Though The Milwaukee Mile is one of the shortest tracks on the 2011 IZOD IndyCar Series schedule, the Milwaukee 225 turned into a long day at the office for Sam Schmidt Motorsports driver Alex Tagliani.
The Canadian struggled with the handling of his No. 77 Bowers & Wilkins Dallara/Honda/Firestone car to finish 18th, just one place better than he started.
“There’s no point in trying to make things worse than what they are,” said Tagliani in his pit stall after the race. “The car was very, very nervous. We struggled all weekend with the set-up. I think in qualifying, we made an improvement, but we were not 100 percent sure we were going in the right direction. We tried something different in the race, but it was just a guess we took. We got it wrong.”
With his ill-handling car, Tagliani said his goal was to stay out of the way of his fellow IndyCar competitors, which he noted is difficult on the action-packed The Milwaukee Mile.
“Unfortunately, our problems made it a very difficult car to drive. We started the race in an aggressive mode to try and make some positions up really quick, but the car was very, very loose. On a short track like this, it makes for a very long race. Because it is a short track, you don’t want to be in anyone’s way and yet keep it off the wall. The team never gave up. We made a big change in the pits (changed rear springs), and that was the right thing to do because I don’t think I never would have made it to the finish.”
The Milwaukee 225 was dominated by Ganassi Racing’s Dario Franchitti. The Scottish driver led 161 laps after starting on the pole. He beat teammate Graham Rahal to the finish line by 1.4271 seconds.
Newman Haas Racing’s Oriol Servia finished in third place, while Team Penske’s Will Power and Andretti Autosport’s Danica Patrick rounded out the top five. For Patrick, this was her best finish of the season and the best since she finished second at last season’s finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
By winning today’s Milwaukee 225, Franchitti notched his third win of the 2011 season and the 29th IndyCar victory of his career.
With seven of 17 races complete, Tagliani is eighth in the championship standings with 147. Power and Franchitti are tied with 271 while Servia is in third place with 198 points.
The next IZOD IndyCar Series event is the Iowa Corn 250 at Iowa Speedway Saturday night June 25 in Des Moines. The race starts at 8 p.m. ET with TV coverage provided by Versus.
Date: June 19, 2011
Event: Milwaukee 225 (Round 7 of 17)
Series: IZOD IndyCar Series
Location: The Milwaukee Mile in West Allis, Wis. (1-mile oval)
Start/Finish: 19th/18th (Running, completed 196 of 225 laps)
Winner: Dario Franchitti of Ganassi Racing