A race that started with an early burst of speed for the #13 HVM Racing entry ended, like so many others this year, in disappointment for EJ Viso and Keith Wiggins' hard-working team.
The Venezuelan's PDVSA-backed Dallara was eventually classified in 18th place after completing 175 of the 225 laps at the Milwaukee Mile, after contact with the wall forced an early retirement from the ABC Supply/AJ Foyt 225, but Viso was already in trouble before the impact.
Starting from 17th on the grid, the second-year driver proved typically fast and aggressive from the green flag, passing five cars in the first ten laps to move up to twelfth position, but, several laps later, Viso reported that he could not shift the car out of fifth gear.
Despite the problem, he stayed out on the track, maintaining good lap times, before a car in the wall on lap 57 brought out a yellow flag, enabling Viso to pit the #13 for repairs. The HVM team worked quickly to fix the shifting issue, allowing Viso to returned to the track, albeit 13 laps down in 19th place, and, with a full six gears and the desire to make up some lost ground, he ran consistently strong lap times for the next 100-plus laps.
However, as the race leaders were passing to the low side on lap 191, Viso brushed the wall in turn four, forcing him to pit unscheduled once again. This time, the team determined that, with the suspension broken, there was no way that the car could not return to the track, bringing the curtain down on another frustrating day.
“It was our fifth
frustrating weekend of the year, and that's a shame because we felt like we improved from last year," Viso sighed, "But, each race, something happens.
"This week in the team meeting, we agreed to do something aggressive and we had a good car, but something went wrong and the car got stuck in fifth gear. Then, when one of the leaders came by a bit wide, I was in the marbles. It was like I was on ice, and I just kissed the wall.
“Now I'm just looking forward to Texas. We've been preparing for it for the last week-and-a-half and are making some improvements to the car, so I'm excited.”
The #13 team currently sits 19th in the IndyCar Series standings, and owner/principal Wiggins is hoping that the positive aspects of the Milwaukee performance can be repeated.
“The start of the race was encouraging, especially after we didn't qualify as well as we'd hoped," he reflected, "We had decided to take a risk with an aggressive set-up for the race and it looked to be paying off in the beginning. EJ was as fast as the leaders and making some good moves, but then we had some problems come up and we wound up with another disappointing finish.”