Race Report Milwaukee 225

Race Report: Milwaukee IndyFest 225

MILWAUKEE June 16, 2012—“Tough day,” said Mike Conway after the Milwaukee IndyFest at the Milwaukee Mile Saturday afternoon. However, he and his ABC Supply team hung tough in the demanding 225-lap race in which he started last and finished 16th.

While Conway’s lap times were competitive with the leaders, he had trouble passing slower cars as the track’s racing groove quickly narrowed to one lane.  On lap 162, Conway went a lap down to eventual winner Ryan Hunter-Reay who set a sizzling pace.

The ABC Supply team’s pit stops went well, with all in the 7 or 8-second bracket range. Tough Texan Rodney Klausmeyer resumed his duties as fueler despite sustaining burns to his right hand in a pit lane fire during practice last week at Texas Motor Speedway.

“Our race was all about trying to learn as much as we can with the car really and trying to put on a good show for the ABC Supply guys being it was their home race,” Conway said.  “We managed to fight our way up. Restarts were tough and some of the backmarkers were difficult at the end there. I thought I could get Marco [Andretti] at the end but couldn’t quite nip him because of his straight-line speed. I’d be quicker through the corner but then coming out of the corner I couldn’t pass him. That’s a shame because if I could have got past him I would’ve pulled away. We just have to keep fighting and make it better for Iowa.”

Mike Conway Starts Last in Milwaukee IndyFest

MILWAUKEE June 15, 2012—Mike Conway has nowhere to go but forward in tomorrow afternoon’s Milwaukee IndyFest at the Milwaukee Mile. He will start last in the 25-car field.

After Conway struggled with too much understeer in both practices, the ABC Supply team made some major changes to the No. 14 car before qualifying in a final effort to find the car’s sweet spot.

“We tried a lot of different things in the two practices and we couldn’t get rid of the push in the car so we had to make a more radical change,” said team owner A.J. Foyt.  “We knew we were going to lose 10 spots no matter where we qualified [because of the unscheduled engine change Thursday].  I didn’t want him to hustle it in qualifying because it wasn’t worth the risk. The car reacted the way we expected it to and we got rid of the push finally.  With some minor changes, I think we can give him a good car for the race.”

Notes & Quotes: Milwaukee IndyFest at the Milwaukee Mile

Mike Conway on racing at Milwaukee: “It’s a pretty tough little place – it’s not easy to go flat all the way around. The car’s pretty on edge if you try to get a fast lap but we’ll see what it’s like with the new car once we really get it dialed in. We tested there in May and we have an idea of where we stack up but we have to improve. Our test at Iowa Speedway this week actually helped us in sorting some things out, not only for Iowa but for this weekend’s race also.”

Conway will incur a 10-spot grid penalty at Milwaukee: In a second day of testing at Iowa Speedway this week, Conway experienced engine troubles which will necessitate an engine change before this weekend. Since it is an unscheduled engine change, a 10-spot grid penalty will be assessed after Conway qualifies on Friday afternoon. Others being assessed a grid penalty in Milwaukee because of problems at the Iowa test include points leader Will Power, Scott Dixon, and Texas race winner Justin Wilson. Takuma Sato and Josef Newgarden incurred a grid penalty for engine changes before the Texas race.

Skylar Stecker, the 10-year-old daughter of former NFL running back Aaron Stecker (and wife Kara) and the granddaughter of ABC Supply founder Diane Hendricks, will sing The Star Spangled Banner on Saturday before the Milwaukee IndyFest 225-lap IndyCar race. Stecker, who is pursuing a career in show business, has performed the national anthem at the Wisconsin Badgers hockey games, UCLA baseball games and will be singing at the Green Bay Packers Family Day scrimmage game in August.

Wedding Bells: Chief engineer Don Halliday will miss this weekend’s race because he will be giving his daughter Sophie away in marriage that afternoon in their hometown of Powell, OH.  Sophie and her fiancé David Stump selected the date last fall because there wasn’t a race scheduled on that weekend; the Milwaukee race was added to the schedule in February.

Ray Leto is back with Foyt: Leto will assume chief engineering duties in Halliday’s absence this weekend. Leto worked with AJ Foyt Racing at Indy as chief engineer on Wade Cunningham’s No. 41 ECAT/ABC Supply entry. Leto, a graduate of Penn State (aerospace engineering, ’85), began his IndyCar career as a data engineer at Truesports in 1988 (Halliday joined Truesports the following year). When Rahal-Hogan Racing absorbed the assets of Truesports at the end of 1992, Leto stayed on and worked with Bobby Rahal’s team through 2007. In 2009, Leto and partner Nathan Eagles started TotalSim which does aerodynamic design work using CFD (computational fluid dynamics). The company specializes in motorsports (NASCAR and NHRA) and ground vehicles, working with original equipment auto manufacturers doing aerodynamic design on street cars.