Skip to content

Milwaukee’s been the “Big three” domain since 2004

Jun 12, 2013, 6:00 PM EST

Milwaukee IndyFest 225 - Day 2 Getty Images

We’ll get the historical disclaimer out of the way first: INDYCAR (then IRL) first raced at The Milwaukee Mile in 2004, but the track’s history itself is substantially longer. After all, it is the oldest continually operating speedway in North America, after opening in 1903.

Drivers in this year’s Milwaukee IndyFest have history at the track dating back to 1996 – Tony Kanaan and Helio Castroneves made their first starts at the legendary one-mile oval in the Indy Lights race there that year. Dario Franchitti made his Milwaukee debut in the CART race there in 1997.

But in IRL, then INDYCAR-sanctioned races, only teams from the IZOD IndyCar Series’ generally accepted “Big three” teams – Andretti Autosport, Team Penske and Target Chip Ganassi Racing – have won races at the Mile.

Champ Car did run concurrently at the track from 2004 to 2006, with wins taken by Ryan Hunter-Reay (his second of his career, first on an oval), Paul Tracy and Sebastien Bourdais in those three seasons. Bourdais’ win for Newman/Haas is the last at Milwaukee outside the Andretti, Penske, and Ganassi stables.

Franchitti took the first IRL-sanctioned win in 2004, a career-rejuvenating first win since a back injury suffered in 2003 cost him the second half of that season. Sam Hornish Jr. won in 2005 for Penske, with Tony Kanaan scoring each of the next two wins for Andretti in 2006 and 2007.

Ryan Briscoe scored his first ever, and Penske’s 300th as an organization, win in 2008. Target Chip Ganassi Racing dominated the next two Milwaukee races (Scott Dixon in 2009, Franchitti in 2011), although 2010 the track was temporarily closed as it went through financial straits.

Things came right for Hunter-Reay last year, scoring his second Milwaukee win in the first race promoted by Andretti Sports Marketing.

This year is a pivotal one for the race as it marks the first time in five years that the same promoter has done the event in consecutive years; a second successive win for “RHR” or one by one of his three Andretti Autosport teammates would look good.

ASM is also batting a perfect two-for-two in races it has promoted, as Hunter-Reay won not only Milwaukee but also Baltimore last year.

You’ll notice Castroneves’ name has been decidedly absent from this piece to this point. Milwaukee’s been something of a bogey track for him, and he has yet to better a runner-up finish set in his rookie season of CART, in 1998!

Castroneves – and the rest of the field outside the “Big three” – will be looking to topple the empire that has thus far reined over Milwaukee in the last decade.

Latest Posts
  1. Petter Solberg leads after Day 1 of World RX finale in Argentina

    Nov 28, 2014, 7:16 PM EST

    FIAWRXChamp

    Red Bull GRC champs Olsbergs MSE has their drivers second and fourth in the standings so far.

  2. WATCH: NASCAR AMERICA at 5 p.m. ET

    Nov 28, 2014, 4:45 PM EST

    nascar america

    Put down your shopping bags, heat up some Thanksgiving leftovers, and tune in for a Black Friday edition of NASCAR AMERICA on NBCSN.

  3. WEC: Porsche continues to lead the way in Sao Paulo Practice 2

    Nov 28, 2014, 4:31 PM EST

    AUTO-FRA-MOTOR-RACING-ENDURANCE Getty Images

    Mark Webber fastest in second practice for WEC at Interlagos.

  4. WEC: Brendon Hartley leads Porsche 1-2 in Sao Paulo opening practice

    Nov 28, 2014, 3:00 PM EST

    The Goodwood Festival of Speed - Day 2 Getty Images

    Porsche 919 Hybrids run 1-2 in the first session at Interlagos.

  5. WEC draws the curtain on 2014 with Brazilian round this weekend

    Nov 28, 2014, 2:00 PM EST

    BahrainWECstart Getty Images

    The end of the WEC season occurs this weekend in Brazil.

  6. F1 2014 Review: Stories of the Season

    Nov 28, 2014, 1:45 PM EST

    Mideast Emirates F1 GP Auto Racing AP

    We take a look back at some of the biggest stories in Formula 1 this year.

  7. USAC: Christopher Bell wins Turkey Night Grand Prix; Kyle Larson finishes 3rd

    Nov 28, 2014, 1:30 PM EST

    logo-usac

    Rico Abreu locks up USAC Honda Midget Series title with fifth-place finish in Thanksgiving classic.

  8. F1 2014 Driver Review: Fernando Alonso

    Nov 28, 2014, 1:00 PM EST

    Fernando Alonso AP

    Alonso proved once again in 2014 that he has ability exceeding that of the Ferrari car, but even he couldn’t make up for the shortcomings of the F14 T.

  9. Toro Rosso confirms Carlos Sainz Jr. for 2015 F1 season

    Nov 28, 2014, 12:11 PM EST

    F1 Testing In Abu Dhabi - Day One Getty Images

    Spanish driver to race alongside Max Verstappen in 2015, stepping up to make his F1 debut.

  10. F1 2014 Driver Review: Sebastian Vettel

    Nov 28, 2014, 12:00 PM EST

    F1 Grand Prix of Japan - Practice Getty Images

    Red Bull may have been underdogs after winter testing, but few could have predicted Sebastian Vettel’s bid for a fifth world title being as weak as it was.

  11. F1 2014 Driver Review: Valtteri Bottas

    Nov 28, 2014, 11:00 AM EST

    F1 Grand Prix of Germany Getty Images

    After a difficult rookie season, Bottas’ sophomore year in F1 brought far more success, marking the Finn as a possible champion in the future.

  12. Ricciardo expecting good battle with Kvyat next year

    Nov 28, 2014, 10:30 AM EST

    AUTO-PRIX-F1-ENG-SILVERSTONE Getty Images

    Kvyat will replace Sebastian Vettel at Red Bull next year.

  13. Hulkenberg’s Porsche drive a great showcase for modern versatility

    Nov 28, 2014, 10:15 AM EST

    HulkPorsche2 Getty Images

    Nico Hulkenberg and Porsche: a win for both the WEC and F1 in a rare moment of motorsport unity for the common good.

  14. F1 2014 Driver Review: Daniel Ricciardo

    Nov 28, 2014, 10:00 AM EST

    F1 Grand Prix of Hungary Getty Images

    What a year it was for Daniel Ricciardo in his first season at Red Bull.

  15. Hamilton: Second F1 title takes career another step forward

    Nov 28, 2014, 9:30 AM EST

    AUTO-PRIX-F1-BRITAIN-HAMILTON Getty Images

    Talks about a new contract with Mercedes should be brought forwards after title win.

  16. F1 2014 Driver Review: Nico Rosberg

    Nov 28, 2014, 9:00 AM EST

    Austria F1 GP Auto Racing AP

    A worthy title contender, Nico Rosberg enjoyed his most successful season to date in 2014.

  17. F1 2014 Driver Review: Lewis Hamilton

    Nov 28, 2014, 8:00 AM EST

    Lewis Hamilton AP

    2014 saw the Briton become a two-time F1 world champion, winning 11 races.

  18. Raikkonen confident 2015 will hold better things for Ferrari

    Nov 28, 2014, 7:00 AM EST

    F1 Grand Prix of Belgium - Practice Getty Images

    A new regime will come into force at Maranello next season following a disappointing campaign in 2014.

  19. Susie Wolff promoted to test driver at Williams for 2015

    Nov 28, 2014, 6:00 AM EST

    F1 Grand Prix of Germany - Practice Getty Images

    British racer will remain with Williams for 2015 after becoming the first woman to take part in a grand prix weekend session in 22 years over the summer.

  20. Famed NHRA team owner Don Schumacher undergoes cancer surgery

    Nov 27, 2014, 8:46 PM EST

    Don Schumacher and daughter Megan. (Photo courtesy ShoeRacing.com) Don Schumacher and daughter Megan. (Photo courtesy ShoeRacing.com)

    NHRA team owner Don Schumacher underwent surgery Wednesday for early-stage skin cancer.

Video from NASCAR America

Kevin Harvick's well deserved Sprint Cup
Top 10 NASCAR Driver Searches
  1. J. Gordon (1511)
  2. T. Stewart (1463)
  3. J. McMurray (1459)
  4. A. Dillon (1208)
  5. B. Scott (1088)