Milwaukee Update: Takuma Sato leads at halfway mark

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Takuma Sato is back to the front of the field for the first time since Sao Paulo, coming from 15th starting position to lead the Milwaukee IndyFest at the halfway point.

Sato, along with multiple others, took advantage of an early caution involving a spinning Simona de Silvestro to pit off strategy. Since that point, he’s managed to make his way through the grid as the strategy has played out.

Helio Castroneves, last week’s winner at Texas, also pitted early along with Sato and was running second at Lap 125 of 250. Meanwhile, Ryan Hunter-Reay, who won last year at Milwaukee, has been solid again so far and is currently third after pitting on a normal strategy at Lap 68. Andretti Autosport compatriots E.J. Viso and James Hinchcliffe are fourth and fifth.

Pole sitter Marco Andretti, who came into today’s race 22 points behind Helio Castroneves in the championship, led from pole until Hunter-Reay was able to get by him on Lap 62. Then on a pit stop at Lap 68, his day got worse when his fuel line was momentarily unable to disengage from his car, adding several seconds to his pit stop and costing him track position.

Finally, at Lap 97, Andretti began to slow on the race track, pulling down on the apron between Turns 1 and 2 before coming to rest on the backstretch.

“Either the alternator – or, I don’t know, another part,” a frustrated Andretti told NBC Sports Network, confirming an electrical issue on his No. 25 RC Cola Chevrolet. “I guess we’re gonna try to get it fixed.”

Shortly after the halfway mark, Andretti was found strapping back into his car and will presumably return to the race in an attempt to salvage some points for the championship.

Audi bids farewell to Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich upon retirement

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Audi bid farewell to its iconic head of motorsport, Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich, at its end-of-season ‘Race Night’ event in Germany on Friday upon his retirement.

Ullrich took over the reins as Audi’s head of motorsport in 1993 and stayed in the role for 23 years, overseeing its arrival in the prototype class of sports car racing and domination of the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

Ullrich stepped down from the position at the end of 2016, handing the reins over to ex-Audi DTM chief Dieter Gass, and attended his final racing event with the German marque at its first works Formula E outing in Hong Kong earlier this month.

Ullrich was honored at the Race Night event on Friday and thanked for his efforts in developing Audi into a force within global motorsport.

“In 566 factory-backed commitments during this period he celebrated 209 victories, 13 of them in the 24 Hours of Le Mans, eleven in the 12-hour race at Sebring and nine in the ‘Petit Le Mans’ at Road Atlanta,” a piece on Ullrich’s tenure for Audi’s website reads.

“31 driver titles in super touring car racing, in the DTM and in the sports prototype category are credited to him. 57 campaigners were Audi factory drivers during Wolfgang Ullrich’s era and he was responsible for 18 new developments of racing cars – an impressive tally.”