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.”After three straight wins by Honda-powered cars, Chevrolet-power took the top six spots. Following Hunter-Reay across the line were: Tony Kanaan, James Hinchcliffe, Oriol Servia, E.J. Viso and Helio Castroneves. Alex Tagliani's car was the first Honda-powered car in seventh place.
The race was delayed for two hours as rain began during the pre-race activities, which was a shame for 10-year-old Skylar Stecker who had to sing the national anthem from inside the track’s media center. The granddaughter of ABC Supply’s founder Diane Hendricks still amazed the crowd of 22,000 with her stirring rendition through the track’s big screen video display and audio system. The military troops present (part of the National Guard presentation as well as the color guard) asked to have their picture taken with the youngster after her performance.
The IZOD IndyCar Series heads to Iowa Speedway this week for Saturday night’s Iowa Corn Indy 250 which will be televised on the NBC Sports Network starting at 8:00 p.m. ET.