SEAN GUTHRIE HEADS TO THE LEGENDARY MILWAUKEE MILE Debris Causes Flat Tire and Eventual Contact At Indy After Running Solidly In 5th Place ALBUQUERQUE, New Mexico (June 1, 2007) -- Guthrie Racing's Indy Pro Series team and...
SEAN GUTHRIE HEADS TO THE LEGENDARY MILWAUKEE MILE
Debris Causes Flat Tire and Eventual Contact At Indy After Running Solidly In 5th Place
ALBUQUERQUE, New Mexico (June 1, 2007) -- Guthrie Racing's Indy Pro Series team and driver Sean Guthrie are headed back to the traditional Indy Racing League stop on their year-long schedule after the huge "Indy 500" by visiting The Milwaukee Mile, an historic facility encased in a Fairgrounds that welcomes race fans every year. The "Road Runner 100," a one-day Indy Pro Series event scheduled for Saturday, June 2nd, is the fifth race on the 16-race schedule in 2007.
Located on land that was originally a horse farm, The Milwaukee Mile was used for training and racing thoroughbreds. Now used for car racing, the historic track is one of the flattest on the circuit. The first auto race held at the Wisconsin State Fair Grounds, site of the Milwaukee Mile, took place in 1903. Indy car racing in Wisconsin dates to 1911, when 10 of the 40 starters in the inaugural Indianapolis 500 raced at the Milwaukee Mile in a pair of races on the dirt oval.
"From what I know and have heard of the Milwaukee Mile, I'm really looking forward to racing there this weekend. But nothing really translates to Milwaukee as far as what we've learned from other races this year," Guthrie explained of the tricky mile oval. "We tested at Phoenix, which is a mile track, but it's not Milwaukee. Phoenix and Indy share some setups, but not Milwaukee -- it's a different type of track, different aero package, different staggers on the car. If you have not raced on the Milwaukee Mile, you really can't take anything from what you've done in the past to apply it to what you are going to do, so I'll just have to use my library of knowledge from adapting to other tracks and see how I can adapt to a new facility like a totally flat, mile oval.
"We've kind of compiled setups from testing at Phoenix earlier this year, along with taking advice from some other teams," Guthrie continued. "There's a new wing package all the way around, too, which will make things interesting. We plan to go in there slow at first and make it through the first practices. With a one-day event, we can't afford any mistakes, as it would most likely take you completely out of the rest of the day, including the race. If we miss out on any practice time, we'll be really far behind the other teams, especially the ones who have tested on the Mile this year. We hope to have a well-balanced car for the race, which is what we'll focus on. We may qualify a bit back, but as long as we have a good car for the race - that will be what we're aiming for. Hopefully we'll be able to move through the field on our own and, with the inevitable attrition at a tight track like Milwaukee, we think we can finish up front."
Guthrie is coming off of one of the biggest race weekends of his year, having just completed the "Freedom 100" at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Friday, May 25th. The race, on Indy's legendary oval where Guthrie's father had raced three times, had all the promise of a great event for the Guthrie Racing Team. But as the day enfolded, it became quickly evident that the back luck which had haunted the team all year was determined to infiltrate their day.
"I was happy with the first practice results - we ran with the top 10 all day," Guthrie said confidently. "We did what we set out to do and put up some good numbers that would set us up for a good qualifying shot. We didn't qualify as well as I had hoped due to some unfortunate weather conditions, but that was okay as I knew I had a great race car."
Racing at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway is seldom predictable, and what you think might be a good setup, or a good day, can quickly turn into a problem without you even knowing what is around the corner.
"As the race started and progressed, I was happy in the car, coming through the field and getting into 5th by the 10th lap," Guthrie explained enthusiastically. "But I apparently picked up some debris from an earlier incident and that cut a small piece of my tire, which I was unaware of, and it slowly started deflating, which drastically changed the handling of my car. I felt a small push at the beginning of the race, but dealt with it. As the race went on, about 10-15 laps into it as I had worked my way into 5th, that condition suddenly became really bad and pushed me into the wall a bit. I kept going, and I could get back to the pits, but my tire was flat and I needed it changed, which put me several laps down. I was so disappointed for the team and myself because it was no one's fault - it was just debris on the track that dictated how we did that day. But when I found out it wasn't my fault, all I could do was to look forward. As a team, to be successful, we have to face adversity head on, and when we accomplish that, it truly shows how good of a team we are."
Needless to say, the biggest weekend of the year was extremely frustrating for this young driver: "I've been trying to deal with the ups and downs of a ragged start to a season all year. We've run really well all year, especially on the ovals -- and we have one of the best teams in the business. But we just haven't had the luck we've needed. The team is still confident, though, and they have faith in me. We are all confident because we know the particular things keeping us from being front-runners are just bizarre circumstances, not equipment or talent in any area of the team. Milwaukee will be a new experience for all of us, but we've thrived off of challenges, and that might translate into a really good result for us this weekend."
After conquering The Milwaukee Mile oval race, the Indy Pro Series warriors head back to Indianapolis and the treacherous Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course for a double-header weekend on June 16-17, companion events to the Formula One U.S. Grand Prix.
-credit: www.SeanGuthrie.com .