Milwaukee will make 2014 IndyCar calendar, but date still a question mark

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The Milwaukee Mile will have a place on the 2014 IndyCar schedule, and on Wednesday, we’ll find out when the race will be. Both the race promoter and The Business Journal serving Greater Milwaukee have confirmed Milwaukee’s return.

Michael Andretti’s Andretti Sports Marketing group resuscitated the race after previous promoters hit financial issues through 2011. It came back to life in 2012 as the Milwaukee IndyFest and featured an uptick in corporate support this year, but flat attendance (roughly 25,000 fans) according to the report by The Business Journal.

The track has confirmed ASM will hold a press conference Wednesday morning to determine the date of next year’s race, and potentially further information regarding corporate support (read: title or presenting sponsor).

It’s run the Saturday before Father’s Day in June the last two years and while it could be held on that date again, there are potential complications.

Previously announced 2014 IndyCar races from May through July include the Indianapolis road course race (May 10), Indianapolis 500 (May 25), Detroit (May 31-June 1), Texas (June 7), Pocono (July 6) and Toronto (July 19-20).

If Milwaukee gets slotted in on the Saturday, June 14, that would be IndyCar’s sixth consecutive weekend of on-track activity. The possibility of a seventh straight, Iowa the following weekend, would occur if the two short ovals match their 2013 dates.

Houston is also projected to move to late June from various media reports (notably by NBCSN insider and RACER.com reporter Robin Miller). If that happens, one of the two June weekends (13-15; 20-22) would need to be an off weekend simply to give the series and crews a break.

Whatever Milwaukee’s date ends up being will have a two-pronged effect. If it stays as is in June, expect Iowa to move to allow for an off weekend before the likely move of Houston. If it switches, then Iowa could stay as is the week after.

All will be revealed regarding the full 2014 schedule on a joint schedule release and championship preview show, Thursday night at 8 p.m. ET on NBCSN.

Lewis Hamilton comes home to Mercedes factory after fourth title

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On Monday, the Formula 1 schedule finally allowed teams to be in Europe before heading to Abu Dhabi for this weekend’s season finale.

And as such, that provided a window for now four-time World Champion Lewis Hamilton to return to the Mercedes AMG Petronas factories in Brackley and Brixworth to be celebrated for taking the driver’s title, as Hamilton an Valtteri Bottas delivered Mercedes its fourth straight constructor’s title.

Hamilton was at Brixworth, the home of Mercedes-AMG High Performance Powertrains (HPP) and its highly successful Mercedes-Benz Power Units first before heading to Brackley, where he was welcomed with a “guard of honor” as the entire team came out to greet him.

The champion was overwhelmed at the response and the welcome.

“This a very emotional day. I was not expecting this, thanks everyone for the warm welcome,” he said. “Today is something that I will never forget, turning up at the front gate of the factory and seeing everyone out on the street to welcome me – I’m blown away.

“This has been an incredible year, it’s been an incredible journey together. There’s a huge amount of respect and appreciation I have for everyone. I’ve been in the sport for a long time now, but to see the work ethic in Brixworth and Brackley really inspires me. Every time I come around, I see everyone operating at 100%, which encourages me to bring my best performance.

“Thank you all for helping me achieve my dreams, it would not have been possible without you. This is the best championship year, because we’ve been fighting another team and because we’ve had the difficulties and challenges we’ve had – that just makes it so much greater.”

A social roundup of images and videos are below, all via Hamilton and the Mercedes team on social media.