IRL: Milwaukee: Chip Ganassi Racing preview

ABC Supply Company A.J. Foyt 225 The Milwaukee Mile Target Team Advance Notes & Quotes "Schlemiel, Schlimazel, Hasenpfeffer Incorporated!"-- This week, for the tenth of 17 IndyCar Series races in 2005, Target Chip Ganassi Racing makes its way...

ABC Supply Company A.J. Foyt 225
The Milwaukee Mile
Target Team Advance Notes & Quotes

"Schlemiel, Schlimazel, Hasenpfeffer Incorporated!"-- This week, for the tenth of 17 IndyCar Series races in 2005, Target Chip Ganassi Racing makes its way to the historic one-mile oval in Milwaukee, a town synonymous with brats, beer and the backdrop for the popular TV show "Happy Days" and its' spin off sitcom "Laverne & Shirley". While the Target team won't quite be skipping down the sidewalk on their way to The Milwaukee Mile reciting those famous opening lines, they will take the Wisconsin state motto "Forward" to heart as they prepare Scott Dixon, Darren Manning and Ryan Briscoe and their Toyota Panoz race cars to run 225 laps.

The team is also looking to move forward and build on the positive results posted last weekend at Nashville SuperSpeedway. Both Dixon and Briscoe had season high results of sixth and eighth place respectively. Just what is the meaning of the opening line chanted by Milwaukee natives Laverne and Shirley? Who knows... but the lyrics from the show's theme song would work quite nicely for the Target team as well.

"Nothing's gonna turn us back now,
Straight ahead and on the track now.
We're gonna make our dreams come true,
Doin' it our way!
There's nothing we won't try,
Never heard the word "impossible."
This time there's no stopping us,
We're gonna do it!"

"Heeeeeeyyyyy!!" --Another staple of TV culture and one of the most famous mechanics of all time hails from Milwaukee; The Fonz, also known as Arthur Herbert Fonzarelli, was a greaser mechanic and the epitome of cool with his trademark leather jacket and "thumbs up", dispensing much needed wisdom to Richie Cunningham and his pals. Target team Chief Engineer Bill Pappas could be considered the team's own Fonzie dispensing his engineering experience and expertise to driver Darren Manning, the no.10 Target crew and the rest of the team, in preparation for a race weekend.

The Milwaukee Mile is one of the flattest on the circuit. The front and back straightaways are of equal length at 1,265 feet and are banked at 2.5 degrees while the turns are banked at 9.25 degrees. This in turn makes finding the right set up a bit more of a challenge.

"To start off with, Milwaukee is a flat track." says Pappas who has been an integral part of Target Chip Ganassi Racing for six years. "We don't have banking to keep the car balanced like we've had the last few weeks. So to keep our cars balanced, and to get balance right we have to compromise between how much front grip and rear grip we need. It's a pretty bumpy track, so you have to have the dampers right for the shocks. If you can get that sorted out, you get a very fast race car. You can't really take a set up from tracks like Phoenix or Richmond and apply it to Milwaukee because those tracks have banking, and we use a completely different set of solutions in getting the drivers acclimated to the flat track and getting them to understand what the car wants. Everything is completely new. We haven't been on a track like this the whole year. So it will be quite a bit different."

This is the start of six races in a seven-week stretch. Does the short-time period and changing style of tracks present a big challenge in terms of setup?

"Not really. Each team has experience in racing here. Darren (Manning) raced at all of these tracks last year. He knows what he wants in the car and we're not changing the underwing or drastically changing geometry. It comes down to fine-tuning the springs, shocks and roll bars to suit each circuit."

A Look at the Rear View Mirror-- Before the green flag even dropped last year at the Milwaukee Mile, the Target team had already had one of their more difficult race weekends of the 2004 season. Scott Dixon had two separate on-track incidents occur on qualifying day, hampering him from taking part in the race. Darren Manning was in fourth place on lap 142 when his day ended prematurely after an encounter with the wall.

Previous experiences were much more memorable for Dixon who won the 2000 Indy Lights race from the pole and ran his first race for Target Chip Ganassi Racing at the historic one-mile oval. This will be his sixth visit to the Milwaukee mile. Manning also has fond memories of Milwaukee as he finished fourth in the Champ Car race there in 2003.

You're HOW Old??!!--Opened in 1903, the Milwaukee Mile is the oldest operating motor speedway in the world having held an auto-racing event every year since then. It even beats the Indianapolis Motor Speedway which only began contesting events in 1911. Originally a privately owned horse-racing track, the one-mile oval has actually been in existence since at least 1876. In 1891, the Agricultural Society of the State of Wisconsin purchased the land to create a permanent site for the Wisconsin State Fair. The track has operated as part of the fairgrounds ever since. This is just the second time the Indy Racing League has run at the Milwaukee Mile.

Light 'Em Up!- It's too bad the Milwaukee race is not run at night like recent IndyCar Series races at Texas, Richmond and Nashville ...the venerable Milwaukee Mile could easily be lit up from the candles on Scott Dixon's birthday cake on Friday, July 22nd. Not quite as old as the Milwaukee mile, but a milestone nevertheless, Dixon turns a quarter of a century old.

That's Just Soooo Cheesy!-- Wisconsin ranks first in the nation for the production of milk, butter and cheese so in honour of the IndyCar Series' annual visit to the "cheese state", and the media's never ending quest for more information and tidbits to share with fans....as cheesy as it may be...here are the Target drivers' favorite type of cheese: Scott Dixon prefers Colby, while Darren Manning requests Gorgonzola and Ryan Briscoe's favorite is Parmesan cheese.

There Must Be Something in the Water!--Many believe that Milwaukee is ranked the number one city for beer production in the US because of something in the local water. While there are many volunteers ready to test that theory, we can't yet confirm that for sure. However, we do know that water falling from the sky just above the Milwaukee Mile, as it often does, is responsible for helping coin the sports term "rain date". Indy style cars made their first appearance at the Milwaukee Mile on July 17, 1933. But before the 100-mile race could get underway, a rainstorm hit the track, washing out the show. A group of drivers, led by Wilbur Shaw, convinced promoter Tom Marchese to run the race the following day, in the process coining the now-popular sports term "rain date".

Where the Rubber Meets the Road -- The tire specification this weekend features a left-side compound with more grip ("softer") than was used at Milwaukee in 2004. The right-side tires come from the same spec as a year ago. Firestone purposely molds its right-rear Firehawk oval tires with a slightly greater diameter than the left-rear tires, allowing the Indy cars to turn left more smoothly. The effect is known as "stagger." The diameter difference is tiny - about 0.51 of an inch this weekend - yet the effect is dramatic in making the cars turn more naturally, which decreases stresses placed on both driver and equipment.

Tennis Anyone?--Earlier this week, Darren Manning and Ryan Briscoe tried their hand at a friendly tennis match against RCA Championships ATP tennis players Taylor Dent and Stephen Haas at City Market in downtown Indianapolis. They entertained the crowds with their antics and were also available to fans for photos and autographs. The Target drivers held their own on court ... but got back on a familiar ground as they introduced Dent and Jan-Michael Gambill to their world of racing by taking a few laps in go-karts at Fast Times Karting. All involved will be sticking to their day jobs.

Watch it LIVE--Target fans can tune in to watch the ABC Supply Company AJ Foyt 225 on ESPN Live at 2:30 pm (EDT) on Sunday, July 16th.

Listen Up--Target fans can also listen in to the IndyCar broadcast live by IMS radio Network at 2:30pm (EDT). The IMS Radio broadcast will also be available on XM Satellite Radio Channel 152 "XM Extreme" and web cast on Indycar.com.

Next Stop -- Michigan International Speedway will host the 11th race on the 2005 IndyCar Series schedule. The Firestone Indy 400 will be presented on Sunday, July 31st at 3:00 pm EDT and broadcast on ABC.

-cgr

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Darren Manning , Scott Dixon , Ryan Briscoe , Chip Ganassi , A.J. Foyt
Teams Chip Ganassi Racing , Chip Ganassi Racing