Franchitti Gets Win, Championship Tie On Father's Day At Milwaukee
Dario Franchitti inherited the race lead on Lap 200 when Helio Castroneves had to guide the No. 3 Guidepoint Systems Team Penske car into the pits for a quick change of a tire losing pressure and went on to 1.4271-second victory in the Milwaukee 225 at the Milwaukee Mile.
"That was a hell of a run today," said Franchitti, who tied Rick Mears with 29 victories (ninth on the all-time list). "The first part of the race I thought I had a bit of an advantage on everybody. Very tough, as usual here. Tough on your own just balancing the car, but then you get in traffic and it gets really difficult. It's the same for everyone.
"Then Tony (Kanaan) came marching along and he looked really, really strong, and he gave me a hard time as usual. Great day. To win here at Milwaukee is always special. It's such hard work and a such a hard race. It's a delight for the Target Team and we got the Downy colors in Victory Lane."
Graham Rahal finished second and Oriol Servia recorded a season-high third place. Will Power advanced from the 17th starting position (a season low) to finish fourth and Danica Patrick posted her first top five of the season.
Franchitti, by virtue of three bonus points for earning the PEAK Performance Pole Award and leading the most laps, tied Power for the IZOD IndyCar Series championship points lead heading into the race under the lights at Iowa Speedway on June 25.
"A couple double file restarts were good for me, a couple were bad," Power said. "I'm pretty happy to get the Verizon car up there. I guess we are equal on points now. Good job by Dario. He came back after Texas to teach us a lesson, so I guess we will have to be quick at Iowa.
"We just have to keep fighting away, keep having good days like this and make no mistakes and we'll be good."
Also of June 19, Esteban Guerrieri led every lap to win the David Hobbs 100 Firestone Indy Lights race. Guerrieri led teammate Josef Newgarden across the start-finish line by 5.5012 seconds in becoming the fourth different winner in five races. He also closed the championship points gap on the front-running Newgarden to 14 entering the Sukup 100 at the Iowa Speedway on June 25.
Jorge Goncalvez advanced from the seventh starting position to finish third in the No. 4 Belardi Auto Racing Special -- his first podium and the team's first.
Bryan Clauson overtook the No. 2 TMR-Tuvacol-Xtreme Coil Drilling car of Gustavo Yacaman on Lap 87 to finish fourth. Clauson, competing in his second Firestone Indy Lights race, qualified third in the No. 77 Mazda Road to Indy/CURB Records/Sam Schmidt Motorsports car on a busy day at the track for the Noblesville, Ind., resident
DAY 2 NOTEBOOK:
Simona de Silvestro, whose car made rear end contact with the SAFER Barrier in Turn 4 during the second warm-up lap of her qualifying run at the Milwaukee Mile, was cleared to drive this morning by INDYCAR medical director Dr. Michael Olinger.
She will start 26th in the Milwaukee 225 in the No. 78 Nuclear Clean Air Energy car. The HVM Racing crew worked overnight to repair the car.
De Silvestro was taken to the infield care center and was transfered by ground to Froedert Medical Center for further observation. She was released about 10:15 p.m. (local time).
It was the second on-track incident in a month for de Silvestro, who suffered first- and second-degree burns to her hands in a practice day crash at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
To win here at Milwaukee is always special.
Charles Woodson, grand marshal of the Milwaukee 225 and a Pro Bowl defensive back for the Super Bowl champion Green Bay Packers, received a replica Packers helmet (race car version) that was signed by all the drivers in the race.
Woodson gave the command to start engines from "The Fastest Seat in Sports" -- the two-seater that paces the field to the green flag. It was driven by two-time Indianapolis 500 winner Al Unser Jr.
"I took it easy on him," Unser laughed as Woodson climbing from the car.
"Really? It was great. What an exhilarating feeling to go that fast and be in a car that small holding onto the roll cage," Woodson said. "What a great day."
MILWAUKEE 225 POST- RACE QUOTES:
DARIO FRANCHITTI (No. 10 Target Chip Ganassi Racing, Milwaukee 225 winner): "That was a hell of a run today. The first part of the race I thought I had a bit of an advantage on everybody. Very tough, as usual here. Tough on your own just balancing the car, but then you get in traffic and it gets really difficult. It's the same for everyone. Then Tony (Kanaan) came marching along and he looked really, really strong, and he gave me a hard time as usual. Racing with Tony is a pleasure. An absolute pleasure. Just inches apart, giving each other room and respect, and then Helio joins the party and does his usual blocking crap. I don't know what it's going to take to understand blocking is not a part of what we do in the IndyCar Series. Great day. To win here at Milwaukee is always special. It's such hard work and a such a hard race. It's a delight for the Target Team and we got the Downy colors in Victory Lane."
GRAHAM RAHAL (No. 38 Service Central, finished second): "A great job for the Service Central team today. To come from 12th and move up like that. We passed a lot of cars. I thought passing was going to be tough today and it was, but we were able to do it. I'm really proud of my guys. They gave me a great car, and yet again, qualifying is our weak link, but time and time again we're proving we can compete and this is one of the toughest ovals we go to, so to have that finish is great. We're knocking on the door (of Victory Lane). It's our second second-place finish of the year and third podium. We're getting closer. It's going to come one of these days."
ORIOL SERVIA (No. 2 Telemundo/Newman Haas Racing, finished third): "It's awesome. We've been close to the podium so many times and things just don't come easy. We just have to work at it just like we did today. I was in a podium position and then we had a bad stop and went back to 12th and had to go through the field again. The car was just amazing. The restarts were a lot of fun and I'm just so happy to give a podium to the team. My first podium was here with them in '05. And we started on the fifth row then. It all came back around."
WILL POWER (No. 12 Verizon Team Penske, finished fourth): "I guess we're equal on points so you just have to keep fighting away, keep having good days like this and make no mistakes and we'll be good. I was just fighting like a dog to get those positions."
DANICA PATRICK (No. 7Team GoDaddy finished fifth): "Unfortunately, there were so many yellows that came out about halfway through a stint in the last half of the race or so. More green flag running would have been good for me, but we still got a top five."
JAMES HINCHCLIFFE (No. 06 Sprott/Newman Haas Racing, finished sixth): "The race was a lot of fun! Honestly, the Sprott car was so good and the team did such a good job in the pits. Huge props to the boys and a big thanks to Oriol. I didn't test here and in practice I was getting us going in the wrong direction so we really leaned on him in qualifying and for the race setup and the car was great. We were able to drive around some people, had some great, great pit stops; the crew was unbelievable. To get a top-six at a track like this on your first crack at it is something we can be pretty happy with. Congratulations to Oriol. The team told me he went to the back after a bad stop and then on the restart he blew by me. He had a great race and a well-deserved podium."
SCOTT DIXON (No. 9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing, finished seventh): "We never had the balance of the No. 9 Target car right all day. It was worse off of (Turns) 3 and 4 then we had the incident with the No. 5 car in the pits. It was one of those days."
TAKUMA SATO (No. 5 KV Racing Technology - Lotus, finished eighth): "It was a tough, long race. I was able to run a comfortable pace at the start of the race. In the middle of the stint I started struggled with the balance and it was difficult to maintain the pace. Then during the pit stop it was very crowded and I got tangled up getting into the pit box. So I got a drive through penalty which put me at the back of the field and down a lap, but over the next two caution yellows we managed to get our lap back and I fought my way back into the top-10. I want to give a big thank you to my crew. They did a great job. It was a difficult day for the team, but I had a good experience in my first Milwaukee race."
JUSTIN WILSON (No. 22 Dad's Root Beer/Dreyer & Reinbold Racing, finished 10th): "The Dad's Root Beer car was pretty good. We were able to get out there and pass people. I was really happy and with the changes that we made all through the race. I was hoping that we could finish a little bit higher with the car that good, but that's just how it goes. You get boxed in on those re-starts and you have a good car, but there is nothing you can do when you have nowhere to go. It's just part of it when you have someone ahead of you that checks up and you get held out. Other than that, I think that it's been a pretty good day."
ANA BEATRIZ (No. 24 Team Ipiranga/Dreyer & Reinbold): "We had a great start and we got up to ninth or something. The Ipiranga car seemed to be good, but it was a little bit tough to stay in traffic and to work on passing people. I definitely couldn't work on passing people and that really destroyed our race today. We had people slow in front of us and we never could pass them and we lost momentum. I was trying to keep my lap because Dario Franchitti was behind me and as soon as I went a little bit higher I got in the dirty part of the track and brushed the wall. It hurt the suspension a little bit and we lost two laps because of that. It was really frustrating that we couldn't put it all together. I felt that some people were really blocking hard today which really screwed us up. We just need to keep working hard and move onto Iowa."
MARCO ANDRETTI (No. 26 Team Venom Energy): "We didn't get the results we were hoping for with the Venom car today. When it came down to the full field of traffic, we just didn't have the speed we needed. We'll keep working at it and aim for better results next weekend in Iowa."
MIKE CONWAY (No. 27 Team DHL/Sun Drop Citrus Soda): "It was tough, but we managed to stay on the lead lap, which was a positive. We stayed out of trouble and made a few good calls, which also helped us pick off the field bit-by-bit. The DHL/Sun Drop car was pretty good; we just tried to dial it in as the day went on, although we could have used a bit more. Hopefully, we'll build on that next weekend at Iowa."
ED CARPENTER (No. 67 Direct Supply/Sarah Fisher Racing): "The way this weekend went, I guess we're lucky just to put the car in the trailer in one piece. Every once in a while we thought we were going to have something figured out, but we just stunk all weekend. I feel terrible for Direct Supply and Sarah and Andy. We should have been better here; we tested and we had a three-day race weekend, but didn't really improve. It's just really frustrating, and it's as much my fault as anyone's."
ALEX TAGLIANI (No. 77 Bowers & Wilkins/Sam Schmidt Motorsports): "There's no point in trying to make things worse than what they are. The car was very, very nervous. We struggled all weekend with the set-up. I think in qualifying, we made an improvement, but we were not 100 percent sure we were going in the right direction. We tried something different in the race, but it was just a guess we took. We got it wrong. Unfortunately, it made it a very difficult car to drive. We started the race in an aggressive mode to try and make some positions up really quick, but the car was very, very loose. On a short track like this, it makes for a very long race. Because it is a short track, you don't want to be in anyone's way and yet keep it off the wall. The team never gave up. We made a big change in the pits (changed rear springs), and that was the right thing to do because I don't think I never would have made it to the finish."
RYAN HUNTER-REAY (No. 28 Team GoDaddy.com): "It's extremely unfortunate. The car just broke loose on the way in and I just couldn't save it. I feel bad for the guys. We had a good car here this weekend. We qualified seventh, which was our highest oval qualifying result yet, so we were really looking forward to it. But, that's racing. It happens. We'll just keep our heads up and move on to Iowa. We were looking to really represent GoDaddy, DHL and Sun Drop really well here this weekend, but it wasn't meant to be and I'm just disappointed for them."
ALEX LLOYD (No. 19 Boy Scouts of America): "I had some contact with J.R. (Hildebrand) at the beginning of the race, which was my fault. I didn't know he was on the outside of me and I came up into him. I hit my right rear. We had a huge vibration during that first stint. I was hoping it was something to do with the tire but I don't know, honestly. We changed tires and all I know is that I got lose and I caught it once but I couldn't catch it the second time. Unfortunately, we ended up in the wall and took Sebastian (Saavedra) with us which was unfortunate. This is disappointing for the Boy Scouts car. We didn't this hit because we were struggling at the beginning of the race, but we were hanging in there and I think we need to continue to hang in there and hope for decent results.
SEBASTIAN SAAVEDRA (No. 34 Conquest Racing): "This is very sad. We were doing and a great job and we had a really great race car. We are looking at everything that the weekend brought and unfortunately we ended up involved in something that I couldn't get out of. I saw Alex (Lyod) get lose in turn 1 and I had nowhere to go or nothing to do to avoid it. It is very disappointing as we were strong this weekend. Conquest racing was doing a great job but it was just one of those days.
JR HILDEBRAND (No. 4 National Guard Panther Racing): "I was struggling with the car a little bit, for sure. At that point, I'm kind of trying to stay out of my own way out there. We're just trying to survive through the race. With the leaders going by, a lot of the guys can stay on the bottom and some of the guys just sort of can't. It's not their fault. I just got through with TK (Tony Kanaan), and I got shoved up in the marbles. Once I got up there, I couldn't get it back.
VITOR MEIRA (No. 14 ABC Supply Co./A.J. Foyt Racing): "Like AJ said, and he has lots of experience, when a weekend starts bad it normally doesn't stop and it usually ends bad too. It was a smart decision but a tough one too."
TONY KANAAN (No. 82 GEICO-KV Racing Technology-Lotus): "I was trying. (If you're) trying to win races, that's the way it is. I saw the opportunity when Helio (Castroneves) got traffic, stepped on it and lost the rear. It's a shame. It's my fault. But, hey, it was a fun race. We raced each other hard the whole race. Unfortunately, I'm human. I make mistakes sometimes as well. I'd rather make a mistake trying hard then actually not trying at all."
E.J. VISO (No. 59 PDVSA-KV Racing Technology-Lotus): "We had an amazing race and a great setup that was a combination of all my teammate's preferences. I really think I had a good car, maybe not as fast as the leaders but we had a car to finish in the top five at the most. I was passing the lap car and I got high and went into the marbles and it sent me into the wall. That is what happen and it is unfortunate. I feel bad for the mechanics and my crew because they put this car together for me. I am looking forward to Iowa now and there is nothing else we can do."
The next IZOD IndyCar Series race is the Iowa Corn Indy 250 at Iowa Speedway on June 25. It will be telecast by VERSUS at 8 p.m. (EDT). The next Firestone Indy Lights race is the Sukup 100 at Iowa Speedway. It will be televised live by VERSUS at 5:30 p.m. (EDT).