That’s the Milwaukee IndyFest on June 15. In 12 previous races at the one-mile oval, Castroneves has three pole starts and a best finish of second among four top 10s. Current championship rivals Ryan Hunter-Reay, who is 27 points off the pace, won at The Milwaukee Mile last year to jump-start his drive to the championship. Tony Kanaan, who’s fourth in the standings, was last June’s runner-up and like Hunter-Reay is a two-time Milwaukee winner. Andretti has one pole and two top-10 finishes in six starts.
The stretch of five races on consecutive weekends concludes June 23 at Iowa Speedway, where all of the top five in points have had success. The first Indy car event at the 2.5-mile Pocono Raceway since 1989 follows July 7 before the bulk of the street/road course schedule kicks in.
“Tony and I were on the podium for the next two races last year, and then we have some new challenges,” said Hunter-Reay, who claimed his maiden series title in a season-finale shootout with Will Power at Auto Club Speedway. “I like Pocono being on the schedule, it’s a new challenge and it will make everybody think, take everybody out of their comfort zone a little bit.
“But we have doubles at Houston and Toronto, and there’s a lot of curveballs coming at us, so it should be an interesting championship. I think it will come down to the end, the last race like it always does.”