CHAMPCAR/CART: Milwaukee race day track notes

By Mark Tate • Good Morning from cloudy but dry Milwaukee, Wisconsin for Race Day at the Milwaukee Mile! The rains have stopped and the show is ready to go, but first up is the traditional 30-minute warm-up taking to the track at 11 a.m., ...

By Mark Tate

• Good Morning from cloudy but dry Milwaukee, Wisconsin for Race Day at the Milwaukee Mile! The rains have stopped and the show is ready to go, but first up is the traditional 30-minute warm-up taking to the track at 11 a.m., followed by the Green Flag for the Miller Lite 225 at 3 p.m. The grid has been set by Championship Points due to the rained out qualifying session from yesterday's dreariness, leaving KENNY BRACK on the Pole. Early arrivals to the track found cold temperatures coupled with a north breeze, making the high-fifties feel like low forties. But the prediction is for clearing skies and a gradual warming over the course of the day.

• GREEN FLAG waves at 11 a.m. to start the final practice session of the weekend. Firestone engineers report a track temperature of 55 degrees F. and an ambient temperature of 60 degrees F. at the start of the session.

• BLACK FLAG is shown at 11:05 a.m. to #55 KANAAN for a Pit Road speed violation incurred at Pit In at 11:02 a.m. KANAAN subsequently pits the car to comply with the Black Flag drive-thru penalty.

• YELLOW FLAG waves at 11:08 a.m. after several of the teams report cuts on their tires after examination in the pits. CART safety workers quickly take to the track for a complete inspection.

• At 11:10 a.m., ten minutes into the session and under the Yellow Flag, the fastest driver is #1 de FERRAN with a lap of 162.626 mph (22.845 seconds; sixth lap), followed by #7 PAPIS (159.526 mph; 23.289 seconds; sixth lap) and #40 VASSER (158.810 mph; 23.394 seconds; 10th lap).

• GREEN FLAG waves at 11:12 a.m. to resume the session.

• YELLOW FLAG waves at 11:16 a.m. after #52 NAKANO loses traction and makes hard contact against the outside wall at Turn 2 with the left side of the car. The car spins to a stop on the backstretch and CART safety workers immediately reach the scene. The driver is uninjured but the car sustains major damage to the left side suspension and sidepods. The car will definitely not be usable in today's race and the team quickly readies the secondary car for use in the remainder of the session.

• At 11:20 a.m., 20 minutes into the session and under the Yellow Flag, the fastest driver is still #1 de FERRAN with his earlier lap of 162.626 mph (22.845 seconds; sixth lap), followed by #55 KANAAN (159.849 mph; 23.242 seconds) and #3 CASTRONEVES (159.643 mph; 23.272 seconds; 12th lap).

• GREEN FLAG waves at 11:24 a.m. to resume the session.

• At 11:25 a.m., CART Race Control announces to the teams that the 30-minute practice session will be extended to 40 minutes, now scheduled to end at 11:40 a.m.

• At 11:29 a.m., #17 GUGELMIN pits his car reporting a transmission problem.

• At 11:30 a.m., 30 minutes into the session, the fastest driver is still #1 de FERRAN with his earlier lap of 162.626 mph (22.845 seconds; sixth lap), now followed by #22 SERVIA (160.567 mph; 23.138 seconds; 17th lap) and #26 TRACY (160.560 mph; 23.139 seconds; 23rd lap).

• CHECKERED FLAG waves at 11:30 a.m. to end the session with #1 de FERRAN remaining the fastest driver with his early lap of 162.626 mph (22.845 seconds; sixth lap), followed by #77 HERTA (161.587 mph; 22.992 seconds) and #22 SERVIA (160.567 mph; 23.138 seconds; 17th lap). At the end of this session, the entire filed is separated by less than one second (.908 seconds). FedEx Championship Series drivers introduced 26 cars to the track in this morning's session with #17X GUGELMIN the only driver to utilize a secondary car.

• Trap speeds again show that handling is the name of the game here at The Milwaukee Mile. Second-fastest #77 HERTA leads the Start/Finish line trap with a speed of 189.902 mph as well as the Turn 3 entrance trap (193.235 mph while seventh-fastest #18 DIXON heads the field exiting Turn 2 with a clocking of 141.756 mph. Overall fastest #1 de FERRAN trails HERTA by over seven miles per hour on the straights (182.551 mph and 186.663 respectively), yet de FERRAN's consistent performance around the track left him at the top of the chart when the dust settled.

Race notes

• At 2:57 p.m., the command "Gentlemen, Start Your Engines!" is given.

• At 3 p.m., the CART Pace Car begins to roll for the first of five parade/pace laps with the field of 26 cars in tow.

• GREEN FLAG waves at 3:07 p.m. to start the Miller Lite 225! Polesitter #8 BRACK leads the field into the first turn with #3 CASTRONEVES stuck to his right side. YELLOW FLAG waves as the drivers cross the apex of the corner and BRACK and CASTRONEVES make side-to-side contact with CASTRONEVES skating up into the marbles. BRACK hangs on to continue on course but CASTRONEVES slides back down into traffic, making contact with #6 da MATTA. Da MATTA then makes contact against the outside wall on the backstretch before coming to a stop. Both da MATTA and CASTRONEVES exit their cars under their own power but both cars sustain suspension damage and are retired from the race due to contact.

• #8 BRACK leads the first lap under Yellow, followed by #26 TRACY, #1 de FERRAN, #40 VASSER, and #39 ANDRETTI.

• GREEN FLAG waves on Lap 11 to resume the race but is immediately replaced with the Yellow as #26 TRACY loses traction entering Turn 1 under heavy braking. The car snaps around and makes hard contact against the outside wall with the left side of the car. TRACY is uninjured in the incident but the car is retired from the race due to contact.

• On Lap 12 and under the Yellow Flag, #8 BRACK leads, followed by #1 de FERRAN, #39 ANDRETTI, #40 VASSER, and #4 JUNQUEIRA.

• On Lap 15, #27 FRANCHITTI, #32 TAGLIANI and #33 CARPENTIER all pit for fuel. FRANCHITTI stalls his car and loses a lap to the leaders before the driver can get back on course.

• GREEN FLAG waves on Lap 20 with #8 BRACK grabbing a .947 second lead at the stripe, followed by #1 de FERRAN, #39 ANDRETTI, #40 VASSER, and #55 KANAAN.

• On Lap 21, #39 ANDRETTI passes #1 de FERRAN to take over second place.

• On Lap 30, the running order is #1 BRACK leading by .856 seconds over #39 ANDRETTI, followed by #1 de FERRAN (1.782 seconds back), #40 VASSER (2.123 seconds back) and #55 KANAAN.

• On Lap 40, the running order is #8 BRACK leading by .616 seconds over #39 ANDRETTI, followed by #1 de FERRAN (1.778 seconds back), #40 VASSER (2.345 seconds back), and #55 KANAAN (6.229 seconds back).

• On Lap 44, #25 WILSON pulls off course and retires from the race with a mechanical problem.

• On Lap 48 and 49, #39 ANDRETTI starts to mount an attack on the lead of #8 BRACK, trying the Swede at each end of the track but BRACK closes the door on the bottom groove.

• On Lap 50, the running order is #8 BRACK leading by .376 seconds over #39 ANDRETTI, followed by #1 de FERRAN (.693 seconds back), #40 VASSER (.768 seconds back), and #55 KANAAN (1.381 seconds back).

• On Lap 60, the running order is #8 BRACK leading by .330 seconds over #39 ANDRETTI, followed by #1 de FERRAN (1.507 seconds back), #40 VASSER (2.113 seconds back), and #55 KANAAN (3.453 seconds back).

• On Lap 66, CART course observers report that #77 HERTA's engine is starting to break up.

• On Lap 70, the running order is #8 BRACK leading by .461 seconds over #39 ANDRETTI, followed by #1 de FERRAN (2.485 seconds back), #40 VASSER (3.083 seconds back), and #55 KANAAN (4.836 seconds back).

• On Lap 73, #77 HERTA pits and the crew quickly lifts the engine cover for examination. The crew subsequently retires the car from the race due to a mechanical problem.

• On Lap 80, the running order is #8 BRACK leading by .015 seconds over #39 ANDRETTI, followed by #1 de FERRAN (1.772 seconds back), #40 VASSER (2.211 seconds back), and #55 KANAAN (4.107 seconds back).

• Going into Turn 1, #8 BRACK gets caught behind the lapped car of #16 JOURDAIN Jr. and #39 ANDRETTI moves to the bottom to make the pass and take the lead on Lap 81.

• On Lap 88, #8 BRACK pits and falls from second to 21st before he can return to the track.

• On Lap 90, the running order is #39 ANDRETTI leading by 3.346 seconds over #40 VASSER, followed by #55 KANAAN, #1 de FERRAN, and #18 DIXON. #1 de FERRAN pits and falls from fourth to 16th.

• On Lap 91, #40 VASSER takes the lead after #39 ANDRETTI pits. ANDRETTI returns to the race in 13th place.

• On Lap 93, #40 VASSER pits and falls from first to 13th. #55 KANAAN takes over the lead.

• BLACK FLAG is shown on Lap 94 to #66 ZANARDI for a Pit Road speed violation incurred at Pit In on his last stop. ZANARDI subsequently pits the car for a drive-thru penalty and returns to the race.

• BLACK FLAG is shown on Lap 99 to #22 SERVIA for a Pit Road safety violation as the driver ran over his crew's air hose exiting the pits. SERVIA returns to his Pit on the next lap to serve the drive-thru penalty.

• On Lap 100, the running order is #55 KANAAN leading by .315 seconds over #18 DIXON, followed by #33 TAGLIANI, #32 CARPENTIER, and #16 JOURDAIN Jr.

• On Lap 101, #55 KANAAN pits and falls from first to 12th as #18 DIXON takes over the lead.

• On Lap 103, #18 DIXON pits and falls from first to 13th while #33 TAGLIANI takes the lead.

• On Lap 104, #33 TAGLIANI pits and falls from first to 16th while teammate #32 CAREPNTIER takes the lead.

• On Lap 105, #32 CARPENTIER pits and falls from first to 17th and #16 JOURDAIN Jr. takes the lead.

• On Lap 106, #16 JOURDAIN Jr. pits and falls from first to 18th while #51 FERNANDEZ takes the lead.

• YELLOW FLAG waves on Lap 108 after #66 ZANARDI slides to the top of Turn 4 and nearly spins before gathering it in.

• On Lap 110 and under the Yellow Flag, #51 FERNANDEZ leads, followed by #39 ANDRETTI, #8 BRACK, #40 VASSER, and #1 de FERRAN.

• On Lap 111, #51 FERNANDEZ pits and #39 ANDRETTI retakes the lead.

• GREEN FLAG waves on Lap 114 to resume the race.

• On Lap 120, the running order is #39 ANDRETTI leading by .418 seconds over #8 BRACK, followed by #40 VASSER (1.751 seconds back), #1 de FERRAN (3.797 seconds back) and #4 JUNQUEIRA (6.697 seconds back).

• On Lap 129, #8 BRACK gets a great run on #39 ANDRETTI and takes the lead at the bottom of Turn 3.

• On Lap 130, the running order is #8 BRACK leading by .350 seconds over #39 ANDRETTI, followed by #40 VASSER (1.141 seconds back), #1 de FERRAN (3.797 seconds back) and #4 JUNQUEIRA (4.329 seconds back).

• YELLOW FLAG waves on Lap 132 after #5 TAGAKI cuts down on #40 VASSER while VASSER was overtaking the driver at Turn 1. VASSER's car spins backwards up the track making moderate contact against the wall at the top of Turn 1 with the rear of the car. VASSER is uninjured in the incident but the car is retired from the race due to contact.

• BLACK FLAG is shown to #5 TAKAGI on Lap 134 to pit his car. CART Chief Steward Chris Kneifel subsequently excludes #5 TAGAKI from the remainder of the race following his incident with #40 VASSER. TAGAKI was excluded following the completion of Lap 135. The Chief Steward has the authority to exclude a driver for violation of any CART rule per Rule 10.5 in the CART Rule Book.

• On Lap 135 and under the Yellow Flag, all of the lead lap cars pit. #39 ANDRETTI wins the race off Pit Road, followed by #8 BRACK, #18 DIXON, #11 FITTIPALDI, and #4 JUNQUEIRA.

• On Lap 140 and under the Yellow Flag, the running order is #39 ANDRETTI, followed by #8 BRACK, #18 DIXON, #11 FITTIPALDI, and #4 JUNQUEIRA.

• GREEN FLAG waves on Lap 142 to resume the race.

• On Lap 150, the running order is #39 ANDRETTI leading by .887 seconds, followed by #8 BRACK, #18 DIXON (1.357 seconds back), #11 FITTIPALDI (2.372 seconds back), and #4 JUNQUEIRA (2.832 seconds back).

• On Lap 160, the running order is #39 ANDRETTI leading by .976 seconds, followed by #8 BRACK, #18 DIXON (1.717 seconds back), #11 FITTIPALDI (3.504 seconds back), and #4 JUNQUEIRA (4.054 seconds back).

• On Lap 160, the running order is #39 ANDRETTI leading by .976 seconds, followed by #8 BRACK, #18 DIXON (1.717 seconds back), #11 FITTIPALDI (3.504 seconds back), and #4 JUNQUEIRA (4.054 seconds back).

• On Lap 170, the running order is #39 ANDRETTI leading by 1.111 seconds, followed by #8 BRACK, #18 DIXON (1.595 seconds back), #11 FITTIPALDI (4.208 seconds back), and #4 JUNQUEIRA (4.889 seconds back).

• On Lap 180, the running order is #39 ANDRETTI leading by .700 seconds, followed by #8 BRACK, #18 DIXON (1.319 seconds back), #11 FITTIPALDI (8.067 seconds back), and #4 JUNQUEIRA (8.395 seconds back).

• On Lap 183, #8 BRACK passes #39 ANDRETTI at the bottom of Turn 3 and takes the lead.

• On Lap 190, the running order is #8 BRACK leading by .479 seconds over #39 ANDRETTI, followed by #18 DIXON (1.373 seconds), #11 FITTIPALDI (7.618 seconds back) and #4 JUNQUEIRA (7.984 seconds).

• On Lap 191, #39 ANDRETTI tries leader #8 BRACK at Turn 1 and Turn 3 but cannot pull off the pass on the Swede as BRACK easily pulls away from the middle of the corner out.

• On Lap 200, the running order is #8 BRACK leading by 1.154 seconds over #39 ANDRETTI, followed by #18 DIXON (5.954 seconds back), #11 FITTIPALDI (8.145 seconds back) and #4 JUNQUEIRA (8.596 seconds back).

• YELLOW FLAG waves on Lap 205 after #12 MINASSIAN and #11 FITTIPALDI make side-to-side contact entering Turn 3 as FITTIPALDI was attempting an inside pass of the lapped car. Both cars slide up the banking making hard contact against the outside wall. FITTIPALDI immediately exits his car under his own power but MINASSIAN has sustained an injury and remains in his car to await service from the CART safety crew. It is later reported from the CART Mobile Medical Unit that MINASSIAN has a sore knee but no other injuries.

• On Lap 210, the running order under the Yellow Flag is #8 BRACK leading, followed by #39 ANDRETTI, #18 DIXON, #4 JUNQUEIRA, and #51 FERNANDEZ.

• GREEN FLAG waves on Lap 218 to restart the race with #8 BRACK crossing the line by .838 seconds over #39 ANDRETTI.

• On Lap 220, the running order is #8 BRACK leading by 1.059 seconds over #39 ANDRETTI, followed by #18 DIXON (3.131 seconds back), #4 JUNQUEIRA (5.119 seconds back) and #51 FERNANDEZ (6.129 seconds back).

• On Lap 221, the running order is #8 BRACK leading by .915 seconds over #39 ANDRETTI, followed by #18 DIXON (3.011 seconds back), #4 JUNQUEIRA (5.182 seconds back) and #51 FERNANDEZ (6.534 seconds back).

• On Lap 222, the running order is #8 BRACK leading by 1.051 seconds over #39 ANDRETTI, followed by #18 DIXON (3.267 seconds back), #4 JUNQUEIRA (5.650 seconds back) and #51 FERNANDEZ (7.324 seconds back).

• On Lap 223, the running order is #8 BRACK leading by 1.189 seconds over #39 ANDRETTI, followed by #18 DIXON (3.394 seconds back), #4 JUNQUEIRA (6.018 seconds back) and #51 FERNADNEZ (8.258 seconds back).

• WHITE FLAG waves on Lap 224 as leader #8 BRACK crosses the line 1.437 seconds over #39 ANDRETTI, followed by #18 DIXON (3.424 seconds back), #4 JUNQUEIRA (6.449 seconds back) and #51 FERANDNEZ (9.098 seconds back).

• CHECKERED FLAG waves on Lap 225 for the winner of the Miller Lite 225, KENNY BRACK! BRACK comes home 1.307 seconds ahead of MICHAEL ANDRETTI, followed by SCOTT DIXON (6.714 seconds) and BRUNO JUNQUEIRA (9.702 seconds back.) BRACK averaged 122.066 mph taking 1 hour; 54 minutes and 8.097 seconds to take his second consecutive victory in the FedEx Championship Series. Nine different drivers took turns leading today's Miller Lite 225 with BRACK leading the most laps with 130, followed by ANDRETTI with 75, KANAAN with five, DIXON with two, and TAGLIANI, CARPENTIER, and JOURDAIN Jr. leading one each. There were 17 cars running at the end of the race with eight drivers on the lead lap. The Yellow Flag flew five times for a total of 48 laps.

• KENNY BRACK wins his second race of the 2001 FedEx Championship Series season and of his career, his previous win coming two weeks ago in Japan. BRACK also becomes the first multiple winner of the season and the first driver to win back-to-back oval events since Juan Montoya accomplished the feat in 1999 at Nazareth and Brazil. BRACK also has led a series-high 358 laps this season. This also represents car manufacturer Lola's 100th career victory in CART competition. BRACK also pads his points lead in the chase for the CART Championship, leading with 70 points to HELIO CASTRONEVES' 47, CRISTIANO da MATTA's, PAUL TRACY's, and JIMMY VASSER's 40.

• MICHAEL ANDRETTI takes second today in the Miller Lite 225, logging his tenth podium in 17 starts at The Milwaukee Mile. ANDRETTI has led 716 career laps at the fabled track.

• SCOTT DIXON takes his second podium of his CART career with his third place finish today, both of which have come on one-mile ovals. DIXON won at Nazareth last month. DIXON also leads the CART Rookie of the Year chase with 38 points, standing eighth overall in the points battle.

Quotes from today's top three finishers follow:

• KENNY BRACK: "Obviously, it was very difficult conditions today. This weekend we didn't have much running, we only got two hours on Friday, and nothing until this morning. Because of that, the cars had different setups, and the teams didn't get the perfect setup. Maybe we didn't either, but it was better than the rest. (At the start) I got side-by-side with Helio (Castroneves), and I don't know why we didn't hit but we didn't. I saw Michael in my mirror, and that's not a good sight, because he's won here five times. It was a tough race today. It doesn't make a difference in terms of performance, but it's nice when (team owner) Bobby (Rahal) is here and can see us do well. That's something he can take back with him to Jaguar and be proud of. We talk a lot on the phone. He was here, and his last race was Long Beach, and a week ago I was in England, so we're in contact. I wasn't sure about the Lola chassis until Mexico, because we weren't that good on the road courses in testing. We were pretty worried, but we worked to get a good understanding of the car, and it is a good car. The Lola has a good window, and if it's not spot-on, it's still a good car. It's hard to race in this series, and to win two races is a fantastic result. You have to win the races you can win, and finish the races you can't."

• MICHAEL ANDRETTI: "It was a strange race, one of fuel mileage. In the middle stages we were just cruising around trying to save fuel. It was very hard to pass lapped cars. You'd get right up behind them in the turbulence and just stop. At the end of the race I developed a huge understeer, and I couldn't catch Kenny. It is unfortunate, because we had a good car early on. Team Motorola did a great job, we came in second, and went out first. It's just unfortunate, because we had a good car early. We had a problem this morning when the wing broke, and lost angle. I don't know what happened in the race, maybe it was the same thing. I didn't want to let Dixon know that I was having trouble, but then we got the lapped car between us on the last yellow, so I knew it was going to be okay."

• SCOTT DIXON: "It was a good race with where we started. The car was pretty bad on Friday. The car needed a lot of work, and maybe we could have qualified a little better, but not much better than eighth. The car was working pretty well all day. The Toyota engine was really strong. Both my first win in Indy Lights and my first win in Champ Cars (at Nazareth) were on mile ovals. I think the way I drive works well on the one-mile ovals. We need to work on qualifying for the mile ovals, the car was pretty bad in qualifying at Nazareth. I had plenty of fuel on-board, and it looked like Michael was getting looser and looser. I could have made a run on him had I been a little closer. But then the last yellow came out and Patrick (Carpentier) got between us, so I couldn't get up to him."

PENALTY UPDATES:

• CART Chief Steward Chris Kneifel excluded #5 TORA TAGAKI from the conclusion of the race for blocking (CART Rule 8.12) and unjustifiable risk (CART Rule 8.13) regarding his incident with #40 JIMMY VASSER on Lap 133. TAGAKI was credited with 134 laps completed.

"Tora initiated the contact and it was uncalled for. Tora was a lapped car and Jimmy was running third at the time," Kneifel said. "Prior to the contact, Jimmy made a couple of legitimate overtaking attempts and then as they crossed the start/finish line Jimmy pulled alongside Tora, who then began to squeeze him. We will not tolerate such actions."

The move to exclude a driver during an event was not unprecedented and happened as recently as last season. Michael Andretti (Rio), Takuya Kurosawa (Japan), Paul Tracy (Detroit) and Cristiano da Matta (Elkhart Lake) all were excluded for a portion of events last season, all the result of pit-lane incidents involving contact with pit-crew members.

Kneifel's response regarding the possibility of the penalty on Takagi being unprecedented for an on-track incident: "I came aboard as Chief Steward in March so everything as Chief Steward is unprecedented for me at this stage."

• #33 ALEX TAGLIANI was penalized a loss of position by CART Chief Steward Chris Kneifel for blocking #66 ALEX ZANARDI on the final laps (CART Rule 8.12). TAGLIANI was moved from 11th to 12th in the finishing order, moving ZANARDI to 11th. TAGLIANI earns one point instead of two due to the penalty.

• This concludes the Champ Car Pit Notes for the Miller Lite 225. The FedEx Championship Series next travels to Detroit, Michigan for the running of Round Seven of the FedEx Championship Series, the Tenneco Automotive Grand Prix of Detroit on June 17th. Keep up with the comings and goings in the fastest racing series in the world through the official CART website; CART.com. Have a safe week and thanks for your interest in the FedEx Championship Series! Good Night!

-CART

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Chris Kneifel , Michael Andretti , Paul Tracy , Takuya Kurosawa , Cristiano da Matta