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.

Team Manager Craig Baranouski will fuel this weekend: Due to regular fueler Rodney Klausmeyer suffering burns to his right hand in a pit lane fire during practice at Texas last Friday, Baranouski will continue to sub for Klausmeyer until he can return.

Past performance at Milwaukee: In his two appearances at the track, Conway’s best start was 11th in 2009 and his best finish was 12th in 2011. In six appearances since IndyCar returned in 2005, the Foyt team’s best start (15th) and best finish (11th) came with Darren Manning in 2007.

ABC Supply roofing customer, Blue Hills Roofing, located in Eau Claire, WI, won the ‘Your Name Here’ contest for the Milwaukee IndyFest at the Milwaukee Mile. The company name will be atop the sidepods of the No. 14 ABC Supply Dallara/Honda.  Owner Steve Falstad and his wife Gisella will receive selected merchandise, race tickets, hospitality and garage passes, plus a Meet and Greet with A.J. Foyt and Mike Conway.

Steve Opperman will be the ABC Supply Honorary Crew Member of the Race this weekend. Opperman, 32, lives in Fond Du Lac, WI and is a truck driver for the Company which has employed him since 2008. It will be his first time behind the scenes. He attended the 2009 IndyCar race at Milwaukee.

ABC Supply will entertain nearly 800 guests at Saturday’s race. Prior to 2012, the company had entertained over 35,000 guests at IndyCar races since it began sponsoring A.J. Foyt’s team in 2005.

The Milwaukee IndyFest will be shown live at 1:00 p.m. ET Saturday, June 16 on ABC-TV.