Race: Brack to Brack in Milwaukee

Kenny Brack and Michael Andretti waged a two-man duel for round six of the CART championship at the Milwaukee Mile. The Team Rahal driver prevailed over the long haul, leading 130 of the 225 laps on the way to his second consecutive Champ Car race win.

Race: Brack to Brack in Milwaukee

Brack also extended his championship lead to 23 points as all of his chief rivals failed to finish the contest. In doing so, he gave Huntingdon-based chassis manufacturer Lola its 100th win in Champ Car racing.

Brack was awarded the pole position after qualifying was rained out, and was lucky to emerge from a first-turn skirmish with fellow front row starter Helio Castroneves.

The Team Penske driver tried an outside move exiting Turn 1, but his Reynard-Honda appeared to briefly touch wheels with Brack's Lola-Ford, sending both cars sideways. Brack controlled the slide and took the lead, while Castroneves' car was clipped by the Lola-Toyota of Cristiano da Matta, ending the day for both Brazilians.

On the restart, Paul Tracy hit the Turn 2 wall, bringing out another yellow. It also elevated Andretti to second place from tenth on the grid.

"When Paul crashed, I saw Michael in the mirrors and it wasn't a pleasant sight," Brack remarked. "He's won here five times and he knows what he's doing."

Among those demoted by Andretti was Dario Franchitti, who said around six cars passed him under the yellow. Having dropped back, Franchitti pitted for a top-up of fuel, only to stall and lose a lap. He was generally the fastest man on the track thereafter on the way to a fighting ninth place finish.

Once racing began in earnest on lap 22, Brack and Andretti stretched out an advantage over Gil de Ferran and Jimmy Vasser, who were pursued by Tony Kanaan and Bruno Junqueira. That group pulled out a huge advantage over Nicolas Minassian, who was holding up Alex Zanardi and the rest of the pack.

Once the leaders got into traffic around lap 40, the pack began to tighten. Andretti feigned passes on Brack several times, only to tuck back into the Shell Lola's slipstream. Michael finally got a run out of Turn 4 and wrestled his way into the lead on lap 79. He held it through the first round of green flag pit stops, then resumed in front on lap 113 after the out-of-sequence runners finally stopped.

On lap 129, Brack repassed Andretti for the lead, but he lost it during yellow flag pit stops just six laps later. Andretti held the top position until lap 183, when the closely shadowing Brack was able to force past one more time.

Any drama about making fuel last to the finish was wiped out when Nicolas Minassian and Christian Fittipaldi crashed with 20 laps to go. Andretti got one more chance to go for the win when the green waved on lap 218, but worsening understeer relegated him to the runner up slot. PacWest rookie Scott Dixon took third place after a competitive and consistent drive.

"It was a difficult race, because no one got much track time before the race," said Brack, who averaged 122.066 mph in winning by 1.307 seconds. "We did better than most at coming up with a set-up that worked today. It was a good day, and we had a good fuel strategy. But it was a hard race, and I was happy to come out on top of it."

Brack said the first few laps were the most difficult because of the limited practice time and the cold ambient temperatures.

"The first corner was difficult, going in there side-by-side on cold tires," Brack said. "Helio came down a little bit, and I don't think we hit, but it was very, very close. Then all of a sudden Paul was gone, and I was racing with Michael. Michael and I came close to touching a couple of times as well, but you leave enough room for a car and nothing more."

Andretti came close to earning a sixth Milwaukee trophy, but his Reynard-Honda's handling deteriorated in the second half of the race.

"We had a wing problem in the warm-up, and it feels like the same thing may have happened in the race," Andretti said. "I lost a lot of grip at the front and wasn't able to carry any speed into the middle of the corner. I didn't want to let Dixon know I was in that much trouble."

Dixon's run to third place was perhaps more impressive than his victory at Nazareth, when he used canny pit strategy to emerge on top. At Milwaukee, Dixon started eighth, and after losing positions during the first lap confusion, he raced competitively to another podium visit, helped by a fuel-only second pit stop.

"The start was disappointing - a lot of guys passed under yellow and didn't go back into position," remarked the 20-year old New Zealander. "At the end, we were hoping it wouldn't go yellow because we had plenty of fuel in hand.

"Michael was getting high in Turn 1 and 2 and I thought I could catch him," Dixon added. "But unfortunately the last yellow came and after the restart we didn't have anything for him."

Fittipaldi's crash with Minassian cost him fourth place, which eventually went to Bruno Junqueira, while a fifth place finish earned Adrian Fernandez his first points as a team owner. Tony Kanaan, de Ferran and Max Papis were the only other drivers on the lead lap.

"I'm happy to get my best result in CART," said Junqueira.

For Milwaukee results, click here.

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