming back to finish eighth.

The incident took place on the 88th of 225 laps, with Patrick, who started 17th in the 18-car field, diving low on the track in an attempt to pass both Wheldon and last week's Indy 500 winner Dario Franchitti for fourth place.

She got past Franchitti with no problem and appeared close to passing Wheldon when the two cars came together, sending Patrick's car spinning into the infield grass. She made a great save, straightening out her car and getting back on track as the yellow flag came out.

The collision bent Patrick's suspension and forced a long pit stop for repairs, costing her a lap that she eventually made up with pit strategy and a timely late caution.

Wheldon's car was not damaged and he went on to finish third, behind winner Tony Kanaan and Franchitti.

The postrace conversation between Patrick and Wheldon was a pretty one-sided, with Patrick doing most of the talking and eventually giving her rival a light push as she walked away.

``I just came up to him, looked up at him, put my arm around him, started walking and said, `What happened. What was that for? Did you not see me? Why didn't you back off?' And he didn't say anything,'' Patrick explained.

``I said, `I was clearly inside you' because I heard him saying in an interview that I wasn't all the way up alongside of him. I'm not sure what is lost in translation there, but I was completely alongside of him. I've made many more passes happen with being less far up in someone.

``Then he said, `You can't get caught up in the marbles' and I said, `Well, that's a pass Dan.' I told him, `If you don't think I'm going to remember this, I don't know why you're being like this, but if you don't think I'm going to remember, you're crazy,''' she added.

Wheldon didn't see the on-track incident the same way as Patrick.

``She obviously thought she was past me,'' he said. ``She wasn't.''

As for the postrace confrontation, he said, ``I guess maybe she's just feeling the pressure of trying to get her first win. These things happen in racing.''


WING WOES: Both Team Penske entries in Sunday's race had damaging late-race problems with their rear wing.

Helio Castroneves had an almost certain victory snatched away when his rear wing collapsed and he crashed with 25 laps to go, while teammate Sam Hornish Jr. was in second place when his rear wing came loose, forcing him to pit with six laps to go and costing him a second-place finish.

``I had the race won,'' said Castroneves, who led four times for a race-high 126 laps. ``It's a shame that something so odd happened there at the end. The car just started spinning when my rear wing broke. It's unfortunate because our car was fantastic all day. It was getting better and better throughout the race.

``I just have to laugh it off. It's amazing that I have such bad luck at this place. Now we just have to forget abut this and move on to Texas (for a race next Saturday night).''

Hornish, the reigning series champion, was just as disappointed.

``Today was a tough day for all of Team Penske,'' he said. ``This is the same problem that Helio had. It's pretty strange that this happened to either one of us, let alone both of us. It's the kind of thing that almost never happens.

``It's pretty frustrating since we both had a chance to win the race.''

Hornish wound up a lap down in ninth, while Castroneves wound up 16th.


SPARKPLUGS: Team owner A.J. Foyt was the grand marshall Sunday and put a slightly different twist on the traditional prerace words, saying, ``Girls and boys, start your engines.'' ... Despite an 80 percent chance of rain, 31,838 people turned out for the race. The rain never fell until an hour after the finish. ... Franchitti took the series lead and goes to Texas with a three-point edge on Wheldon and five on Scott Dixon, who went into the race as the leader.

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Rear View Mirror: Milwaukee

With the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series event in Dover, Delaware, rained out, the IndyCar Series had the spotlight all to itself on Sunday afternoon.

And for the most part, they shined.

While the action on track during the ABC Supply Co./A.J. Foyt 225 at The Milwaukee Mile was dull at times, the race did offer several on-track battles and plenty of storylines developed throughout the event: Dario Franchitti’s continuing renaissance, Tony Kanaan’s ‘lucky’ victory, Helio Castroneves’ collapse, a possible "Goliath" slaying by Buddy Rice...

...And yet all the talk this morning centers on the third and eighth place finishers – Dan Wheldon and Danica Patrick.

Patrick, who started from a disappointing 17th (in a field of 18), was slicing through the order and found herself as high as fourth position in the early stages of the 225 lap event, identifying herself as a serious contender for victory. However, on lap 89, she attempted to pass Wheldon on the inside and the two made brief contact, resulting in Patrick losing control briefly before making a spectacular save.

Although she struggled with an ill-handling race car for the rest of the day, the driver of the No. 7 Motorola Dallara-Honda made her way back onto the lead lap and finished an impressive eighth. It was what happened afterwards though that leads to Patrick and Wheldon being the focus of the IndyCar Series world this morning, as Patrick went straight to confront Wheldon about the incident shortly after the checkered flag waved (And before you ask, no, it wasn’t a fistfight or anything – just a brief ‘chat’).

"(Wheldon) turned down into me and spun me sideways and luckily I caught it, kept going, managed to go from, I don't know what position that was for, but, you know, last row to fourth, then back down to last again, up to eighth. So it was a tough day," said Patrick about the on-track collision. "But that incident from my perspective was that, is that Dan got passed and he didn't want to let off.

"I just came up to him, I looked at him, put my arm around him, started walking, and I said, 'What happened? What was that for? Did you not see me? Why didn't you back off?' And he didn't say anything.

"I just grabbed his arm and that's it. I grabbed his arm and kind of pushed off. But, you know, it was nothing violent, nothing violent."

Obviously Wheldon had a different way of thinking about the incident, and Patrick’s thought process.

"I think she had a run on Dario, and I think she thought she was alongside me. Unfortunately for her, she wasn't," Wheldon said. "As she got out of it, I don't know what happened. She spun or dropped to the back. She's a little disgruntled, but as (race chief steward) Brian Barnhart says, what goes around comes around. She nearly put me in the wall at Indianapolis, and I certainly have no problems with anyone else on the track.

"She's probably feeling the pressure of not winning races when her teammates are. She's just feisty. I think in a situation like that, sometimes you get desperate. It's never nice to come into contact with somebody. She's messing with the wrong person if she wants to get feisty."

Considering that these two have somewhat of a history together (Remember the ‘Danica Who?’ t-shirt that Wheldon sported in the days after winning the 2005 Indianapolis 500?), this could get very interesting.

Stay tuned.

What Do You Think?
Who was at fault on Sunday – Danica or Wheldon? What did you think about the rest of this weekend’s ABC Supply Co./A.J. Foyt 225 at The Milwaukee Mile? Send your opinions to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it and make sure to check back with RacingOne to see what other’s think in this week’s edition of the "Fan’s Eye View" this Wednesday.

What a Difference a Year Makes
Last season, there were rumors circulating that Dario Franchitti could easily be replaced by Andretti Green Racing after a disappointing season which saw him garner three top-fives and seven top-10s in 13 starts (he missed the final event of the season due to an injury suffered at the Goodwood Revival Festival in England).

This season, Franchitti could easily win the championship.

Still buoyed by his victory in the Indianapolis 500, Franchitti inconspicuously drove to a runner-up finish in Sunday’s ABC Supply Co./A.J. Foyt 225, his fifth consecutive top-five finish in six races this season.

"We had too much understeer to start in the Canadian Club car. We expected a slower pace for the race with more stop and start. It was hard to get positions on the restart with the heavy traffic, but when we got caught back up, my car was very good," said Franchitti. "It was very quick on its own and we worked very hard at each stop to make it better. By the end, the car was quite good. To finish second to Tony (Kanaan) is great. He drove a fantastic race to come back from where he did and I am really proud of the team to get a 1-2 today."

Although Franchitti failed to make history on Sunday by becoming the ninth driver in history to win the Indianapolis 500 and the event at The Milwaukee Mile on consecutive weekends, he leaves the 1-mile circuit knowing that he is in position to become the third driver in consecutive seasons to win the Indy 500 and the IndyCar Series championship in the same season after taking the lead in the standings for the first time in his IndyCar career.


Kanaan Repeats, Castroneves Stumbles
Tony Kanaan was able to capitalize on a strange set of circumstances which knocked out then-race leader Helio Castroneves with less than 25 laps remaining to win his second consecutive ABC Supply Co./A.J. Foyt 225 at The Milwaukee Mile.

Late in the running of the event, polesitter Castroneves appeared to be cruising to victory after leading 126 of the first 201 laps. However, coming out of Turn 4 on Lap 201, Castroneves’ car suffered a malfunction as his rear wing got loose which resulted in the Brazilian losing control and crashing hard on the frontstretch.

Instead of a sure victory, Castroneves dropped to 16th in the finishing order. Combined with his three previous IndyCar Series starts at The Milwaukee Mile, the Team Penske driver has an average finish of 14.5 with zero top-10s to his record at the 1-mile oval.

With the strongest car in the field out of the way, Kanaan took over the lead and went on to distance himself from the chasing pack during a 10-lap scramble at the end of the event on his way to celebrating his second victory of the season and his ninth in the IndyCar Series. Kanaan Repeats in Milwaukee | Complete Results | Photos

First to Worst: Disappointment for Rice
Buddy Rice has to be asking himself one simple question this morning: “what could have been?”

Starting from the seventh position on the grid in Sunday’s ABC Supply Co./A.J. Foyt 225, Rice and his Dreyer & Reinbold Racing team found themselves in the lead after staying out while the rest of the field pitted during the first yellow flag period. Contrary to conventional wisdom, however, even the fastest drivers with fresh rubber could not get past the driver of the No. 15 Roll Coater Dallara-Honda for 36 laps, giving people in the stands and the garage thoughts of a "David vs. Goliath" type storyline on the day.

Unfortunately, Rice had to pit for fuel under green flag conditions, putting to an end those thoughts. It was also the beginning of the end for the 2004 Indianapolis 500 winner on that particular day.

Although Rice fell to 17th, two laps behind, he was slowly working his way back up to a respectable finish until Lap 158, when he pushed up and made hard contact with the wall in Turn 2, causing extensive damage to the right side of his car which forced an early retirement.

"Basically we were out of sequence and the tires were getting old and it’s hard to keep up with those guys," Rice said. "I know they swept the upper lane but I pushed up there, got marbles on the tires and it was over with."

However disappointing his last place result was, Rice can take solace in a couple of things. First, the 35 laps he led were the first since the Watkins Glen race in 2006. Also, by staying ahead of the field for a number of laps, it showed that his Dreyer & Reinbold machine can indeed compete for solid top-10, and possibly top-five, finishes the rest of the season.

Not too bad for one of the "minnows" in the IndyCar Series.

Etcetera...
# Aside from all the scuttle bug with Danica Patrick, Dan Wheldon earned the honor of setting the fastest lap in the race - 164.582 mph on lap 151.

# Kanaan’s victory is the third win for Andretti Green this season and its 26th win in the IndyCar Series, most of any IndyCar Series entrant. Three of AGR’s wins have come at Milwaukee (Dario Franchitti in 2004, Kanaan 2006 and 2007).

# Kanaan and Franchitti’s combined result was the 21st 1-2 finish by teammates in the IndyCar Series, nine of which were accomplished by AGR.

# In her first visit to The Milwaukee Mile, Sarah Fisher struggled with a clutch issue throughout the event but was able to finish the event in 14th position

# The 225-mile event featured eight total lead changes amongst four drivers (Castroneves, Rice, Wheldon and Kanaan). It also featured a record-breaking six caution periods for 51 laps.

# Super Aguri Panther Racing driver Kosuke Matsuura battled back Sunday to finish 12th, his best career finish with Panther Racing

What’s Next?
The IndyCar Series returns to action in just five days time, with the running of the Bombardier Learjet 550k at Texas Motor Speedway slated for next Saturday evening. The Texas event is the seventh of 17 races this season, and sixth of 12 ovals on the schedule.

Last season, Sam Hornish Jr. won pole while Team Penske teammate Helio Castroneves won the event.

The action gets underway Thursday evening with two practice sessions while Friday will feature a final practice and qualifying. Saturday’s 228-lap event is scheduled to take the green flag shortly after 9:30 p.m. (ET).

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