Arie Luyendyk Jr Blog: Milwaukee Milwaukee has a tradition older than the Indy 500, it is a difficult, flat 1 mile oval. Depending on your car drivers either love or hate this place, Milwaukee has never been good to me but I love driving this...
Arie Luyendyk Jr Blog: Milwaukee
Milwaukee has a tradition older than the Indy 500, it is a difficult, flat 1 mile oval. Depending on your car drivers either love or hate this place, Milwaukee has never been good to me but I love driving this track I was hoping my luck would change this weekend in round 6 of the Firestone Indy Lights Series.
Going into Milwaukee I had a good feeling because of our test we had a few weeks prior. Conditions were about the same as then for the first practice but the balance of the car was just not there, in the first session we ended up P14. In the second practice we made some really positive changes but still suffered from a mid corner understeer and an exit oversteer. Eventually we would come 8th in the second practice so we were steadily improving. Qualifying was up next and this is always one of my favorite times of the weekend on a short oval, the rules have changed for this year as before it was the best of your two laps in qualifying and now it is an average of the two, so you have to made both of them count! The wind was very gusty and strong and on the first lap I was a bit conservative thru turns 3&4 on lap two I pushed a bit too much and lost time in 1&2 but made it back up through 3&4 to almost equaled my first lap coming up with an average of 144.000 m.p.h. for the two lap run, good enough for 5th on the grid. My team- mate Rafa Matos who was a bit quicker than me in practice Qualified 7th. Qualifying was a great feeling an I was happy with the car going into the race.
The race on Sunday was a hard race for me. At the drop of the green flag I retained 5th and ran there through the first few laps with my team-mate close behind, straight away I knew it was going to be a long day because the front end grip was just not there. Turns 1&2 were not too bad but 3&4 there was a big understeer in the mid-corner and the car would go loose if I even thought about going to the throttle with any lock in the wheel. I ended up falling a few positions throughout the race, the car was very difficult to drive behind other cars so when I would approach lap traffic I could not get by and that opened the door to the drivers behind me eventually dropping me to 8th. The majority of the race I battled with Pablo Danoso who continuously blocked me and had it made up in his mind that I was not getting by. Finally he got held up by a back marker and I squeezed by on the inside of 3&4 and moved up to 7th. I drove away from him and set a good pace setting lap times equal to my team-mate who eventually finished 3rd. A few laps later I came upon a lap car and after a fw laps he closed back in and passed me as I could not get by. Needless to say it was a frustrating race because the car would not work well in traffic and was on the edge every lap but we still finished 8th and walked away with some points at the tough 1 mile oval.
Some of the front runners of the Championship had poor results and with my 8th place finished I actually moved back up into 5th in the standings. Next up on my agenda is a test on Thursday at Mid-Ohio and then on to a test at the short oval in Iowa on the 11th.
-credit: arie luyendyk jr