Power, Dixon will have their hands full at Milwaukee
Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - When points leader Will Power and second- place Scott Dixon come to The Milwaukee Mile this weekend, both drivers are facing a bigger challenge than they originally anticipated.
Power and Dixon are among six drivers who received 10-grid spot penalties for unapproved engine changes. Takuma Sato, Mike Conway, rookie Josef Newgarden and Justin Wilson, who won last Saturday's race at Texas, were hit with the same penalties as well.
On Tuesday, 21 drivers participated in a test session at Iowa Speedway to evaluate the short oval aerodynamic package for the new Dallara cars. Dixon's No. 9 Chip Ganassi Racing car sustained a failure of its Honda engine with a few minutes left in the morning session. The Chevrolet engine in Power's No. 12 Team Penske car expired during testing in the afternoon.
"It's going to be hard to win from back there," Power said of the upcoming 225-mile race at Milwaukee.
Eighteen drivers tested May 29 at Milwaukee. Wilson was one of those who participated in the day-long session there.
"We want to hit that weekend with the right set-up right off the bat," he said. "It will take a bit of tuning to go from our old set-ups to something that will work for this car, but I think it will be fine. I've driven four different types of cars there, so I understand what to look for in the car on that track."
The aero package on the cars for the upcoming races at Milwaukee and Iowa are closely aligned with the road/street course platform. Iowa is scheduled for June 23.
"Most of us got to run it in Milwaukee a couple weeks ago after Indianapolis to get a feel for what it's going to be like," Penske driver Ryan Briscoe said. "It's going to be tough. It always is at Milwaukee. But it felt like the tires were definitely going off a lot. That's going to be a big player in the race, much like we saw in Texas.
"You're going to need a good-handling car from about mid-stint on. If you get a long green stint, you're going to see someone with a good car turning laps around the field, and that's going to have to be the focus -- being good over the distance."
Power currently holds a 36-point lead over Dixon, while James Hinchcliffe from Andretti Autosport is 48 points behind. Helio Castroneves, who is Power's teammate, is 53 markers out of the lead.
Last year at Milwaukee, Power started 17th and had a dismal performance during the first half of the race before rebounding in the closing stages to finish fourth. Dario Franchitti started on the pole and led a total of 161 laps en route to his third win of the season. Franchitti also won the inaugural race at Milwaukee in 2004.
"The racing is so good there," he said. "You can run side-by-side with guys. The lapped traffic gets involved. The car goes away at some point. You got to have a good car to start."
Twenty-five teams are on the entry list for the Milwaukee IndyFest.
Series: IZOD IndyCar. Date: Saturday, June 16. Race: Milwaukee IndyFest. Site: The Milwaukee Mile. Track: one-mile oval. Start time: 1 p.m. (ET). Laps: 225. Miles: 225. Television: ABC. Radio: IMS Radio Network/SIRIUS XM Satellite.
06/14 09:58:30 ET