Milwaukee Mile spotlight: Simona de Silvestro

Simona de Silvestro will make her Milwaukee Mile debut in June


Simona de Silvestro Makes her Debut at the Legendary Mile Oval Track on Father’s Day

Simona de Silvestro wanted to go racing at age six, but she had a few obstacles and neither of them was the fact that she was a girl.

It is going to be a driver’s track and I think that will be good for me.

Simona de Silvestro

First, at age six, she could barely reach the pedals of a go-kart. Secondly, her homeland of Switzerland had banned racing, dating back to the 1955 24 Hours of LeMans tragedy. So she had to race in Italy.

But none of those issues hurt the Switzerland native’s chances of establishing a major motorsports career.

In fact, the “Swiss Miss,” only in her second year in the highly-competitive IZOD IndyCar Series, has opened many eyes at the wheel of her No. 78 Nuclear Clean Air Energy Honda/Dallara/Firestone open-wheel machine.

In her “rookie” season in the IndyCar Series, de Silvestro was named the 2010 “Rising Star” and also was honored as the 2010 Indy 500 Chase Rookie of the Year. De Silvestro, a star in the Formula Atlantic series in 2009, captured those awards despite racing in the 17-race tour on a single-car team. The dominant racing teams like Ganassi and Penske have been multi-car operations for decades, and a rookie driver in a one-car organization is usually a backmarker at best.

But Simona’s determined style and “never-give-up” attitude was one of the highlights of the 2010 IndyCar campaign.

"She will surprise some people before this season is over (in 2011)," said Tim Cindric, president of Penske Racing.

Well, it didn’t take long for Cindric’s words to come to fusion.

Simona de Silvestro, HVM Racing
Simona de Silvestro, HVM Racing

Photo by: Eric Gilbert

In the season opener at St. Petersburg in March, de Silvestro avoided some wild early race action to slide through and battle Dario Franchitti for the lead. Simona recorded her career-high fourth and proved that another female star had entered the U.S. motorsports scene. Last week in Brazil, de Silvestro clocked the race’s fastest lap in the rain and diced with the leaders. In the first four races of the 2011, Simona has outperformed Danica Patrick and ranks 11th in points.

Now, de Silvestro comes to the famed Milwaukee Mile for her first effort at the Wisconsin State Fair Park.

“This will be my first race at Milwaukee,” said de Silvestro, who competes on June 18-19 in the Milwaukee 225. “But everyone says I am going to do well there because the track is good for my driving style. So I am really looking forward to going there and it is so much (racing) history at that track. It is going to be a driver’s track and I think that will be good for me. Our plan is to test at Milwaukee before the race and I can get good idea how the track works. It should be fun.”

Being competitive in her Milwaukee 225 debut won’t be an easy task for the personable Swiss driver.

One of the strongest fields in IZOD IndyCar Series history is primed to battle on the historic one-mile oval track during the Father’s Day weekend.

Former Milwaukee winners Dario Franchitti, Scott Dixon, Tony Kanaan, Ryan Hunter-Reay and Ryan Briscoe will be among the favorites when practice opens on Saturday, June 18. Current series point leader and two-time 2011 winner Will Power will another top contender at the Milwaukee Mile along with Helio Castroneves, Graham Rahal, Marco Andretti, Oriol Servia, Long Beach winner Mike Conway and local favorite Patrick, the Wisconsin native.

Tickets for the June 18-19 Milwaukee 225 at the Wisconsin State Fair Park are now available at the ticket office located at 7722 Greenfield Ave. in West Allis as well as through the website or by calling 800-722-3840. The action-packed weekend features ticket prices as low as $35 for Sunday infield general admission for adults, $15 for teenagers (12-16) and children under 12 are free. Sunday grandstand tickets begin at $35.

-source: Milwaukee Mile

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Helio Castroneves , Dario Franchitti , Scott Dixon , Tony Kanaan , Oriol Servia , Graham Rahal , Ryan Hunter-Reay , Ryan Briscoe , Marco Andretti , Mike Conway , Eric Gilbert , Will Power , Simona de Silvestro , Danica Patrick
Teams HVM Racing , Team Penske
Tags indcar, izod, milwaukee mile, simona de silvestro, wisconsin state fair park