IndyFest coming to Milwaukee Mile Father's Day weekend

WEST ALLIS -- As we have all heard throughout our lives, change is inevitable. While true, change hasn't been too kind to a big-time summer event in Milwaukee.

Long time open wheel fans can easily recall the pageantry of Indy Car races at the Milwaukee Mile, coming one week on the heels of the Indy 500 and annually being among the biggest local events of the summer.

The 2011 race was a far cry from those days.

"I think the biggest thing that we notice is whether the crowd is there or not, because that's really where the energy comes from for us. For the tracks that we all like, like Milwaukee, you keep tabs a little bit on those places to see if they have been going well or not," JR Hildebrand said.

Milwaukee is back on the schedule for this summer, with racing royalty Michael Andretti leading the promotional group that is putting on the event.

It is quite obviously quiet at the Milwaukee Mile these days, although promoters say that will be much different by Father's Day weekend. That is still an unknown, but what is known for the drivers is the track, and they love it.

"I'd say you gotta come out and see the fastest drivers in the world tear around at Milwaukee, which is one of the best places we go every year. I always tell people that when the drivers dig a place, that's something you should check out," Hildebrand said.

Hildebrand's is the type of story to be found in today's racing world. An honor roll student in high school, he turned down an academic scholarship to MIT in order to pursue his racing dreams. As a rookie last year, he led the Indy 500 heading into the final turn of the race, only to run up on a slower car and hit the wall. He wound up second, but refused to point any fingers.

"I think there's a lot of things that I take from it, from everything that happened afterwards. I think it paid off to be a good guy and to stand up to the critics and the press or whatever. As you note, it's turned into a fairly positive situation for us," Hildebrand said.

Hildebrand has moved on from his misfortune and is in a good ride with a bright future. It remains to be seen if the race at the Milwaukee Mile can follow in the same track.

IndyFest is scheduled for the Friday and Saturday of Father's Day weekend at the Milwaukee Mile. Organizers say ticket sales are ahead of projections.

CLICK HERE for more information on Milwaukee IndyFest.