By Amy Konrath
Today’s IZOD IndyCar Series and Firestone Indy Lights headlines:
1. If you missed it: Will Power teleconference
2. Dale Coyne Racing rolls strike
3. Upcoming test days
4. What better tie to Father’s Day than Dad’s Root Beer?
1. If you missed it: Will Power teleconference: IZOD IndyCar Series driver Will Power participated in a teleconference today to preview this weekend’s Milwaukee 225. A full transcript and MP3 audio of the call is available at www.indycar.com/media. Selected quotes are below.
Q. As I mentioned, Will leads the points standings by 21 points over Dario Franchitti heading into this weekend’s Milwaukee 225.
Will, you got that first win on an oval last weekend at Texas. How much confidence does that give you heading into Milwaukee, a place you say you love?
WILL POWER: Yeah, it’s always a boost when you win a race. I’m just enjoying ovals a lot this year. I know the result at Indy wasn’t really what we wanted, but still I really, really had fun in the race, felt great in the car. Obviously the same with Texas.
But, yeah, I’d have to say I was very, very excited to get my first win. It was like the first time I ever won a race is what it felt like. It was a very good feeling and it was basically like a home race to me because my wife is from there, all her family were there at the track. Yeah, just a very good day.
Q. The next race is at Milwaukee. You were mentioning it’s one of your favorite tracks. Even though you don’t have a lot of laps around there in a race, what do you remember about the circuit that can help you this weekend?
WILL POWER: Yeah, I just love it. It’s flat. You have to lift. You have to downshift, upshift. I think it’s important to have on the schedule. It’s a great track, a lot of history. It creates good racing because you can run a couple of lines.
I think everyone’s going to be happy. Fans are going to be happy to see us race back there. Hopefully we get a good crowd.
Q. Looking ahead past Milwaukee, the next race is Iowa, a short oval. You can gain or lose a lot of points there. What are your thoughts about the Iowa Speedway?
WILL POWER: Yeah, that was my first oval pole. I had a good race. I think I finished fifth. I have a good idea in my head what I want to do to make the car better this year.
Yeah, I think I’m going to definitely build on that result from last year. Once again, it’s a track that I enjoy. It’s a short oval. You probably have to shift a bit. You can run two lanes, which makes it really good for passing.
Q. Will, all the back-and-forth discussions about the Texas thing, are you kind of tired of hearing about it at this point?
WILL POWER: Yeah, I honestly don’t really read anything after races. The only time I hear about articles is if I said something wrong and the team informs me that I said something wrong, then I know about it (laughter). Otherwise, I don’t really read any of it.
Yeah, I’m sure after the press conference and what I can sense from Dario, you know, he wasn’t entirely happy about the situation. We all knew about it going into it. In fact, I agreed with him. I didn’t think that was the best way to do it. But it was what it was. That’s how it ended up.
Q. There are a lot of theories going around about what IndyCar should do should there be another doubleheader. Do you have any thoughts on those theories, like inverting the top field?
WILL POWER: Yeah, I think in GP2 they invert the top 10. That makes for good racing because not only do you have a race for the win in the first race, you also have a race for 10th place or to get in the top 10. I think it makes it more exciting, especially if the fans are aware of what’s going on.
I’m not sure inverting the whole field is the best idea around that joint because it’s so fast, can be dangerous. But I think it would have been awesome with one single race, as well. That place creates good racing.
But, yeah, there’s some good ideas. I think the best way would be to invert the top 10.
Q. You were talking earlier about things you got to do. Kanaan ran on Stewart’s dirt track race. If you got invited to that, would that be something you would lobby for?
WILL POWER: Most definitely, I would love to do it. I raced on the dirt when I was younger, when I was 16, 17. Yeah, that’s something I would do.
Q. Where did you race at?
WILL POWER: I raced in a dirt track series when I was 16. It was actually dirt road courses. They’re short tracks. Yeah, it was just good fun. It was great. I love that sort of driving where it’s all car control. You’re really driving the thing. That’s something I definitely would enjoy doing.
Q. Do you feel with the growing field we have, are we having too many cars for the short tracks? The two-and-a-half-mile speedways are fine, but one-and-a-half miles, 30 cars, is that too many cars?
WILL POWER: We’ll see this weekend. It’s going to be 26 cars here at Milwaukee. You might be right. But I think what it does, it makes the racing probably better because you can’t see in traffic and you have to read it well. As long as the standard of drivers is right up there, which it is right now, you can’t really pick any bad drivers out of the field.
I guess at some point they can only fit a certain number in pit lane. I don’t even know if they can pit 30 cars at Milwaukee. I don’t know.
2. Dale Coyne Racing rolls strike: More than 70 million people a year bowl, according to Bart Burger, vice president of business development for the Bowling Proprietors’ Association of America. Wisconsin has more than 300 bowling centers. The IZOD IndyCar Series and its Mazda Road to Indy ladder series competes in Milwaukee this weekend.
Hey, how about a cross-promotion?
“It makes great sense to be represented in one of the greatest venues,” Burger said about the associate sponsorship program between GoBowling.com and Dale Coyne Racing for the Milwaukee 225 at the Milwaukee Mile (3:30 p.m. ET on ABC).
GoBowling.com branding will be on the No. 19’s engine cover. GoBowling.com serves as the consumer connection to bowling promotions, endorsements and league information at more than 4,000 bowling centers nationwide.
“Our executive director, Steve Johnson, who was with CART, had a friendship with Dale Coyne,” Burger said. “They struck up a conversation and that led into a discussion on how to partner America’s largest participation sport with IndyCar. We’re excited to be part of it at the Milwaukee Mile and looking forward to having the No. 19 GoBowling.com have a strong finish.
“Wisconsin is a great representation of bowling; a lot of great bowling families and a large number of centers in that area.”
3. Upcoming test days: Pippa Mann, whose first IZOD IndyCar Series race was the Indianapolis 500 on May 29, will drive a Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing car in a private test July 5 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.
On June 14, the team announced that Mann will compete at New Hampshire, Kentucky and Las Vegas.
Series points leader Will Power, driving the No. 12 Verizon Team Penske car, also will test on the 1.058-mile oval that day. The series returns the New Hampshire Motor Speedway on Aug. 14.
Other test dates upcoming include Sarah Fisher Racing’s Ed Carpenter at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course on June 29, Team Penske’s Helio Castroneves, Ryan Briscoe and Power at Mid-Ohio on June 29, and Target Chip Ganassi Racing’s Scott Dixon and Dario Franchitti at Sebring International Raceway on June 30.
4. What better tie to Father’s Day than Dad’s Root Beer? Dad’s Root Beer will be the primary sponsor of the No. 22 Dreyer & Reinbold Racing car driven by Justin Wilson at the Milwaukee Mile. The Milwaukee 225 will be contested June 19 (Father’s Day).
The team plans to decorate the No. 22 pit wall with “Happy Dad’s Day” banners. The Dad’s Root Beer car has finished in the top 10 in Father’s Day races the past two years.