Welcome to Milwaukee, where beer and brats abound. And probably acute heart conditions as well, due not just to the diet but to the constant threat of danger as drivers race over 160 mph around this famed one-mile track. It is in fact the "oldest continually operated" track in the country, hosting races since 1903.
Friends, that's why they call it THE Milwaukee Mile.
There's no rest for the weary, as most teams have headed North from Indianapolis and put their glory or anguish or in some cases both aside for an event that features more lifting and braking - commonly referred to as "driving" - than just about any other oval all year.
Favorite: Tony Kanaan, owner of two straight wins at this event and four straight Top 5s. It probably has something to do with channelling the rage immediately following yet another Indy 500 disappointment.
Contender: Dan Wheldon. The Target Twins have been comparatively mortal on short tracks like Milwaukee, but Wheldon has led 95 laps here in the last three races, finishing in the Top 5 twice. Of course, as this is being written he's P18 on the early practice charts.
Longshot: Justin Wilson. In his Champ Car days at this track, Wilson finished 4th in 2005 and 2nd in 2006. Different cars but the same track. Incidentally only Wilson, Will Power, Oriol Servia, Mario Dominguez and Bruno Junquiera remain at this level from the 2006 CCWS event at Milwaukee. Whither Charles Zwolsman?
Driver to Watch: Ryan Briscoe. At the Carb Night Burger Bash Curt Cavin said he thinks Ryan Briscoe is probably allowed two crashes for the rest of the year. I don't know if the pit lane mishap at Indy counts but the facts are the Briscoe Inferno is driving for Team Penske and he's 19th(!) in the standings. Un-dah-Presh-ah.
Danica Threat Level: DanCon Two. Danica! looked strong here last year but ultimately she hasn't exactly had a lot success here, having encountered her share of wheel-banging. Remember, if someone takes you out of the race this week, please exit the track and remove your helmet before exchanging pleasantries.
Stat of the Race: In four ICS races at Milwaukee Helio Castroneves has led three of them for a total 183 laps, and he's never finished higher than 12th. He's got the reverse karma here from Indy that Kanaan has.
Drinking Term: "Mutoh". Yes, Mutoh. Godzilla spun in the second turn of the first lap in the Indy
Pro Lights race here last year, but so far this weekend he's looked solid and very fast in practice. If he redeems himself by keeping it clean he might well sneak onto the podium. (I mean "sneak" legitimately, not just to go congratulate Kanaan.)
Pressdog says: "Ready? Danica. Dude, I know. That one's from the gut. She'll need to focus the rage from Indy and last year's Mile. Look for her to get the special sauce from AGR at Milwaukee."
I think he's talking about oil there. Motor oil. At any rate, enjoy the show!
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