WHAT: Menards A.J. Foyt Indy 225, ninth race in 16-race 2004 IRL IndyCarÂ® Series season WHERE: The Milwaukee Mile, West Allis, Wis., 1-mile asphalt oval WHEN: Broadcast: 3:30 p.m. (EDT), Sunday, July 25; Green flag: 3:45 p.m. (EDT), Sunday,...
Menards A.J. Foyt Indy 225, ninth race in 16-race 2004 IRL IndyCar® Series season
The Milwaukee Mile, West Allis, Wis., 1-mile asphalt oval
Broadcast: 3:30 p.m. (EDT), Sunday, July 25; Green flag: 3:45 p.m. (EDT), Sunday, July 25
225 laps/225 miles
More than $1 million
Dallara and Panoz G Force chassis; Chevy Indy V8, Honda H14R Indy V-8 and Toyota Indy V8 engines; Firestone tires
PREVIOUS RACE WINNERS:
Race: ABC (live), 3:30 p.m. (EDT), July 25
Race: IMS Radio Network, 3 p.m. (EDT), July 25
Area affiliate: WAUK-AM 1510, Waukesha, Wis.
Live coverage of MBNA Pole Qualifying (1:45 p.m. EDT) and the race also will be available at www.indyracing.com/indycar.
SCHEDULE: (all times local; subject to change)
FRIDAY, JULY 23
11 a.m. -- IndyCar Series practice (two groups/30 minutes each)
2:45 p.m. -- IndyCar Series practice (two groups/45 minutes each)
SATURDAY, JULY 24
10:30 a.m. -- IndyCar Series practice (two groups/30 minutes each)
1 p.m. -- IndyCar Series MBNA Pole Qualifying
SUNDAY, JULY 25
10 a.m. -- IndyCar Series warmup (all cars/30 minutes)
2:45 p.m. -- Menards A.J. Foyt Indy 225 (225 laps/225 miles)
PRE-RACE QUOTES: (Drivers listed alphabetically)
ALEX BARRON (No. 51 Red Bull Cheever Racing Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone): "I am looking forward to going back to Milwaukee. I've raced there four or five times, and I think there's always good racing there because it's so flat. It seems like there's a lot of passing going on because it's really wide, and some of the cars go off quite quickly. We have some experience there in the IndyCar (Series). We did a test there, and it went quite well. A lot of the guys who are here with the team have experience there, as well. I think we have a good background and a good car setup. We'll just build on that when we get there for the first practice session."
TOWNSEND BELL (No. 2 Menards/Johns Manville Racing Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone): "I won there at Milwaukee in Indy Lights in 2001, then in CART, I raced there, as well. I don't think the track's changed a whole lot. It's a fun place to go. We run maximum downforce there with the IRL package, so that makes it a lot of fun, too, because the speeds are pretty high, and you're driving the car quite a bit."
ED CARPENTER (No. 52 Red Bull Cheever Racing Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone): "I'm looking forward to racing on another short track. I felt comfortable at Richmond, which is another short track. I didn't have an opportunity to test there due to rain, but I'm really looking forward to the challenge of racing at The Milwaukee Mile."
HELIO CASTRONEVES (No. 3 Marlboro Team Penske Dallara/Toyota/Firestone): "Milwaukee holds some great memories for me. It was the place where I got my first Indy-style podium finish as well as my first Indy-style pole, so this track will always have a special place in my heart. The track is fairly flat, with not much banking, which is challenging for both the drivers and the engineers as they try to get an effective setup for the car. Marlboro Team Penske had a good test there a few weeks ago, and we were able to learn a lot about the IndyCar Series package, so I'm looking forward to this weekend. I've had some good results in Milwaukee in the past, and it will be fun to come back this season after being away for three years."
SCOTT DIXON (No. 1 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Panoz G Force/Toyota/Firestone): "Milwaukee is a fun little track that you really have to drive. I've run four races on that track in recent years, and they've all been somewhat memorable. I won the 2000 Indy Lights race there from the pole, and Milwaukee was also where I ran my first race with Target Chip Ganassi Racing. This is the first time the IndyCar (Series) will be running there, but a lot of the drivers are familiar with the track. It's a very flat track, but I think that it will suit our Target Toyota/Panoz G Force quite well, as it is mostly about handling. It'll be very important to qualify well this weekend because there is really only one line, and it isn't easy to pass on this track. You can't go two- or three-wide there, and if you do, it certainly won't be for long, and someone won't be making it to the next corner. As heated as the competition out there has been lately, that probably means it'll be another very interesting race for the fans in the stands and on TV."
ADRIAN FERNANDEZ (No. 5 Quaker State Telmex Tecate Panoz G Force/Honda/ Firestone): "I have been racing at The Milwaukee Mile for a long time, and I always look forward to coming here. I like racing at this track, and I feel very positive about our chances for this weekend. It is a track that we know as a team, and we had a good test here last month. Milwaukee will be our third short-oval race this season, and we have learned a lot of things about the car and definitely have made some gains heading into the weekend. We have shown consistency in finishing the last five races in the top 10, but we need to break into the top three. I think we can do that this weekend."
DARIO FRANCHITTI (No. 27 ArcaEx Dallara/Honda/Firestone): "I'm excited to be going back to Milwaukee. It's a great little racetrack that produces great racing. I have a lot of experience racing there in Indy-style cars, but obviously, this will be my first time in the IndyCar Series. In general, we've been very competitive this season on the track. Unfortunately, for one reason or another, the results don't show that, so I'm hoping for a change of fortune."
FELIPE GIAFFONE (No. 24 Team Purex Dreyer & Reinbold Dallara/Chevrolet/ Firestone): "It's a nice flat 1-mile track and different from most of the ones we visit. You have to be spot-on with the setup because there's not a lot of grip, so a good setup makes a world of difference. I always loved racing Indy Lights here. It's a great town and track to come back to."
BRYAN HERTA (No. 7 XM Satellite Radio Dallara/Honda/Firestone): "I always enjoy Milwaukee. It's a great track, and it's always been great racing there. We had a tough test there, so I think for us, it will be interesting to see how we rebound from that. The XM Satellite Radio team has been good everywhere else this year, but I think this will be our toughest challenge yet."
SAM HORNISH JR. (No. 6 Marlboro Team Penske Dallara/Toyota/Firestone): "I'm really looking forward to this weekend's event at The Milwaukee Mile. I've never raced an IndyCar (Series car) there, I've only raced there in the Toyota Atlantic Series. Marlboro Team Penske ran well at the Open Test in June, so hopefully, we can have another strong finish like this past weekend in Nashville. Personally, this race means a lot to me, as my mom is from Milwaukee, and we still have family there. One of the first dates my mom and dad went on was at The Milwaukee Mile, so it would be great to win there. Plus, two bus loads of folks from Defiance (Ohio) are coming to the race, so there should be a lot of people cheering us on."
TONY KANAAN (No. 11 Team 7-Eleven Dallara/Honda/Firestone): "I'm going to take each race as it comes. It's way too early to be thinking about the championship, other than to just try and get the maximum number of points from each race. That's what I managed to do (at Nashville), and that will be what we'll try to do next week in Milwaukee."
DARREN MANNING (No. 10 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Panoz G Force/Toyota/ Firestone): "The Milwaukee Mile is the only track on the IndyCar (Series) circuit that I do have some experience on. I finished fourth there last year (in Champ Car), one of my better performances of the season, and I think my knowledge of the track will do me some good. It's a new event for the IndyCar (Series) and the flattest track we'll run on this year, and that brings a new challenge. There will be bit less side-by-side stuff because I doubt there will be two grooves. It's a track where handling is very important, and that should be good for the Target team, as we've been pretty solid in setting up the handling of the Toyota/Panoz G Force. I'm definitely looking to improve on my fourth-place finish in Nashville."
KOSUKE MATSUURA (No. 55 Panasonic/ARTA Panoz G Force/Honda/Firestone): "I think the Milwaukee race will be a pretty tough race for us, but we will concentrate on our short-track setup. This is a very difficult track. Although it is an oval, it is a very different type of oval. Our test there was OK, not so good and not so bad. We were able to improve the car and the big understeer that we started with, but it would have helped to have run the second practice day. Adrian (Fernandez) has a lot of experience at this track, which will help us this weekend. This is the halfway point of the season, and it is important to do well in the last eight races."
VITOR MEIRA (No. 17 Rahal Letterman Racing Team Centrix Panoz G Force/Honda/ Firestone): "We had the car to beat at Nashville. I think (teammate) Buddy (Rice) and I had the fastest cars last Saturday, but the fastest cars don't always win. We made some mistakes and that cost us. I think we have shown that our two cars have been really fast in the last few races. Now, it's off to Milwaukee, and I feel good about the Centrix team there. We tested there and learned about the track. Unfortunately, we lost the second day of testing with the rain, but we have a good setup for there. That track is different with the flat track. We have been racing on banked tracks lately, so this is different for our series. I know Rahal Letterman Racing has been successful at Milwaukee in the past. I'm looking forward to racing there."
BUDDY RICE (No. 15 Rahal Letterman Racing Pioneer/Argent Mortgage Panoz G Force/Honda/Firestone): "The Nashville race was a tough one to take. Our team was dominant last Saturday night. Between (teammate) Vitor (Meira) and I, we led 165 of the 200 laps. Unfortunately, we didn't lead the last one. I felt like we could run side by side with everyone at Nashville, but not everyone wanted to do that, so we had some issues late in the race. I hope we can race two abreast in Milwaukee. I think there could be a good outside line there, and if the outside is working well, the racing will be great. That is a classic old track that has seen every big name racer compete there over the years. I raced there in the (Toyota) Atlantics series, and now it's my first IndyCar (Series) race there. I'm looking forward to it. I always looked forward to going to Milwaukee because each year after the race, a bunch of racers would take batting practice with Robin Yount of the (Milwaukee) Brewers. We had practice at the old County Stadium and the new Miller Park. It was a very fun time."
SCOTT SHARP (No. 8 Delphi Dallara/Toyota/Firestone): "It's going to be great to get back to Milwaukee. I raced there at the beginning of my Indy-style car career and immediately took a liking to the track. Being one of the flattest tracks on our schedule, the driver plays a larger role. The Delphi team had a strong test there, and we intend to use this race to get our 2004 season back on track."
TORA TAKAGI (No. 12 Pioneer Mo Nunn Racing Dallara/Toyota/Firestone): "We had another productive meeting with Morris (Nunn) and the engineering team after the Nashville event in preparation for Milwaukee. While it's the first time the IRL has visited Milwaukee, I had the chance to race there several years ago and am very familiar with the track. The Pioneer Mo Nunn team also had an opportunity to visit Milwaukee last month for the Open Test. I was quite impressed by the overall improvements to the facility since the last time I raced there. While we still need to find some speed, we're expecting to be very competitive and hope for a good result."
MARK TAYLOR (No. 13 Access Motorsports Panoz G Force/Honda/Firestone): "We got to test there when I was at Panther (Racing), so I'm used to the track. I had a good test, and with a good result from Nashville, I think we'll be able to move forward from there. With Access Motorsports, the Panoz G Force and Honda, we have great package, and hopefully, we'll look forward to more good results." (About racing with Access Motorsports): "It's been good so far. It's more relaxed than what I was used to at Panther. It's worked well so far. We've gelled quite well, and there have been no issues with seat fitting or anything. We're just working out what I like on the car. With the way Nashville was set up, it was really a one-day test and then the race the next day. We came out quite well. We actually ran into the back of (Felipe Giaffone), which may have cost us a chance to push further up the field. We had a strong finish, and it was good to get a race result. I'm looking positively toward Milwaukee."
DAN WHELDON (No. 26 Klein Tools/Jim Beam Dallara/Honda/Firestone): "I'm looking forward to Milwaukee, but we're going to have to work very hard there. We had a tough test there. I'm sure our entire engineering group and all four drivers will put our heads together and come up with the right plan. Milwaukee should be a race where, if your car is handling well, you can really reap the rewards, and that is what we intend to do with the Klein Tools/Jim Beam car."