Milwaukee Pole Belongs To Andretti
WEST ALLIS, Wis. – Consider that Marco Andretti is driving his father’s race car at a race promoted by his father on Father’s Day Weekend and he is starting on the pole for Saturday’s Milwaukee IndyFest at The Milwaukee Mile.
“There’s no pressure there, Bro,” quipped Andretti Autosport teammate James Hinchcliffe.
Michael Andretti couldn’t be prouder of his son and his team, especially after all four of his IZOD IndyCar Series drivers swept four of the top-five positions in Friday’s qualifications for Saturday’s race.
Marco led the Andretti charge when he claimed the third pole of his career with a two-laps average of 170.515 miles per hour around the flat one-mile oval at the Wisconsin State Fair Park.
“It would be huge to win this race for my dad (team owner Michael) on Father’s Day Weekend,” Marco Andretti said. “I told him hopefully the pole is only half of his Father’s Day gift. I think we have the car to do it and hopefully we are up to the task. For Andretti Autosport to get four out of the top five in qualifications is pretty awesome.”
Hinchcliffe was on the pole with a two-lap average of 170.418 mph before Marco began his run.
“We knew James Hinchcliffe was going to be the one to beat,” Andretti said. “I knew I was going to have to go flat in Turns 1 and 2 on both laps and I was able to pull it off. It was tough to find the balance on end to end because the wind was doing different things. The car so far is right where we need to be in race trim, too. There is no magic; it’s just doing everything right.”
Hinchcliffe’s second-place starting position matched his career best at Barber in 2012. It may put him in the preferred outside racing lane for this short oval race that is generally considered one of the best tracks on the IndyCar Series schedule. It combines driver skill along with race setup and near-constant traffic that creates quite a challenge.
“For where we were on the car in practice we are all pleased with this,” Hinchcliffe said. “If you had told us three hours ago we would be on the front row everybody would have been laughing at you on our truck. In our first practice I tried to move the wall in Turn 2. It didn’t work. Failed experiment. We were chasing an ill-handling car. We were scratching our heads a bit. The team did a great job going over the whole car. I took a nap, rebooted and went out and ran my first flat-out qualifying laps at Milwaukee.
“If you are going to lose pole at least do it to a teammate. It sucks. I’ve been second three times now. Always a Bridesmaid and never a Bride. I just want to get that pole.”
Hinchcliffe is the only driver to win more than one IZOD IndyCar Series race this season but both of his wins have come on street circuits. The driver from Toronto believes an oval victory would elevate his career and status as a race driver.
“It would be huge,” Hinchcliffe said. “I grew up street racing and road racing. I would like to think my times in Indy Lights taught me a lot about oval racing. In 2011 I matched my best finish on an oval twice and last year I matched my best finish of the year on an oval as well here at Milwaukee. To win here would be awesome. I love this place. Greg Moore got his first win and Paul Tracy was good here so Maple Leafs do well at this track.