Milwaukee

As Alice Cooper once told Wayne Campbell in the blockbuster “Wayne’s World”, “Mille-Walk-eh” is Algonquin for ‘the good land’. I wonder if a Shaman amongst the Algonquin tribes ever had visions of racecars and their corporate shields burning up the historic one mile oval just outside of town in West Allis?

The Milwaukee 225 brought back the Indy Cars and Stars to The Mile…The Mile…The Milwaukee Mile (anyone remember my dad’s tv ads?) and the drivers were completely thrilled to be there.

In a weekend dominated by Dario “Mr. Ashley Judd” Franchitti (and she was not in attendance), taking the pole position and win, the mood amongst the drivers was quite sincere. They were happy to be running Americas oldest race course and elated to have the traditional and fabled stop back on the calendar.

The Danica Watch:
I brought Mike “the Redneck” on Sunday to shoot photos around the paddock and pits and he turned up a “Hum-dinger” that could be a tabloid shot: Ms. IndyCar was riding around on her bicycle and her Andretti Team Fleece rose up just enough to reveal a very pretty “tramp-stamp”. She managed fifth on Sunday which is 2011’s best result–perhaps she is on a roll??? In all honesty she drove a very good and stable race in clearly superior equipment–and deserved the result.

The Rahal Curse
Graham Rahal, as his father watched from the stands (with lots of people buying him beers), was again a bridesmaid for that elusive first IndyCar victory. He was knocking on the door–but like the Andretti Curse at IMS, the Milwaukee Rahal curse (Bobby’s best results: two 2nd place finishes) left the third generation Lebanese racer to seek his first win as the 2011 calendar unfolds…

Simona de Silvestro
Simona and I had a chuckle prior to her driver introduction in the back stage area, as I suggested how happy I was that she was cleared for racing on Sunday, after her Horrific shunt during qualifying Saturday.
Me: So I was worried that you had given your last interview ever to me…
SdS: (Laughs) No I’m still here.
Me: Where does it hurt?
SdS: My back…
Me: I Can only imagine….You hit it a ton…..
SdS: Yes. The crew worked all night to repair the car as we didn’t have a back up.

So Swiss Miss started the race but pitted early due to handling issues. Certainly if the car was pulling even in the slightest on the very flat mile oval, turning the car had to be excruciating…. I have written about her before and remain impressed–I will follow her career with great interest… Rumours around the paddock suggest a possible 2012 Penske ride.

Dancing with the Leaders
On Saturday during a video taped interview (Up later) I asked Helio Castroneves “If you win tomorrow, are you gonna clime the fence?” His response was classic literary racer: “If is not a word in my vocabulary. When. When I win…”

At the two thirds mark of the 225-lap event, I thought I would be seeing the Dancing with the Stars celebrity doing his trademark fence climb to salute the fans, until sadly, a tire went down and he had to pit before the final yellow brought on by a date with the 4th turn wall by Tony “TK” Kannan.

I also have to give Castroneves props for his technical abilities as he suggested then ran and got a white sheet of paper in the Penske Motorhome for White Balancing the Camcorder as we shifted from outside shooting to the dim indoors. Thanks for that memory Helio, that was very classy….

Oriol Servia on a Mission
The final step on the podium went to Oriol Servia. Driving for Newman/Haas for the full season this year, the handsome Spaniard drove an excellent race and said, “It’s awesome. We’ve been close to the podium so many times and things just don’t come easy. We just have to work at it just like we did today.”

Looking forward to the Miller Historics in a couple of weeks!

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