This Sunday's Milwaukee 225 will mark the return of the IndyCar Series to the famous Milwaukee Mile.
The track is the oldest track in the world that is still used today. The first race of any kind was back in 1903 when it was a simple dirt track. It was paved in 1954 and has been used by many different types of cars. The first time that IndyCars took to the famous oval was in the summer of 1937.
The interesting question heading into the race is, who is the favorite to win?
There are plenty of choices for this answer, and many of them would be hard to argue against. Of course you will always have the "big five" right near the top each weekend, but there are others they are going to have to battle at Milwaukee.
Tony Kanaan has been lightning quick at Milwaukee. In his last six races here, he has two wins, a third and a fourth place finish. The other one was in 2009 when he started in third, but finished in 19th after completing only 132 laps. He wasn't quite himself in that race, though.
The Brazilian was black and blue before that race, after his broken suspension sent his car into the concrete wall during the Indianapolis 500. He took one hard hit, then with no steering or brakes, slammed into the wall again at more than 180 mph.
While Helio Castroneves has struggled here over the years, his teammate Ryan Briscoe has given Roger Penske some success. In 2008 he won the race, and after winning the pole the next year, he finished second.
Will Power has had only one race here, but he is a completely different driver now. We saw last weekend that he can fly around these ovals. He is the points leader and winner of the last event, which makes him a strong contender.
Scott Dixon is not just the defending winner of this race. In the last three races here, he has never started worse than fourth. In addition to his win in 2009, he has second and fourth place finishes here. On Saturday night he finished in second place twice, behind his teammate in the first race and behind Power in the second race. He is ready to break through.
The other Target/Chip Ganassi driver isn't so bad either. The defending series champion has never finished worse than sixth in his last five races here. In those five events, he has finished first, second (twice), third and sixth. Winning at Texas last weekend was nice, but he lost some valuable points to Power in the championship, and he will look to make up for it at Milwaukee.
Other drivers outside of the "big five" have run well here too. Vitor Meira has three top-10 finishes here, including two top-fives. In two races here, Graham Rahal has qualified in second twice and finished in fourth in 2009.
Oriol Servia finished in sixth place in his only race here in 2008. Alex Tagliani is someone that you know will be up front and put himself in position to win.
While the talent does extend a bit further than the "big five," it is hard to confidently say one of them will be the favorite this weekend. If I was forced to pick a favorite, I would probably go with Dario, but I have a strong hunch that Ryan Briscoe will get the job done on Sunday.