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Indycar 1989 Watchparty Round 4 of 15: Miller High Life 200 at the Milwaukee Mile [Start 6pm GMT Sunday]


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#1 Risil

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Posted 20 February 2021 - 22:59

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Welcome back to the year of our Lord nineteen hundred and eighty-nine: it’s early summer (June the Fourth, to be precise) and the proverbial bomb has recently gone off. An Indy 500 like no other saw Emerson Fittipaldi do something that looked a great deal like barging leader Al Unser, Jr into the wall with two laps to go, winning a third “500” for team owner Pat Patrick (and who knows, probably the first for Marlboro). Al Junior behaved like a professional and gentleman in the aftermath, although you can be sure that within the seas were boiling and the moon turning to blood. In any case, life went on.
 
To Milwaukee! The traditional post-Indy fixture and one of two trips to Wisconsin (the good old days!) sees a relatively reduced field of 22 drive round and round Milwauke State Fairgrounds flat-ish one-mile oval until a winner is finally shaken out. The track is tight enough to be busy but open enough that you can fight your way through. Did you know this is one of only three short ovals on the calendar? And we’ve already had one of them? I was shocked to consider this. You’d best enjoy it.
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Who nailed qualifying? Why, Rick Mears, again. He was disappointingly a non-factor at Indy after mechanical problems took out all three of Roger Penske’s machines, but being Rick Mears he came straight back and secured pole for the Miller High Life 200 (what was Miller High Life?). Alarmingly (for Rick, or more precisely for me, identifying with Rick) Emerson Fittipaldi with his not-broken ‘89 Penske chassis lines up alongside. A gaggle of fast guys line up behind them, including, excitingly, the non-Ilmors of Bobby Rahal and Raul Boesel. Anyway, top 12 below:
 
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1. Rick Mears 160.822 mph, Penske (Penske-Chevy)
2. Emerson Fittipaldi 157.418 mph, Patrick (Penske-Chevy)
3. Michael Andretti 155.159 mph, Newman-Haas (Lola-Chevy)
4. Bobby Rahal 154.752 mph, Kraco (Lola-Cosworth)
5. Raul Boesel 153.978 mph, Shierson (Lola- Judd)
6. Mario Andretti 153.774 mph, Newman-Haas (Lola-Chevy)
7. Pancho Carter 153.133 mph, Leader Card (Lola-Cosworth)
8. Danny Sullivan 152.756 mph, Penske (Penske-Chevy)
9. Teo Fabi 152.614 mph, Porsche Motorsports (March-Porsche)
10. AJ Foyt 151.617 mph, Foyt (Lola-Cosworth)
11. Arie Luyendyk 151.611 mph, Dick Simon (Lola-Cosworth)
12. Scott Brayton 151.013 mph, Dick Simon (Lola-Cosworth)
 
Scott Pruett in the Truesports car starts 14th, Al Unser, Jr is all the way down in 16th, Tom Sneva with the Buick in the back starts in P17. Just 22 cars starting this race, so no newcomers this week! But needless to say, a few guys whose seasons haven’t really started yet, looking for a result. I’m looking at you Porsche.
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We’ll start this one at 6pm GMT on Sunday, 21 Feburary. Video below.

 



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#2 paulb

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Posted 20 February 2021 - 23:28

Making my reservation now.

#3 red stick

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Posted 21 February 2021 - 00:17

On, Wisconsin!

#4 FLB

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Posted 21 February 2021 - 00:27

Which cheese is the cheese of choice for this race?



#5 paulb

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Posted 21 February 2021 - 01:02

Which cheese is the cheese of choice for this race?

I have coworkers from Wisconsin. I am interrogating them for an expert opinion.

#6 paulb

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Posted 21 February 2021 - 01:06

Which cheese is the cheese of choice for this race?

Colby or cheddar followed by cheese curds is the response from a coworker whose hometown made all three.

#7 FLB

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Posted 21 February 2021 - 01:09

Colby or cheddar followed by cheese curds is the response from a coworker whose hometown made all three.

Good! I just got a block of old cheddar at the grocers today :up:



#8 red stick

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Posted 21 February 2021 - 01:16

Cheese curds. Widely available, uniformly decent.

My father grew up in Wisconsin.

#9 Nigel Beresford

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Posted 21 February 2021 - 10:05

I was in CART just after this period - Eighty nine was three years before my time  - but  thank god we were still going there when I was over there. Such a shame they don't race there any more. If you did well at any short oval you felt pretty special. Great track, great races, great people - so long as you weren't from illinois.



#10 GlenWatkins

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Posted 21 February 2021 - 10:41

Cheese curds. Widely available, uniformly decent.

My father grew up in Wisconsin.

 

So did I!



#11 GlenWatkins

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Posted 21 February 2021 - 10:51

Colby or cheddar followed by cheese curds is the response from a coworker whose hometown made all three.

 

Your coworker is a true cheese head!



#12 rghojai

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Posted 21 February 2021 - 11:22

I'll be sure to nosh on a hayoumi fatayer.

#13 Collombin

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Posted 21 February 2021 - 13:16

Your coworker is a true cheese head!


And if we are going back to 1989 can we have Barry or Deion Sanders instead of taking Mandarich at number 2 overall?

#14 red stick

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Posted 21 February 2021 - 13:28

No.

Some things are forever, like when you trade an entire draft for Ricky Williams.

#15 red stick

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Posted 21 February 2021 - 13:29

Also, have you never watched a time travel movie? Tread lightly, my friend . . .  ;)

#16 PayasYouRace

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Posted 21 February 2021 - 13:39

This should be fun.

 

Such a shame it's another great short oval lost to Indycar. Though I suppose 3 or 4 per season is what you'd expect in an ideal situation.



#17 Nigel Beresford

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Posted 21 February 2021 - 14:00

Losing any of Phoenix, Milwaukee or Nazareth was brutal. All so different and all super satisfying if you got the pole.  New Hampshire was a little bit ho hum but produced an amazing race in 93 apparently (I was a bit too busy trying to make sure I didn't drop a lap on my chart), but i remember Nigel Bennett, a guy who'd seen a race or two, say it was the best oval race he had ever seen.



#18 FLB

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Posted 21 February 2021 - 14:36

Losing any of Phoenix, Milwaukee or Nazareth was brutal. All so different and all super satisfying if you got the pole.  New Hampshire was a little bit ho hum but produced an amazing race in 93 apparently (I was a bit too busy trying to make sure I didn't drop a lap on my chart), but i remember Nigel Bennett, a guy who'd seen a race or two, say it was the best oval race he had ever seen.

Mansell and Tracy, both using their heads and racing like Bobby Unser or Tom Sneva at their best :up:

 

Very few cars on the lead lap at the end as was the norm back then (IIRC). Another race that showed that you just need two or three cars for a good race, like the Unser, Jr. - Pruett duel of Michigan 1995 (which I personally consider a better race as it was Firestone's first win since The Comeback  and Unser, Jr, at his absolute best trying to get something, anything, out of his Goodyears...).



#19 BiggestBuddyLazierFan

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Posted 21 February 2021 - 14:47

I was in CART just after this period - Eighty nine was three years before my time - but thank god we were still going there when I was over there. Such a shame they don't race there any more. If you did well at any short oval you felt pretty special. Great track, great races, great people - so long as you weren't from illinois.

Mr. Beresford, it is such a treat having a person like you here. I have few questions I always wanted to ask

I always wondered about Penske chassis that were sold to Tony Bettenhausen. Did he get technical assistance from Penske, or simply a bare chassis that he had to figure out by himself?

Than I wondered about Tracy. Why did Mr. Penske tolerate him for so long? In 1992-1993 he wrecked so many cars no other Penske driver ever wrecked so many cars

When little Al joined you in 1994 it was just perfect. Perfect driver in perfect team. And than gradualy it went worse and worse. Was it Little Al's alcochol troubles or was something else deteriorating that perfect combo? By 1997 Tracy was already miles ahead. Three wins to Al's zero

Is it true that Little Al started drinking after he failed to qualify for 1995 race or is it just a wild rumor

Were you at the team aware of Little Al's drinking problems


Do not get me wrong. These are all genuine and sincere questions. I love Little Al almost as Buddy, maybe even more given all the troubles he went through.

Edited by BiggestBuddyLazierFan, 21 February 2021 - 14:48.


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#20 GlenWatkins

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Posted 21 February 2021 - 14:50

The PPG Indycar Series 1993 New England 200 sounds like a great idea for the next Watch Party!



#21 Nigel Beresford

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Posted 21 February 2021 - 14:54

Mansell and Tracy, both using their heads and racing like Bobby Unser or Tom Sneva at their best :up:

 

Very few cars on the lead lap at the end as was the norm back then (IIRC). Another race that showed that you just need two or three cars for a good race, like the Unser, Jr. - Pruett duel of Michigan 1995 (which I personally consider a better race as it was Firestone's first win since The Comeback  and Unser, Jr, at his absolute best trying to get something, anything, out of his Goodyears...).

Up to the point where we (Penske) went to Firestone, i spent my race engineering career with Goodyears (F1 and CART) or Pirelli (F1). I didn't realise that race tyres didn't have to have one or two really good laps in them, then progressively get worse and worse and worse until they fell off a cliff because, well, they were all like that.  Then all of a sudden Firestone (and subsequently Michelin) showed that it was possible to have a tyre which, whilst at its very best for a couple of laps, didn't then rapidly decline. The degradation was so small the driver could just keep pushing... We had been at such a disadvantage for so long, but Roger and the team did everything we could to try to help and get the best out of Goodyear. The difference on Firestones was shocking. 

 

One of our guys, who ironically had worked on that Firestone dev program put it best after we all attended a meeting at GY world HQ in Akron at the start of 99 with the top top people from Goodyear Tire and Rubber Co and all the teams. They showed us all the graphs and told us all the things they were going to do, the special plant they were going to build to make tyres faster. This guy (you'd know him if I told you) said "Goodyear knows everything about tyres, but Firestone just knows how to make a better tyre.."


Edited by Nigel Beresford, 21 February 2021 - 15:01.


#22 Nigel Beresford

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Posted 21 February 2021 - 15:03

Mr. Beresford, it is such a treat having a person like you here. I have few questions I always wanted to ask

I always wondered about Penske chassis that were sold to Tony Bettenhausen. Did he get technical assistance from Penske, or simply a bare chassis that he had to figure out by himself?

Than I wondered about Tracy. Why did Mr. Penske tolerate him for so long? In 1992-1993 he wrecked so many cars no other Penske driver ever wrecked so many cars

When little Al joined you in 1994 it was just perfect. Perfect driver in perfect team. And than gradualy it went worse and worse. Was it Little Al's alcochol troubles or was something else deteriorating that perfect combo? By 1997 Tracy was already miles ahead. Three wins to Al's zero

Is it true that Little Al started drinking after he failed to qualify for 1995 race or is it just a wild rumor

Were you at the team aware of Little Al's drinking problems


Do not get me wrong. These are all genuine and sincere questions. I love Little Al almost as Buddy, maybe even more given all the troubles he went through.

I can answer this, but you have to give me a week or two. i am pretty flat out for the next week or so. Don't ask me how come i can spare the time to post here then. The truth is i don't.... it's just a nice intermittent distraction.


Edited by Nigel Beresford, 21 February 2021 - 15:03.


#23 BiggestBuddyLazierFan

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Posted 21 February 2021 - 15:28

I can answer this, but you have to give me a week or two. i am pretty flat out for the next week or so. Don't ask me how come i can spare the time to post here then. The truth is i don't.... it's just a nice intermittent distraction.


No problem. Take all the time you need. Thanks

#24 Risil

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Posted 21 February 2021 - 16:30

This should be fun.

Such a shame it's another great short oval lost to Indycar. Though I suppose 3 or 4 per season is what you'd expect in an ideal situation.


I hope they can bring Milwaukee back but the commercial side seems to be either Road America or the Mile these days. And RA is another one you wouldn't want to lose.

Anyway, the way traffic works is always fascinating to watch at Milwaukee. In the 1995 race we watched last year the first hundred laps were absolutely breathless but once the fastest guys had got to the front and some of the others had dropped out, things decongested and the racing calmed down considerably.

#25 Risil

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Posted 21 February 2021 - 17:55

5 mins!

#26 Risil

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Posted 21 February 2021 - 18:00

Go!



#27 Risil

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Posted 21 February 2021 - 18:00

"Both now regular threats to their elders"



#28 GlenWatkins

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Posted 21 February 2021 - 18:00

Here we go!!!



#29 paulb

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Posted 21 February 2021 - 18:02

How did Al Jr run into Emmo at Indy...

Edited by paulb, 21 February 2021 - 18:03.


#30 GlenWatkins

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Posted 21 February 2021 - 18:03

oldest race track in the world!



#31 Risil

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Posted 21 February 2021 - 18:03

It's probably a year of Coronavirus but Paul and Sam seem to be standing very close together



#32 rghojai

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Posted 21 February 2021 - 18:04

Paul's hair is so wacky.



#33 PayasYouRace

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Posted 21 February 2021 - 18:04

Couple of minutes late. Easy enough to synch up at this stage.



#34 Risil

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Posted 21 February 2021 - 18:04

Clean slate!



#35 paulb

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Posted 21 February 2021 - 18:04

Indianapolis is OVER according to Uncle Bobby.

#36 GlenWatkins

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Posted 21 February 2021 - 18:05

Jack Aruuuuuuut!



#37 Risil

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Posted 21 February 2021 - 18:05

Pat Flaherty watch!

 

What ever happened to Brian Hammons?



#38 red stick

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Posted 21 February 2021 - 18:05

Hot dogs. Chips. Bring it!

#39 Risil

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Posted 21 February 2021 - 18:06

2/1/2 is a hell of a start to the season from Little Al



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#40 GlenWatkins

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Posted 21 February 2021 - 18:06

Holy Toledo, it's Bob Toledo!! :clap:



#41 paulb

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Posted 21 February 2021 - 18:07

The eye shots

#42 red stick

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Posted 21 February 2021 - 18:07

$1 million was a lot of money in 1989.  ;)

#43 rghojai

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Posted 21 February 2021 - 18:07

Rather a tepid "Gentleman..."



#44 rghojai

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Posted 21 February 2021 - 18:08

Hot dogs. Chips. Bring it!

 

Pork?



#45 Risil

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Posted 21 February 2021 - 18:08

Miller High Life is apparently known, at least by the Miller Brewing Company, as the "champagne of beers". But don't just take my/their word for it! Here's the ocular proof!

crop;jpeg_quality=60;progressive.jpg



#46 red stick

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Posted 21 February 2021 - 18:09

Pancho!

#47 FLB

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Posted 21 February 2021 - 18:09

At this point, on June 4, 1989, I was not really happy, because WVNY-22 (ABC, Burlington VT) had this on instead of the race:

 

https://www.latimes....1153-story.html



#48 Risil

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Posted 21 February 2021 - 18:09

"A road racing specialist, but two of his four wins have come on ovals." Hmmmmm.



#49 paulb

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Posted 21 February 2021 - 18:10

High speed oval tracks. Where are the slow ones?

#50 Risil

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Posted 21 February 2021 - 18:10

This is some very maudlin "through the grid" music