Milwaukee’s been the “Big three” domain since 2004

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We’ll get the historical disclaimer out of the way first: INDYCAR (then IRL) first raced at The Milwaukee Mile in 2004, but the track’s history itself is substantially longer. After all, it is the oldest continually operating speedway in North America, after opening in 1903.

Drivers in this year’s Milwaukee IndyFest have history at the track dating back to 1996 – Tony Kanaan and Helio Castroneves made their first starts at the legendary one-mile oval in the Indy Lights race there that year. Dario Franchitti made his Milwaukee debut in the CART race there in 1997.

But in IRL, then INDYCAR-sanctioned races, only teams from the IZOD IndyCar Series’ generally accepted “Big three” teams – Andretti Autosport, Team Penske and Target Chip Ganassi Racing – have won races at the Mile.

Champ Car did run concurrently at the track from 2004 to 2006, with wins taken by Ryan Hunter-Reay (his second of his career, first on an oval), Paul Tracy and Sebastien Bourdais in those three seasons. Bourdais’ win for Newman/Haas is the last at Milwaukee outside the Andretti, Penske, and Ganassi stables.

Franchitti took the first IRL-sanctioned win in 2004, a career-rejuvenating first win since a back injury suffered in 2003 cost him the second half of that season. Sam Hornish Jr. won in 2005 for Penske, with Tony Kanaan scoring each of the next two wins for Andretti in 2006 and 2007.

Ryan Briscoe scored his first ever, and Penske’s 300th as an organization, win in 2008. Target Chip Ganassi Racing dominated the next two Milwaukee races (Scott Dixon in 2009, Franchitti in 2011), although 2010 the track was temporarily closed as it went through financial straits.

Things came right for Hunter-Reay last year, scoring his second Milwaukee win in the first race promoted by Andretti Sports Marketing.

This year is a pivotal one for the race as it marks the first time in five years that the same promoter has done the event in consecutive years; a second successive win for “RHR” or one by one of his three Andretti Autosport teammates would look good.

ASM is also batting a perfect two-for-two in races it has promoted, as Hunter-Reay won not only Milwaukee but also Baltimore last year.

You’ll notice Castroneves’ name has been decidedly absent from this piece to this point. Milwaukee’s been something of a bogey track for him, and he has yet to better a runner-up finish set in his rookie season of CART, in 1998!

Castroneves – and the rest of the field outside the “Big three” – will be looking to topple the empire that has thus far reined over Milwaukee in the last decade.

Continental Tire named exclusive provider for Red Bull Global Rallycross series

Image courtesy Continental Tire
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Red Bull Global Rallycross will have new rubber going forward in the 2018 season.

Continental Tire the Americas on Tuesday announced a multi-year partnership with GRC starting with the upcoming racing season.

Continental Tire will be the exclusive tire provider for Supercars, GRC Lites and Polaris RZR this season. Electric vehicles will be added to the mix starting in 2019.

“Continental Tire is an industry leader in technical tire development,” Red Bull GRC CEO Colin Dyne said in a media release. “Their experience in developing tires that work in both pavement and non-pavement situations, as well as their ability to develop race tires for a wide variety of vehicles, tracks and circumstances make them the ideal partner.

“As the official tire supplier for the Red Bull GRC series, they will bring a new level of excellence and high performance to the events.”

This will be Continental Tire’s first foray into Red Bull GRC competition. The season opener is set for May 19-20 in Louisville, Kentucky.

GRC, Supercar and GRC Lites cars will use one compound while a second compound/tire will be developed for the Polaris RZR side-by-side class.

“We’re thrilled to add Global Rallycross to our motorsports portfolio,” said John DeSalle, president of Continental Tire Motorsports. “We’re looking forward to providing a tire that will give the fans the great racing they expect while also making it fun for the drivers.

“This series is action-packed and we can’t wait to get on track!”

The 2018 GRC season will be composed of 12 events across eight events and will be televised on NBC.