Welcome to The Milwaukee Mile, host of the ABC Supply/AJ Foyt 225, where beer is cold, the racing is tight, and the best music broadcasters can find is the theme from "Laverne & Shirley". Yikes.
If Mr Judd can take a moment from Wet ‘N Wild week, we have some important information. The good news for Dario is that in the last three years no Indy 500 winner has finished worse than 5th at The Milwaukee Mile. The bad news is none of the three actually won the race.
Meanwhile race fans get the hangover of lower speeds, lower-definition broadcasts (no more HD until ’08), and no more Jamie Little. No Milka Duno either, which could be either a good or bad thing depending on your point of view.
At any rate, the Cheat Sheet returns definitive nods to Penske, Andretti/Green, and the driver from South Africa (where I should note they seem to like my driver nicknames.)
Hornish – Uncle Sam has never finished worse than 3rd in three runs for Roger Penske, which is quite impressive when you see later how his teammate has fared at The Milwaukee Mile.
Kanaan – The Nose Knows Milwaukee, backing up two 4th-place finishes with a win last year. And don’t think after what happened at Indy he isn’t ready to drive like a man on fire.
Franchitti – He won here in 2005, and his results in ‘07 thusfar has been: 7th, 5th, 3rd, 2nd, 1st. I said at the beginning of the year Mr Judd would have a “solid, consistent, but unspectacular season...” Two outta three ain’t bad, right?
Scheckter – He finished 3rd here the last two years, so this may be Vision Racing’s best chance to capture that elusive first win.
Patrick – Speaking of first win, she finished fourth here last year with a struggling RLR entry. Andretti Green has won two of the three races here, so get redy to dial up the media hype.
Andretti – He finished 5th in his Milwaukee debut last year, but it remains to be seen if his driving will be affected by his flying excursion at Indianapolis.
Wheldon – With TCGR’s struggles on the short tracks and three of the next four races on mile-or-less ovals, this month could put a huge dent in Wheldon’s championiship plans.
Dixon – Iceman has never finished better than 10th here, so he could likely surrender the points lead this week. He’s hoping the extra practice at Milwaukee Ganassi earned from Indy Pro participation will pay off for Dixon and Wheldon.
Meira – An accident took him out last year, but before that he has two Top 10 finsihes. A month at Indy seemed to get him back into contention, but he only has a few days to prepare for this race.
Castroneves – One word: snakebit. (I checked dictionary.com and it is indeed one word.) Despite leading over 20 laps twice at this race, Spiderman has finished between 12th and 16th on all three attempts. What the…?
Simmons – He finished 9th last year in his debut, and maybe RLR has some helpful notes from Danica!’s fourth-place run last year.
Sharp – Never better that 10th, but on the plus side he’s managed to finish every race at Milwaukee. And his car still looks really cool.
Manning – It’s the AJ Foyt 225 and Foyt Racing has definitely improved over last year, but Danger Mouse isn’t likely to be threatening to win this thing.
Carpenter – Ed has fallen on hard times since his 6th place finish at Homestead, but if he can keep it clean a Top 10 is very attainable.
Rice – He was the runner up here in 2005, but he hasn’t reached the Top 10 since. D&R as a team hasn’t fared better than 13th here so the bar is pretty low for improvement.
Foyt – Quattro’s last attempt here was in ’05, where the dreaded “Handling” bug parked him after 19 laps. With less entries this year, at least we know he won’t finish 21st again.
Fisher – She’s never been here before, so this should be an intriguing challenge. Let’s hope those new engineers have some bright ideas this week.
Matsuura – Forget that 10th place two years ago was his best finish – poor Sukiyaki hasn’t done better than 16th in all five races this year!
Money Says: "You know what? I’m calling Milwaukee for Helio."
Bold call there, my friend. Can Helio beat his own personal curse? Can Danica finally reach the podium? Can Tomas break up the three-team monopoly? We'll find out Sunday at the Mile in Milwaukee.
Enjoy the show!
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