IRL: Milwaukee: Race report

KANAAN WINS FIRST OF SEASON AT ABC SUPPLY/A.J. FOYT 225 WEST ALLIS, Wis., Sunday, July 23, 2006 -- 2004 IndyCar Series champion. Tony Kanaan held off a late race charge by Sam Hornish Jr., to win the ABC Supply/A.J. Foyt 225 at The Milwaukee...

KANAAN WINS FIRST OF SEASON AT ABC SUPPLY/A.J. FOYT 225

WEST ALLIS, Wis., Sunday, July 23, 2006 -- 2004 IndyCar Series champion. Tony Kanaan held off a late race charge by Sam Hornish Jr., to win the ABC Supply/A.J. Foyt 225 at The Milwaukee Mile, giving Andretti Green Racing its first victory of the season. Kanaan passed teammate Marco Andretti in Turn 4 of Lap 179 and beat the IndyCar Series point leader, Hornish, to the finish line by 1.8276 seconds.

The victory marks Andretti Green Racing's 22nd win in the IndyCar Series, making it the IndyCar Series' winningest-team. It was a double-victory weekend for Andretti Green Racing as Jaime Camara won the Indy Pro Series race on July 22. Tomas Scheckter finished third in his No. 2 Honda-powered Dallara, giving Vision Racing its best finish in team history. Danica Patrick posted her second consecutive fourth place finish after advancing 10 positions in her No. 16 Rahal Letterman Racing Team Argent Honda-powered Dallara, while Andretti rounded out the top-five in his No. 26 NYSE Group Honda-powered Dallara. Hornish retains the lead in the championship points race, 25 points ahead of Scott Dixon, who finished 10th, and 30 points ahead of teammate Helio Castroneves, who finished 14th after contact with Ed Carpenter.

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Direct Supply, a Milwaukee-based company which recently announced a major expansion, will sponsor Vitor Meira's No. 4 Revive Panther Racing Dallara/Honda/Firestone for the ABC Supply Co. / A.J. Foyt 225 today. Direct Supply is a leading supplier of equipment and systems to the nation's long-term healthcare industry. It is looking to hire 1,000 to 1,500 employees over the next 10 years. More than 100 open positions can be found at the company website, www.DirectSupplyCareers.com. The Direct Supply logo will be featured on the front and rear wings of Meira's car.

JOHN BARNES (Panther Racing co-owner):

"This is an exciting time for those of us at Panther, and we're thankful that Direct Supply has joined the family for the Milwaukee race. Now we want to get Vitor Meira and Direct Supply in Victory Lane right here in their backyard."

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Crew for #14 Bucknum changed engines following final practice. Car will fall to the back of the field after qualifying 16th.

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Foyt Racing engineer Bruce Ashmore is doing double duty working on both the No. 14 IndyCar Series car and at his regular job as development engineer for C & R Racing, which is a supplier of the new pavement USAC Silver Crown cars. Veteran race engineer Len Paskus, who worked with Foyt driver Jeff Bucknum last season, has been retained by Foyt this weekend.

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ABC Supply customer Jerry Thull has won the 'Your Name Here' contest for the ABC Supply/A.J. Foyt 225 this weekend. His company JT Roofing, located in Milwaukee, will have its name on the top of the sidepods of the No. 14 ABC Supply Dallara/Honda. Thull received merchandise, race tickets, hospitality and garage passes, plus a Meet and Greet with A.J. Foyt and Jeff Bucknum. The "Your Name Here" promotion selected winners by random drawing from a pool of entries sent in by ABC Supply customers earlier this year.

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Members of the University of Wisconsin's national championship hockey served as honorary race officials today. ABC Supply CEO Ken Hendricks served as the honorary starter. Four-time Indianapolis 500 winner A.J. Foyt gave the command to start engines. Foyt's opted for a more colorful: "Boys and girls, start your engines"

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A.J. Foyt couldn't pass up the IndyCar Series race at The Milwaukee Mile, and made certain his personal physician knew of his travel plans only three weeks after knee replacement surgery.

The IndyCar Series team owner and four-time Indianapolis 500 champion did not attend the races at Kansas Speedway (July 2) and Nashville Superspeedway (July 15) after having his left knee replaced. But because the race at the venerable Milwaukee Mile bears his name -- along with his team's title sponsor -- Foyt put the pain out of mind and traveled to Wisconsin.

After attending the annual ABC Supply Co. Inc. picnic in nearby Beloit on July 20, Foyt positioned himself in a golf cart next to the team's pit cart for practice sessions the next day. He gave the command to start the engines on race day.

"After about 3 weeks with a new knee, it still hurts like hell," Foyt said. "I'm glad to be up and I think every day is going to be a better day. If I didn't have so many fans and ABC was here, I probably wouldn't have been here today.

"But I made up my mind and told my doctor I had to be here. I definitely had to make this race; I couldn't miss this race. I probably shouldn't be here, but I'm here. He said, 'Do whatever you have to do.' ''

Foyt has suffered with knee pain the past three-plus years, the product of a racing accident.

"Last year, I got to where I could hardly walk," he said. "I've got the papers on what you can and can't do; mostly now I'm just trying to get the flexibility. Everyone tells me it will get better." Foyt took the final victory for a traditional roadster at Milwaukee in the 1964 Rex Mays Classic. Although he also would switch to a rear-engine car before that season was over, Foyt had one unintended appearance at The Mile in a front-engine car. In 1965, he was forced to tow his dirt track car, a front-engine Offy, to Milwaukee from Springfield when his rear-engine Lotus-Ford, along with his crew, did not arrive in Milwaukee in time for qualifying. He proceeded to prepare the car himself for racing on pavement and then put the car on the pole with a speed of 107.881 mph. Foyt led 16 of the 200 laps but eventually finished second to Gordon Johncock. "It's a tricky little racetrack," Foyt said. "Milwaukee always has been a very interesting racetrack. I've been burnt here and hurt here. I have a lot of memories and a lot of great fans here, and I've always liked coming to Milwaukee."

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ABC SUPPLY/A.J. FOYT INDY 225 POST-RACE NOTES:

This is Tony Kanaan's first win this season and the seventh win of his IndyCar Series career. His last win came at Infineon Raceway in August 2005. Kanaan is the fifth different winner this season.

This is Andretti Green Racing's first win this season and its 22nd win in the IndyCar Series. The team is again the winningest-team in the IndyCar Series, breaking a tie it had with Marlboro Team Penske entering this event.

Sam Hornish Jr. finished second, his sixth top-five finish this season.

Tomas Scheckter finished a season-best third. It is Vision Racing's first-ever top-five finish and Scheckter's best finish since posted back-to-back third place finishes at Milwaukee and Michigan in 2005.

Danica Patrick finished fourth for the second-straight race, matching her career best. Patrick also posted consecutive fourth-place finishes at Motegi and Indianapolis in 2005.

ABC SUPPLY/A.J. FOYT INDY 225 POST-RACE QUOTES:

TONY KANAAN (No. 11 Team 7-Eleven Dallara/Honda/Firestone, ABC Supply/ A.J. Foyt 225 winner):

'I was happier today than I was in the end 2004. This proves that our (Indy Pro Series) program works for us. I have to thank Jaime (Camara) for all the tests and Jonathan Klein and Dario (Franchitti) for coming here with Marco (Andretti) they did a great job. I had a great battle with Marco my heart was in my throat. He is not only my teammate but my boss' son, so I could not take him out. I am so happy. We needed that. We needed it so bad. We won one so let's go get another one."

SAM HORNISH JR. (No. 6 Marlboro Team Penske Dallara/Honda/Firestone, finished second):

"We missed the setup just a little bit on the first part of the race. Heck of a race for us. Hopefully we'll be able to get a win in Michigan and pad that points lead. Marlboro Team Penske had a good day while a lot of other people had bad days, so we'll just keep going.

TOMAS SCHECKTER (No. 2 Vision Racing Dallara/Honda/Firestone, finished third):

"The team did a great job. We got my lap back, which is the most important thing. I struggled getting past the backmarkers. We had no radio from about 30-40 laps in, so it was sort of just a guess. I would look across to see if my guys were in their pit, and then I would stop. The main thing was getting my lap back and getting that new set of tires at the end. I have to thank everyone at Vision Racing. Patrick Dempsey, I hope he's watching at home. Also Rock and Republic, thanks for being on board as an associate sponsors. This is just great for Vision (Racing) and everyone involved."

MARCO ANDRETTI (No. 26 NYSE Group Dallara/Honda/Firestone, finished fifth):

"It was good. The whole middle of the race we were looking better on fuel than anybody, we were looking for track position. But in the end, we had to conserve more. The car went off a little more than my teammates, but I've got to say congrats to TK (Tony Kanaan). He was definitely hooked up. I just sort of lost the balance. There was a big vibration. It happens. When you try to get 80 laps on a set of tires, what can you expect."

DARIO FRANCHITTI (No. 27 Klein Tools/Canadian Club Dallara/Honda/ Firestone, finished fifth):

"We had a very good car to start with and I could go at a certain pace. If I tried to go any quicker than that, the car just used up the tires so quickly and that's what we were seeing towards the end there. The Klein Tools/Canadian Club car was very good in traffic and when the track was slow, but as the track got quicker toward the end, I just couldn't hold that pace and it was pretty horrendous from then on. I feel good, though. We passed a bunch of cars and fought our way up to the lead and the guys did a great job in the pits. It's great for Andretti Green Racing that TK (Tony Kanaan) won the race, but we're a little disappointed right now."

BRYAN HERTA (No. 7 XM Satellite Radio Dallara/Honda/Firestone, finished sixth):

"We had two issues going on at the end. The XM Satellite Radio team had a fuel saving program going on because we stayed out with our teammates at the end. The second thing was that we were picking up a big understeer and feeling a big vibration toward the end of the race. We just didn't seem to have the same kind of grip on those tires that I had earlier on, so I was just hanging on for all I could. A couple cars with fresher tires were able to come up at the end and were able to get us, which is too bad because it looked for a while like AGR was going to have a '1-2-3-4' finish. We ran well and that's what we need to do, to start running like that again. It's great for the crew because we've struggled this year. We had a good race here and we're heading to Michigan, where we won last year, so we're looking forward to that."

DAN WHELDON (No. 10 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Dallara/Honda/Firestone, finished eighth):

"It was a difficult day for everyone at Target Chip Ganassi Racing today. I really thought the lucky green FujiFilm car was going to bring us luck and give us a picture perfect ending, but it was a pretty tough weekend and tough race for both Target cars. For whatever reason, we were a little off this weekend but it's a sensible result from a points perspective. It's a shame really because it could have been an opportunity to make up some points in the championship. From here on out, it's pretty simple; win at all costs."

JEFF SIMMONS (No. 17 Rahal Letterman Racing Team Ethanol Dallara/Honda/ Firestone, finished ninth):

"We had a pretty car today, maybe a top five or six at the finish. But on the first pit stop, the Foyt guys were pitted in the stall next to us and their spare wheels were in the lane waiting for Jeff Bucknum. I pulled around them but couldn't make the turn and had to stop. The crew had to push me back and then forward into our pit stall. I lost two laps on the mishap. I feel bad for the team because we had a better car than ninth. In the race, I could run with a lot of the leaders but once I was down two laps I need to move over for the front guys to go by. The Team Ethanol crew did a great job preparing the car this weekend. We had over best qualifying run of the year and we scored our third straight top ten despite the pit problem. I think we are working well together as a team and I feel will continue the improvement. Today was a solid run and, without the first pit stop trouble, we had a car to finish better than Nashville. As a rookie, it feels good to make strides with the car and the team each week."

SCOTT DIXON (No. 9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Dallara/Honda/Firestone, finished 10th):

"We just couldn't find the speed we needed today. At the start of the race, the rear of the car was pretty solid, but we had understeer to cope with. Toward the end of the first stint, I had a bad vibration that was almost making it difficult to see. We tried some tire pressure and wing adjustments, but nothing really seemed to take to the car today. In a situation like that, you just have to stay focused on keeping your nose clean and making sure you finish the race. That's what we accomplished."

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The next IndyCar Series event is the Firestone Indy 400 at 3:30 p.m. (EDT) on July 30 at Michigan International Speedway. The race will be telecast live by ABC Sports and broadcast by the IMS Radio Network. A Spanish-language telecast of the race will be carried by ESPN Deportes. The IMS Radio Network broadcast also is carried on XM Satellite Radio channel 145 "IndyCar Racing" and www.indycar.com. The fifth season of Indy Pro Series competition continues with the Kentucky 100 on August 13 at Kentucky Speedway. ESPN2's coverage of the Milwaukee 100 will be telecast by ESPN2 at 2 p.m. (EDT) on July 27.

-www.indycar.com

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Tomas Scheckter , Helio Castroneves , Scott Dixon , Tony Kanaan , Jeff Bucknum , Marco Andretti , Bruce Ashmore , Chip Ganassi , Jaime Camara , Jonathan Klein , A.J. Foyt , Sam Hornish Jr. , Danica Patrick , Ed Carpenter , Vitor Meira
Teams Panther Racing , Team Penske , Chip Ganassi Racing , Chip Ganassi Racing