Skip to content

Milwaukee IndyFest goes down smoothly, drama-free for IndyCar

Jun 17, 2013, 3:00 PM EDT

061713_IndyFest AP

Something weird happened at the IZOD IndyCar Series’ weekend at The Milwaukee Mile. It was just a pure race that went down as smooth as a cold Spotted Cow.

IndyCar is in a mad stretch of six races in five weekends. The Indianapolis 500 kicked it off, followed by the doubleheader in Detroit, the lone 1.5-miler this year in Texas, the lone one-miler in Milwaukee this weekend and next week, the 0.875-miler in Iowa.

Indy has the month-long hoopla before the race. Detroit featured something new with the doubleheader concept and a press conference discussing the “infamous aero kits.” Texas was, by most accounts including this author’s, disappointing compared to the package showcased in 2012 and, in the eyes of some, a wasted opportunity for a prime-time network broadcast.

So with this weekend’s race in Milwaukee featuring no extra drama, no sidebar press conferences or tweets and none of the drivers bitching about anything except traffic – which you’d expect given its history and tight quarters – it was a refreshing tonic from the usual madness that often comes as a side dish on an IndyCar weekend.

“To me it was typical Milwaukee. It’s all about traffic,” said Michael Andretti, event promoter and winning car owner for Ryan Hunter-Reay. “Without traffic you normally don’t have passing here. That’s been since when I started racing here. That’s what makes it exciting, is having a car that works in traffic. That’s what won the race, to be honest with you.”

“Well, certainly Milwaukee Mile always gave a fantastic race,” said runner-up and IndyCar points leader Helio Castroneves. “I don’t remember a time that there was a very difficult one. Probably a long time ago in CART times, Champ Car times.

“Right now I feel on the one-mile oval, but also the one-and-a-half-mile oval, we have a good package. We still remember like the side-by-side and things like that. Before side-by-side, it was this style of racing. I think it’s even more fun.”

“If the fans knew how hard we were having to push, they did a good job with televising it, telling the story, catching all the passes in the middle of the pack, it would look like a great race,” added his Team Penske teammate Will Power.

“I just think, like Helio said, when we used to go to Texas, it was pack racing, the leader would stay on the white line, wide open, there would be guys right behind him wide open and never pass. Is that talent?  No. Your grandma could jump in and do it.”

From an on-the-ground perspective, you can tell the effort Andretti’s Andretti Sports Marketing group has put into this race, now having had a full year to promote the event as opposed to the last-minute assembling of the 2012 race (race in June, announced in February).

A packed infield provides a ton of options for families. The racing is close and captivating from the grandstands, and translated well thanks to the broadcast effort by the entire NBC Sports Network team.

As Andretti said afterwards, those who took the weather forecast as gospel earlier in the week missed out.

“The last few days definitely hurt us with the forecast. It was a real shame because in the end, look at the sun shining,” he said. “I’m thinking it kept some people home and they’re going to be sorry they were home because it was such a great event.”

This video is no longer available. Click here to watch more NBC Sports videos!
Latest Posts
  1. Gordon’s Brickyard legacy superb, but can’t be compared to other Indy legends

    Jul 27, 2014, 7:52 PM EDT

    Jeff Gordon AP

    A world of differences make it impossible to weigh Jeff Gordon’s accomplishments at Indy against those of A.J. Foyt, Rick Mears, Al Unser Sr., and Michael Schumacher.

  2. Kyle Larson has solid outing in first Brickyard 400

    Jul 27, 2014, 6:52 PM EDT

    (Photo: Sean Gardner/Getty Images) (Photo: Sean Gardner/Getty Images)

    INDIANAPOLIS – Jeff Gordon gave himself an early 43rd birthday present with Sunday’s Brickyard 400 win. Kyle Larson also gave himself an early birthday present – his 22nd will be Thursday – with a solid seventh-place finish in his first Brickyard.

  3. Joe Gibbs Racing has great overall Brickyard run, but Denny Hamlin’s car could have issues

    Jul 27, 2014, 6:13 PM EDT

    joe gibbs AP

    INDIANAPOLIS – It wasn’t quite the 1-2-3 finish they might have hoped for, but it was almost just as good for Joe Gibbs Racing’s three drivers in Sunday’s Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Kyle Busch finished second to winner Jeff Gordon, followed by Denny Hamlin in third and Matt Kenseth was fourth.

  4. Kyle Busch picks up 3rd runner-up finish in last 4 races

    Jul 27, 2014, 5:41 PM EDT

    Crown Royal Presents The John Wayne Walding 400 Getty Images

    Rowdy continues his strong performance as of late with another P2 at Indianapolis.

  5. Kasey Kahne unable to hang on late at the Brickyard

    Jul 27, 2014, 4:45 PM EDT

    Kasey Kahne AP

    Kasey Kahne led a race-high 70 laps, but lost the Brickyard 400 lead to Jeff Gordon on a restart with 16 laps to go and faded to sixth.

  6. Jeff Gordon wins record 5th Brickyard 400 in vintage fashion

    Jul 27, 2014, 4:17 PM EDT

    (AP Photo/Robert Baker) AP

    INDIANAPOLIS – It was an oldie but goodie performance as Jeff Gordon – seven days short of his 43rd birthday – rallied late to win Sunday’s 21st Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

  7. Hungarian GP Paddock Notebook – Sunday

    Jul 27, 2014, 3:00 PM EDT

    Hungary F1 GP Auto Racing AP

    One final round-up from the Hungaroring following Daniel Ricciardo’s supreme victory.

  8. Broken axle spoils Danica Patrick’s day, Brickyard win hopes

    Jul 27, 2014, 2:53 PM EDT

    (Photo: Sean Gardner/Getty Images) Getty Images

    A broken rear axle ended Danica Patrick’s day prematurely in Sunday’s Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

  9. Brickyard 400 Update: Strategies shifting, but Kahne’s leading at halfway

    Jul 27, 2014, 2:43 PM EDT

    Crown Royal Presents The John Wayne Walding 400 Getty Images

    Strategy plays have been plentiful in the first half of today’s race at Indianapolis.

  10. Sebastian Vettel struggles to seventh in Hungary after spin

    Jul 27, 2014, 2:00 PM EDT

    F1 Grand Prix of Hungary Getty Images

    Defending world champion has a quiet race at the Hungaroring; now 43 points behind Ricciardo in the drivers’ championship.

  11. Hamilton unsure why he was asked to let Rosberg past

    Jul 27, 2014, 1:15 PM EDT

    Hungary F1 GP Auto Racing AP

    Briton was asked twice to let Rosberg past, but he defied team orders on both occasions.

  12. Carl Edwards says he has a 2015 deal “worked out”

    Jul 27, 2014, 1:03 PM EDT

    Camping World RV Sales 301 - Practice Getty Images

    “I have a deal moving forward. I can’t announce it yet. When all those pieces come together, it’ll be announced and we’ll talk about it.” – Edwards

  13. Perez and Ericsson crash hard in Hungary (VIDEOS)

    Jul 27, 2014, 12:30 PM EDT

    F1 Grand Prix of Hungary Getty Images

    Big crashes for both Perez and Ericsson, but luckily neither suffered any injuries.

  14. Alonso: Second place “a nice surprise” for Ferrari

    Jul 27, 2014, 12:00 PM EDT

    F1 Grand Prix of Hungary Getty Images

    Best result of the season for Ferrari with Alonso second and Kimi Raikkonen P6.

  15. Announcement of Edwards’ exit from Roush Fenway had some strange timing

    Jul 27, 2014, 11:55 AM EDT

    Crown Royal Presents The John Wayne Walding 400 - Practice Getty Images

    By making announcement hours before Brickyard 400, team owner Jack Roush didn’t seem to do Edwards any favors.

  16. Rosberg disappointed with fourth place behind Hamilton (VIDEO)

    Jul 27, 2014, 11:30 AM EDT

    F1 Grand Prix of Hungary Getty Images

    Championship lead shrinks by three points after finishing half a second behind Hamilton at the flag.

  17. Hungry Hamilton charges from the pit lane to the podium

    Jul 27, 2014, 11:00 AM EDT

    F1 Grand Prix of Hungary Getty Images

    Cuts the gap to Nico Rosberg by three points, leaving the gap at just eleven for the summer break.

  18. Ricciardo elated with second Formula 1 victory in Hungary

    Jul 27, 2014, 10:45 AM EDT

    F1 Grand Prix of Hungary Getty Images

    Red Bull driver won a sensational grand prix ahead of Fernando Alonso and Lewis Hamilton.

  19. Carl Edwards to leave Roush Fenway Racing at season’s end

    Jul 27, 2014, 10:33 AM EDT

    Camping World RV Sales 301 - Practice Getty Images

    Roush Fenway Racing announces that its 2015 Sprint Cup driver lineup will feature Greg Biffle, Ricky Stenhouse Jr., and Trevor Bayne.

  20. Ricciardo rockets to sensational Hungarian GP victory

    Jul 27, 2014, 9:59 AM EDT

    Hungary F1 GP Auto Racing AP

    Australian driver claims a sensational win for Red Bull, the second of his F1 career.