Four Lap Qualifying Session Intro’d; Takes Place Just Six Days After Indy 500
MILWAUKEE, Wis. (January 22, 2008) – The IndyCar Series Pole Position winner will have to turn four consecutive qualifying laps around The Milwaukee Mile on Saturday, May 31, leading up to the following afternoon’s ABC Supply / A.J. Foyt 225 IndyCar Series race.
Stemming from an IndyCar Series announcement today, stating all oval tracks on their 2008 schedule wil embrace the Indy 500 heritage of four-lap qualifying sessions, the brave open wheel stars of the IndyCar Series will have to attempt their four blistering laps at The Milwaukee Mile just six days after the 92nd Running of the Indianapolis 500.
“Qualifying is one of the most nerve-wracking experiences for an IndyCar Series driver,” said Brian Barnhart, president of the competition and operations division of the Indy Racing League, the sanctioning body of the IndyCar Series and the Indy Pro Series. “At Indianapolis, that has meant 10 miles of error-free driving at 225-plus miles per hour. We’re going to take that kind of intensity and drama to every other oval on our schedule.”
For an unparalleled 51st time, The Milwaukee Mile follows the spectacle of the Indianapolis 500 on the IndyCar Series schedule the following weekend.
“This announcement adds to the momentum of The Mile hosting the next race right after the Indy 500, and our fans will truly enjoy watching these extremely talented IndyCar Series drivers in breath-taking speed runs around America’s Legendary Oval on our Saturday, May 31 IndyCar Series Pole Day,” commented Craig Stoehr, chairman of The Milwaukee Mile.
The Indy Pro Series qualifying session at The Milwaukee Mile on Saturday, May 31 will take on a new spin as well, utilizing a cumulative two-lap qualifying attempt to set the field for a 100-mile sprint race on Sunday, which will serve as a prelude to the ABC Supply / A.J. Foyt 225 IndyCar Series race, set for a 3:00 p.m. CST green flag on Sunday, June 1.
What IndyCar Series drivers are saying about the new four-lap qualifying format:
Darren Manning, A.J. Foyt Racing
“I don’t know if I can hold my breath for four laps. Normally it’s just two laps you’ve got to hold your breath. At some of these tracks, I think it’s going to be a big difference. I think that will be better for the teams like ourselves that are trying to break into the big league. They maybe could really out qualify us, but then in the race, you find that you’re racing with them. Normally, somebody might put in an absolute flyer just for one lap and then pull into the pits. They’ve got to do it for four laps now.”
Marco Andretti, Andretti Green Racing
“It will be interesting, especially at the Milwaukees and Richmonds. There are some ovals where it can be quite easy for one lap. This will make it tougher to get a balance for the four laps. Even on some of the bigger ovals, it will be a bigger challenge to get balance and speed while staying on the line.”
Helio Castroneves, Team Penkse
“It’s a new challenge. That’s the way they do it at Indianapolis, so it’s great to have it at other race tracks. It should be fun and exciting. It will be tight, that’s for sure. It should be very competitive.”
Scott Dixon, Target Chip Ganassi Racing
“It’s going to be great for the first couple if you do well, but it’s going to make it challenging. I know that I can put one lap together quite comfortably at Milwaukee, but trying to put four together is a different story. It makes qualifying something you need to work on for consistency, which will help the racing, as well.”
New for 2008, all Saturday, May 31 IndyCar Series Pole Day tickets are general admission priced at $15 for adults, with children aged 12 and under admitted free with an issued ticket.
Adding to the stimulating practice and qualifying sessions for the IndyCar Series and Indy Pro Series will be a 150-mile stock car race in the afternoon, featuring the nation’s top stock car talents competing in the USAR Hooters Pro Cup Series.
Tickets are now available through The Milwaukee Mile ticket office at 7722 W Greenfield Ave, by calling (414) 453-8277, or by visiting the speedway’s website, www.milwaukeemile.com.
ABOUT THE MILWAUKEE MILE:
The Milwaukee Mile is the world’s oldest active motor speedway, dating back to 1903. America’s Legendary Oval offers world-class auto racing featuring the stars of the Indianapolis 500 in the IndyCar Series June 1, plus the talented teams competing in the NASCAR Nationwide Series and NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series June 20 & 21. In addition, The Mile plays host to a diverse cross-section of short track series and racers including NASCAR champion Matt Kenseth, on the speedway’s traditional Governor’s Cup weekend August 22-24. The annual “Drive The Mile” event which allows fans to drive their personal vehicles around the track with proceeds benefiting charity is scheduled for May 4. For the latest on activities at The Milwaukee Mile, visit the speedway’s website, www.milwaukeemile.com.