After NASCAR returned to one of their premier venues at Daytona last weekend, the IndyCar Series will do the same this weekend. The series is set to hit the famed Milwaukee Mile on Sunday. To celebrate the event at the world’s oldest operating motor speedway, here is a look at the most memorable IndyCar moments in the track’s 112-year history.
10. 1983-Sneva’s Controversial Win: Two weeks after his winning the Indianapolis 500, Tom Sneva became the seventh driver to win the Indianapolis 500 and the race at Milwaukee.
After crossing the finish line 10 seconds ahead of Al Unser, Sneva’s car was found to have an improper ground clearance on the side mount skirts. The win was given to Unser, but was awarded back to Sneva upon appeal two weeks later. 1983 was also the first time since 1946 Milwaukee hosted just a single IndyCar event. The track has done so ever year since, except when the race was cancelled in 2010.
9. 2004-Hunter-Reay Dominates: On a cold night in June, Ryan Hunter-Reay started on pole and led all 250 laps en route to a dominant victor at Milwaukee. Eight years later, Hunter-Reay would win again at the mile, this time during the day and in less dominating fashion, leading 84 of 225 laps and giving Chevrolet their first Milwaukee win since 1991.
8. 1993-Mansell’s First Oval Win: In 1993, IndyCar rookie and reigning Formula Champion Nigel Mansell had already proven he could translate his road and street course prowess to IndyCar, winning in his first start in the series at the Surfers Paradise circuit in Australia.
The question of how Mansell would do on a short oval remained. Mansell missed the race at Phoenix in April after a practice crash, the only short oval on the schedule before Milwaukee. Mansell started seventh and passed polesitter Raul Boesel to win his first oval race. Mansell’s last three wins in 1993 were all on on ovals (two short ovals), on his way to the 1993 IndyCar Championship.
7. 2003-Night Racing Debut: For the 2003 ChampCar Series race at Milwaukee, the cars would race at night. Temporary lighting was brought in for the race and for the next three races ChampCar ran their. Michel Jourdain Jr. won his first career race that night after eight years in open-wheel racing.
6. 1990- Little Al’s First Oval Win: By the time 1990 rolled around, Al Unser Jr. had been racing in the IndyCar Series for eight seasons and racked up 10 victories. None of them had been on an oval until the 1990 race at Milwaukee. With just two laps to go, Michael Andretti ran out of fuel and Unser Jr. drove by to take the win. Unser Jr. would win at the Milwaukee Mile just once more in 1994.
5. 1991- Andrettis Dominate: The Milwaukee Mile has been a special place for the Andretti Family, including Michael, who now runs the event with Andretti Sports Marketing. One of Michael’s biggest days as a driver came in 1991. After dominating the race, Michael led his cousin John and father Mario to the finish line in the first 1-2-3 for members of the same family. Michael’s brother Jeff finished 11th that day.
4. 1981-Mosley Storms from 25th to First: Driving for Dan Gurney, Mike Mosley started 25th in the 26-car field. Mosley worked his way through the field and won the race, making it the farthest back any winning driver has started in an IndyCar race. Mosley’s win also marked the final time a “Stock Block engine” won.
3. 1966-Mario Wins His First Pavement Race: Like many drivers of his era, Mario Andretti’s career began on the dirt tracks of America. In his sophomore season, Andretti finally proved himself on the paved tracks by winning at the Milwaukee Mile. For the next 28 years, Mario would go on to win numerous races across several racing disciplines and cement himself as one of the greatest drivers ever.
2. 1964-Foyt Closes Out Roadster Era: One year after Jimmy Clark began the front-engine era, AJ Foyt effectively closed it out. Foyt dominated and won, but the roadster would make an unexpected comeback a year later. In 1965, Foyt would tow his front-engine backup car from Springfield to Milwaukee. in that race, Foyt led 16 laps and finished second to Gordon Johncock, who won his first career race. The front-engine cars would race at Milwaukee until 1970, but would not score a single victory.
1. 1963-Clark Wins in a Rear-Engine Car: The early 1960s were a huge transitional period for the open-wheel cars. Among the many changes was the shift from front to rear-engine cars. In 1963, Jimmy Clark proved that rear-engines cars could compete. Clark took the victory at Milwaukee and so started the rear-engine era that has continued to this day.
Have a great day and see you soon.