By Jim Owczarski Sports Editor Published Apr 13, 2012 at 5:05 PM

Milwaukee IndyFest, in conjunction with announcing RC Cola as the official soft drink of the two day festival on June 15-16, have put a limited number of VIP pit passes on sale.

The pit pass does not serve as a ticket to enter the event, so fans will still need a reserved seat or infield general admission ticket to get in.

The passes cost $99 and include infield and paddock access (If fans have previously purchased a paddock pass, they will receive a $25 credit toward a pit pass) as well as access to the RC Cola Pit Lane area and a VIP/preferred viewing area for the concert stage.

The pit passes (limited to adults, age 18 and older) allow fans to see the race teams along RC Cola Pit Lane during practice, qualifying and the final pre-race warm-up session, as well as having access in front of the pre-race driver introduction stage. (The passes do not allow pit lane access during the IndyFest 225 race.)

IndyFest, which features racing, music and entertainment at the Milwaukee Mile. The concert stage will host a Battle of the Bands competition late Friday afternoon at the conclusion of practice and qualifying, and then a Saturday concert by Smash Mouth that begins shortly after the conclusion of the IZOD IndyCar race.

A limited number of VIP pit passes are now available for sale on the official website and at the Wisconsin State Fair Park box office. The box office can be reached at (414) 266-7100 on weekdays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

The Milwaukee IndyFest is set for 225 laps, and will be televised by ABC on June 16. The race will feature all of the stars of the IZOD IndyCar Series, including current series points leader Helio Castroneves, and past Milwaukee Mile winners such as Dario Franchitti, Scott Dixon, Ryan Briscoe, Ryan Hunter-Reay and Tony Kanaan.

Jim Owczarski is an award-winning sports journalist and comes to Milwaukee by way of the Chicago Sun-Times Media Network.

A three-year Wisconsin resident who has considered Milwaukee a second home for the better part of seven years, he brings to the market experience covering nearly all major and college sports.

To this point in his career, he has been awarded six national Associated Press Sports Editors awards for investigative reporting, feature writing, breaking news and projects. He is also a four-time nominee for the prestigious Peter J. Lisagor Awards for Exemplary Journalism, presented by the Chicago Headline Club, and is a two-time winner for Best Sports Story. He has also won numerous other Illinois Press Association, Illinois Associated Press and Northern Illinois Newspaper Association awards.

Jim's career started in earnest as a North Central College (Naperville, Ill.) senior in 2002 when he received a Richter Fellowship to cover the Chicago White Sox in spring training. He was hired by the Naperville Sun in 2003 and moved on to the Aurora Beacon News in 2007 before joining

In that time, he has covered the events, news and personalities that make up the PGA Tour, LPGA Tour, Major League Baseball, the National Football League, the National Hockey League, NCAA football, baseball and men's and women's basketball as well as boxing, mixed martial arts and various U.S. Olympic teams.

Golf aficionados who venture into Illinois have also read Jim in GOLF Chicago Magazine as well as the Chicago District Golfer and Illinois Golfer magazines.