Milwaukee IndyFest Saturday morning report

– James Hinchcliffe paced the first practice of the morning, laying down a lap of 22.08 seconds. Ryan Briscoe was 1/100 of a second slower, followed by Ryan Hunter-Reay. Surprisingly, oval ace Ed Carpenter posted the third-slowest top speed some 2/3 of a second behind Hinchcliffe. There were no major incidents during practice — or during any of the weekend's activities.

– There are lots of good seats available for tomorrows IndyCar race in Milwaukee. And, there are lots of crummy seats available. And a ton of mediocre seats. Let's just say that promoters are hoping for a large walk-up crowd tomorrow. Driving into the Miracle Mile I see lots of promotional efforts — billboards and public appearances and the like — so it's not like the Andretti folks haven't tried.
Having lived near Michigan Speedway — giving me a front-row seat to the IndyCar demise there — there is no doubt in my mind that recovering an event once it is "burned up" is nearly impossible. Twenty years ago Nigel Mansell's presence helped propel attendance, as did the sponsorship of then-local Miller Brewing Company. However, only a couple years prior to that the event's future was in doubt before Carl Haas took over the event. The Nigel years aside, local race promoters have had a fight to save the event a long, long time.

Tim Wohlford, reporting from Milwaukee!

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