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Milwaukee Mile has a special place in the Indy Car Schedule
Jim Clark & Dan Gurney 1963, Milwaukee From
Jim Clark & Dan Gurney 1963, Milwaukee From
June 1st 2007 - Indy to Milwaukee tradition restored; 9 have won both races

By staff

Finally, after 12 years, the line uttered by Robert Wagner as he lights Joanne Woodward's cigarette outside the Hoosier Motor Lodge in the movie "Winning" holds true for the IndyCar Series.

"Everyone goes to Milwaukee after Indianapolis."

For the first time since 1995 and an unprecedented 50th time -- the collection of drivers who participated in the Indianapolis 500 will trek to Milwaukee for the fourth ABC Supply/A.J. Foyt 225 presented by Time Warner Cable.

Three-time Indianapolis 500 winner Johnny Rutherford said the drivers understand how special it is to compete on consecutive weekends at Indy and Milwaukee. The past three years, the IndyCar Series had competed at The Milwaukee Mile in July.

"Milwaukee was a tradition," recalled Rutherford, who won the "double" in 1974. "It was the first race after Indianapolis and now it's back there so we'll start it with a new group of guys."

What made Milwaukee unique back in the day was the large number of competitors who arrived that didn't run the entire USAC Champ Car Trail. For instance, Andy Granatelli's innovative creations at Indy, such as the famed Novi and the Turbine, did not run at the other Indy car events.
"Back in the 1960s, '70s when we used to go there the first race after Indy, it was really something because there would maybe be 40 entries from the Indianapolis 500," Rutherford recalled. "Everybody would go to Milwaukee after this race because they were here any way. They would load up and go to Milwaukee for the race and then go home and either park their car for the rest of the season or run the rest of the season.

"There were 30-40 entries for 18 starting spots."
And Milwaukee was a one-day show.
"You'd have one hour of practice, then qualify and line up 18 cars for the 100 miles and run the race," Rutherford said. "Jim Clark of Scotland ran at Milwaukee after Indy because they didn't have another race on the Formula One schedule, so they would stick around and run at Milwaukee."

Because the racetracks are so different, with Indianapolis the longest track on the schedule and Milwaukee a short oval, Rutherford acknowledged it was a bit of an adjustment.
"Anywhere we went after that race it was like, 'Golly, why are we going so slow?' " Rutherford said. "You've been at Indy all month practicing and getting your timing down for this 2-mile race course and you go to Milwaukee and it's a flat one-mile track.

"The technique was totally different because it was flat, had no banking to speak of and one mile in length you had to slow down that much to make the car handle to go around The Milwaukee Mile. I enjoyed Milwaukee. It was one of my favorite racetracks. It was a finesse racetrack. It was so flat and right after all the high speeds we ran at Indy so it was a challenge."

One week after the biggest race of the year, the momentum carries over to Milwaukee, creating interest at the track and on television.
"The shortness and intensity of our schedule, with four races before the Indy 500 and then 13 weeks of racing or testing on the schedule, this gives us a chance to put on our show and see us every weekend for awhile," Rutherford said. "There's a little something in our schedule for everybody with 17 races in six months. "Add that up and it's pretty hectic."

Indy-Milwaukee winners Year
#Al Unser Jr. 1994
#Rick Mears 1988
#Tom Sneva 1983
#Gordon Johncock 1982
#Johnny Rutherford 1974
#Al Unser 1971
A.J. Foyt 1964
Pat Flaherty 1956
Juan Montoya 2000* CART Mile win

EDITOR Note: # Attended by Bronco

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