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Trackside Update: Milwaukee IndyFest

6.15.13 – Andretti Autosport was two for three in the win category at the 2013 Milwaukee IndyFest. With Matthew Brabham’s Pro Mazda Championship win on Friday, followed by two great podium efforts from Carlos Munoz and Zach Veach in Firestone Indy Lights on Saturday afternoon, the dominating IZOD IndyCar Series crew of Ryan Hunter-Reay, E.J. Viso, James Hinchcliffe and Marco Andretti brought home a win and three top-five finishes in the 250-lap main event.

Defending Milwaukee IndyFest winner Ryan Hunter-Reay brought the yellow No. 1 DHL Chevy back to victory lane once again after clinching the win for a third time in Milwaukee (2004, 2012, 2013) – his second consecutive victory at the short oval. The American started fourth and took the twin checkers to claim his 11th career victory. RHR now sits second in the championship points fight. "The other guys had such a great car, Helio (Castroneves) and Taku(ma Sato). I thought we might have not had a good enough car to win it, and we just pushed through in the end. I just can’t say enough about these guys on this No. 1 DHL car – they did such a great job on these pits, as they always do, getting me out in front of traffic and in front of the other guys, just an excellent job. I’m so proud of this race team. We had the balance we needed. Thank you to all the fans for coming out today and making this another Milwaukee Mile race that’s very special – I appreciate it." On how special it was to have son Ryden here for his first Father’s Day, Ryan said, “It’s the best. Those last two laps I was thinking, ‘Man, I got to do this for him.’ So, here it is, and it’s so special having this six-month-old at my side in Victory Lane on Father’s Day (weekend).”

Adding another 10 laps led to his career stat sheet, E.J. Viso clinched his career best finish at the historic Milwaukee Mile to come home in fourth. The Venezuelan, who made his sixth consecutive top-five start of the season, now sits 12th in the championship points standings. “It was my best finish here, and a top four is pretty impressive. We know we’ve had the speed because we’ve seen it at almost every event this year, but I think we hadn’t quite been able to close the deal. We have been struggling a bit thus far, and I think we’re due for some podiums and wins. Hopefully this is just the start. It’s a good result for the whole crew and the whole team – I’m just looking forward to the next race. I hope we can keep building this momentum and that more strong results are ahead. I’m happy for Ryan (Hunter-Reay) – he did a good job. I like Milwaukee, I like Iowa and the short ovals. These places are fun; they’re basically super-fast corners on a road course. It’s a nice combination of factors, and we have a good package… We’ve qualified in the top five for six races in a row. We’re very close, we’ll keep fighting, and we’ll look forward to Iowa."

Rolling off the grid in second for the Milwaukee IndyFest, GoDaddy driver James Hinchcliffe marked his fourth top-10 finish of the season with a fifth-place tally. The Toronto native remains ninth in the championship points standings. “Any time you get a top five in a series so competitive, it’s a good day. To have three of our cars in the top five is incredible; the team’s done a great job. I’m just a little upset we weren’t a tiny bit better in traffic today in the No. 27 GoDaddy Chevy, because I think that would have helped us get around the lapped cars and we could have challenged the guys we were actually racing for position with. This track is the ultimate test of patience. It’s so easy to over-do it and get in the marbles and end up in the wall – and I had a couple close calls for sure – but you’ve got to be aggressive. You also have to have respect to this place… it was a lot of fun out there either way. We always love coming here – I think it’s one of the best race tracks in the country. Hopefully we put on a good show for the fans. So, I want to wish a Happy Father’s Day to everyone. We wish the GoDaddy car was a little bit higher, but really happy for Ryan (Hunter-Reay), and having three Andretti Autosport cars in the top five is incredible."

Starting from the pole position — the third-generation racer's third career pole award and second at the Milwaukee Mile — Marco Andretti led for 61 laps early in the race before suffering from electrical issues sending the No. 25 RC Cola car to the garages for repair. He later rejoined the field and recorded a 20th-place finish. Andretti will now sit third in the points standings. "It's unfortunate… We came here for a win and had a car to do it. We fell back after a delay in the pits and then had an electrical issue – I didn't have any idea of what happened at the time. The voltage went straight down and I lost all kinds of power; I couldn't shift, the clutch didn't work. We came back for all the points we could. We've been strong at Iowa in the past so we will move on and try to get points back next weekend."

Prior to the IZOD IndyCar Series’ race at the Milwaukee Mile, the Firestone Indy Lights dynamic duo of Carlos Munoz and Zach Veach had their attempt at the one-mile oval. Munoz came to the twin checkers in second place after rolling off the grid in fourth. "It was a second place, but it tastes like a win, more or less. Over the weekend we had a couple of problems with the car, but second place is nice.  It's really good for the championship… I think I lead the points by even more now, so as we go race by race from here, we aim to get more and more podiums."

Rounding out the good day for the Andretti Autosport crew, Zach Veach was able to celebrate a third-place podium finish with his dad in victory circle. The 18-year-old was even able to claim 56 laps led out of the 100-lap event. "I think it was a really good weekend for us. We qualified second, which was our best qualifying position, and we led a lot of laps today. I just made a rookie mistake by pushing too hard on the tires in the early laps. We learned a lot from this, and I'm just happy to come home third. Those last 20 laps I was just hanging on hoping there was no one behind us. I am very thankful for the K12 Andretti Autosport guys for working so hard, and we'll hopefully get the win in Iowa. We'll keep digging."

As always, be sure to stay current with all things Andretti Autosport by following our Twitter (@FollowAndrett), ‘Liking’ our Facebook page or maybe even ‘hearting’ our posts on Instagram (@andrettiautosport). The defending champions can be seen in action at Iowa Speedway in Newton, IA next weekend for the 10th round of IndyCar competition. The Iowa Corn Indy 250 will go live on ABC beginning at 2:30 p.m. Eastern.

 

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