Q: While I don’t have very high hopes for its future, the Milwaukee Mile is most definitely not being disassembled. According to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, the State Fair Park Board is about to plan a study to determine what will be done with the speedway’s grounds. They also state that The Mile is used during the state fair for parking and the grandstands for concerts. So the physical property isn’t going anywhere soon. I don’t see where the money will come from to bring racing back, but there’s always hope.
Dennis Czosek, Streamwood, IL
RM: Thanks Dennis, I’ve heard varying reports and read an article where some of the seats were being sold.
Q: Regarding Milwaukee, I forwarded your comment about the track to a friend who is heavily involved with the SCCA, SCCA events at the Mile, and Wisconsin racing in general. His comment:
“They did sell off some of the bleachers that were not being used last year. I’d say an Indy car race will never happen again. The track is in the black if you take away the bleacher debt.”
Based upon other conversations we’ve had, the debt from the grandstand improvements continues to be the problem. If you care to, I can put you in touch with my friend. I think he would be worth a call.
RM: People seem to think I’m anti-Milwaukee because I said there would never be another race there. I loved The Milwaukee Mile, but it’s pretty obvious that no promoter is interested and hasn’t been for a long time. My understanding from Carl Haas (when he promoted it) was that the politics always got in the way. Thanks for the update.
Q: One section of bleachers was sold two years ago, and the scoring pylon was damaged in a storm and taken down — all leading to rumors of the Mile’s demise being much exaggerated. There is a site study to be done by a combined Racing Committee and Property Committee. The Racing Committee part is a “work in progress” according to the Board office. The racing coordinator at the Mile is a cool dude. There is a lot going on at the Mile, from sports cars on the road course to drag racing on the front straight. This is positive in the near term. In future — 10 years — after the bonds are paid off on the grandstands, the doomsayers could be correct and it could be the end of the Mile. Some of us are working to avoid that end. IndyCar could help.
RM: Please explain how IndyCar could help? By being the promoter like they are at Phoenix? Not gonna happen. It’s a financial loser. If Milwaukee came back the week after Indy and started at 1 p.m., it might have a shot at re-establishing itself. But who is going to take a chance? I appreciate your passion Bob, and I’m anything but a naysayer when it comes to The Mile, but I do think I’m being realistic.
Q: I watched 1978 qualifying, and noticed that the first laps were at close to 25mph. Why did they go so slow back then on the first lap?
RM: Just a precaution in warming up the engine.
Q: You, Marshall and RACER are making me into a real IndyCar fan these days. I am entered in the SVRA Brickyard Invitational next week (Formula Ford). I want to make the most of my visit to the Speedway. Aside from my on-track sessions, what are the main things and places you recommend that we take in?
John Gaither, Arden, NC
RM: Visit the IMS museum, check out the Unser exhibit, visit Lucas Oil Raceway and Bob Lorton’s memorabilia shop next to it, eat a cheeseburger at the Workingman’s Friend, visit Foyt’s Winery on Main Street, stop by the Dallara factory across the street and see Sarah Fisher’s go-kart track on the same street.
Q: Put me down as having enjoyed this year’s Indy 500. As a lifetime IndyCar fan speaking to other lifetime IndyCar fans who beg for the ‘old days’, this was an ‘old days’ type of race. A driver had to work hard to pass a car of similar speed; not just suck up behind them and pull out on the front stretch like the last few years. I threw an Indy 500 viewing party, and about 20 of the 30 people attending had never seen an IndyCar race and not a single person complained about a lack of action. We had quite a few Germans at the party who follow F1 religiously; they enjoyed the strategy of the race and were blown away by the amount of people in the stands and infield. Perspective people, perspective. Thanks, and with the baton officially passed, all us IndyCar fans are pulling for your entire NBC broadcast team.
Zack, Atlanta, GA
RM: Always good to learn what a first-timer thinks after watching Indy. Glad you were able to spread the word and make IndyCar some new fans.