Yesterday was a strange day. It was one of the craziest and longest days for me, but one of the shortest IndyCar track days that we’ve ever had. One thing was for certain, Saturday’s events were the definition living full throttle. For me personally, it started off with riding rollercoasters at Cedar Point in Ohio, for a Travel Channel filming, then continued by trucking it to through four states with Milwaukee as the ultimate destination. I made it within 15 minutes of the Verizon IndyCar Series first practice session of the short race weekend and things continue to move at an insane pace, which I love.
The practice session was relatively uneventful. We saw Chip Ganassi Racing driver Scott Dixon get loose behind the No. 1 of Will Power, coming out of Turn 4 as the checkered flag waved to end the evening. Josef Newgarden addressed this after the race, explaining, “Last year you generally got understeer behind someone, you couldn’t get close. This year I think you could lose the rear. You might actually see guys spin when they get behind someone.” He admitted that the track seemed a little harder than in past seasons.
This raises the question of if we could see more pack racing later today. Two weeks ago in Fontana, it made for an incredible race to watch – though the debate as to whether that was a positive or negative, still continue. The tracks are incredibly different – the most obvious difference being that speeds will not be nearly as fast here in Wisconsin, due to the shorter track size. But running in the 160’s and having the potential to get loose and spin at a track where that has normally not been a huge concern, could make this evening quite interesting.
The quickest driver in last night’s run was the aforementioned CFH driver, Josef Newgarden. He came in with a top lap speed of 169.626, completing a once-around the Milwaukee Mile in only 21.5415 seconds. Newgarden’s best start is P5, here at the Mile. Simon Pagenaud, the fastest Team Penske car was right behind Josef, within a few hundredths of a second. He smoked his teammates in the session with Helio Castroneves running next fastest from the Penske camp, in P8. Will Power rounded out the Top 10 quickest while Juan Pablo Montoya found himself in unfamiliar territory, in the back half of the pack, running P15.
A.J. Foyt Racing driver Takuma Sato and most recent race winner, Graham Rahal of RLL Racing brought the fastest Hondas in the field to P3 and P4. Former IndyCar Series Champion, Ryan Hunter-Reay of Andretti Autosport and James Jakes in the No. 7 for Schmidt Peterson Motorsports were the only other Honda’s in the Top 10 by practice end on Saturday.
Today feels like living at full throttle as well, with the second and final practice kicking off at 9:15am CT and running for 45 minutes, the Indy Fans Tweet Up at 10:15am CT, and Qualifying from 12:30pm to 1:30pm CT. The ABC Supply Wisconsin 250 will air on NBC Sports at 4pm CT, 5pm ET. Make sure you tune in – I have a feeling that this is going to be a race to remember.
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