THE LONG AND SHORT OF IT Milwaukee, WI (June 2, 2007) - It was a long day for Team KMA Racing that ended shorter than planned. The Indy Pro Series race at the Milwaukee Mile was a one-day event with practice, qualifying and the race all wrapped...
THE LONG AND SHORT OF IT
Milwaukee, WI (June 2, 2007) - It was a long day for Team KMA Racing that ended shorter than planned. The Indy Pro Series race at the Milwaukee Mile was a one-day event with practice, qualifying and the race all wrapped up into one, which makes for a very long day.
As teams rolled out onto the track for the morning's first practice and with only a few laps completed Robbie Pecorari driving the Team KMA Racing Cabo Wabo Tequila sponsored #13 spun coming out of turn 2 and backed it into the wall. "The car felt fine," stated Pecorari. "It felt very neutral, but all of a sudden the back snapped loose and all I could do was try to keep it off the wall. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to. Milwaukee is a very tricky track with very low banking. I just got up to speed a little too soon."
The Milwaukee race only had a one 1-hour practice session followed by a 40 minute session later that was split up between the teams with 20 minutes each on track. Missing the first practice session would make for a long day. "We definitely had our work cut out for us," commented Team co-owner and manager Jon Lewis. "We really needed to have Robbie out there in the first session so we could dial in the car and so he could get a good feel for the track. But, that's racing." The Team KMA crew went to work to get the car ready for the second practice session. "I'm very proud of my team members," Lewis continued. "The hit wasn't all that bad, but we needed to do a thorough inspection and had a lot of parts to replace. They got it done and I'm very proud of them."
During the second practice session Pecorari felt that the car was very tail happy and came into the pits for a front spring change. With only a 20 minute session, this reduced the number of quality laps for the young driver, but he felt the changes made the car much better.
On the ovals, qualifying is accomplished by each car running separately and two hot laps are counted for the qualifying position. Pecorari qualified the Cabo Wabo Tequila car in 19th place. "The car felt pretty good," said Pecorari. "But with very little track time, I wanted to play it a little safe and just get it into the show. Milwaukee is known for on-track incidents, so we felt that we needed to get her in and then I'd work my way up the field during the race."
As the race started, Robbie settled into a good race pace. "The car felt good and I could already see that I could start moving up the field right away." But, on lap 10 a crash involving Hideki Mutoh, Andrew Prendeville and Chris Festa sent the field scurrying to avoid the spinning cars. "Jon called for me to go low to avoid the accident," said Pecorari. "So I did, but then one of the cars hit the other which sent it down towards the bottom of the track and I had nowhere to go. I took a pretty good hit in the front and tore up the nose quite a bit."
Pecorari brought the car into the pits and after examination of the damage the Team KMA crew sent him back onto the track. The nosebox was pretty torn up but the front wing was still intact, yet slightly damaged from the incident.
As Pecorari continued on, a slight vibration in the steering began to get stronger. "The car felt alright for a few laps and I could challenge some of the other cars," Pecorari continued. "But, then the car just got progressively worse and all I could do was work to keep it on the track." Now several laps down to the leaders and after radio consultation with the crew, the decision was made to park the car and not risk damage to the car and injury to the driver. Later inspection showed that the angle of the front wheels was also affected from the contact.
"It was definitely not the result we were looking for," said Lewis. "Not one of our better weekends. But, this happens in racing. If it were easy, everybody would do it. Robbie and the crew did a good job. It just wasn't our day. We dropped back a few places in the Championship, but we gained a few points in the Rookie Championship and that's what we have our eye on. The United States Grand Prix is coming up in a couple weeks and Robbie has a lot of experience on the road courses. We have to concentrate on that right now."