Qualifying was held on Friday with Dario Franchitti grabbing the Pole Position, but the real story of qualifying was the seven cars receiving ten spot grid penalties for unapproved engine changes. These drivers included Texas winner Justin Wilson, Ryan Briscoe, Points Leader Will Power, and 2nd in Points Scott Dixon.
The race began with Dario Franchitti leading the lion share of the early laps. The first caution flag was brought out by a single-car spin by Simona de Silvestro ending their day. de Silvestro’s spin occurred right in the middle of green flag stops with Helio Castroneves in the lead. Castroneves led much of the middle of the race, but fell back due to tire strategy. Enter Ryan Hunter-Reay. Hunter-Reay led the final stint of the race winning the event with Tony Kanaan coming in second place. Dario Franchitti crashed out after contact with the No. 2 Hitachi Team Penske car driven by Ryan Briscoe. Scott Dixon finished 11th after being penalized for jumping a restart!
The Dixon Penalty became a huge point of contention in the race because Beaux Barfield enforced the penalty after viewing a replay, however, the replay was not of the restart that Dixon was supposedly penalized for. Instead, it was a replay from earlier in the race on a restart that was waved off by race control. Barfield’s call likely cost Dixon second in points as James Hinchcliffe took over that position with his third place run.
The Milwaukee IndyFest was, effectively, the last chance for the oldest track in the United States of America to remain in business. Originally left off of the 2012 schedule, Milwaukee was thrown a lifeline by Andretti Autosport owner Michael Andretti. In terms of INDYCAR sanction, Milwaukee has been one of the most exciting and beloved stops on the schedule, however, track promoters were left with old bad debts and hurt feelings putting the track’s future in question. The 2011 IZOD IndyCar Series event produced the exciting racing that was expect but a sub-15,000 person crowd put the event’s future in question. Enter Michael Andretti.
Michael Andretti has used all of his pull, sponsors, and cars to promote this event. Since the season began, all of Andretti Autosport’s cars carried logos and web addresses for the Milwaukee IndyFest keeping the event at the forefront of the minds of the fans and media. The 2012 event saw a jump in fan attendance from the 15,000 from 2011 to over 20,000 marking a 25 percent increase. The event seems to have bailed itself out as before the Drivers Start Your Engines command, given by Michael Andretti, it was revealed by the promoter that the race would return on the 2013 IZOD IndyCar Series schedule which is a big win for all! Michael Andretti will, once again, don his promoter pants when he helps promote the second Baltimore Grand Prix later this year!
The IZOD IndyCar Series takes to the corn fields of Iowa on June 23rd for the Iowa Corn Indy 250 at Iowa Speedway. Qualifying for the race will be determined by heat races for the first time in IZOD IndyCar competition so make sure to tune in for that!
CONGRATULATIONS TO RYAN HUNTER-REAY AND ANDRETTI AUTOSPORT: WINNERS OF THE MILWAUKEE INDYFEST!
R.I.P. DAN WHELDON