As the Indy Car series left one street circuit (Long Beach) they arrived at another in Sao Paulo, Brazil. Arriving on the home turf of several Indy Car drivers the stakes were high but it was an American who took first blood as Ryan Hunter-Reay managed to capture the pole position. However, race day was a different story…
SPOILER ALERT BELOW!!!
Ryan hung on to the lead for as long as he could and it became that much harder when Tony Kanaan caught his second wind and hounded the 2012 champion mercilessly. The two drivers traded the lead back and fourth several times, each time Tony would take the lead the crowd roared. However, the hometown celebration was short lived when TK’s engine gave out on him. Ryan lost the lead when the younger drivers came gunning after him from the mid pack.
In the end it was James “Hinchtown” Hincliffe who pulled off a beautiful last lap move on Takuma Sato to take the win. Marco Andretti rounded out the podium with a third place finish (which also now puts him second in the points behind Sato). All the race highlights are below and trust me when I say it definitely worth your time to watch!
I know I am a little behind but hey I took on three days and three different motorsports all by myself! It was rough, but fun. By now you probably already know that Takuma Sato made history by winning the Toyota Grand Prix Of Long Beach and becoming the first Japanese driver to win an Indy Car event as well as the first Japanese driver to win at Long Beach. However, despite what he said in his post race interview, it did not come easy.
Long Beach is known for being a dangerous narrow street course and the walls ate up plenty of drivers this year, including defending champion Ryan Hunter-Reay. Sato was able to navigate his way through all of the random carnage unscathed and his team managed a top notch pit stop to keep their driver up front which allowed him to go on and get the victory. Graham Rahal came second behind Sato and Justin Wilson got his first podium of the season with a third place finish.
If you want to see all the action for yourself check out the highlight reel below. If you want to see the fruit of my three days of labor hit the red text for the full gallery on our facebook page.
There was a ton of racing over the Memorial Day weekend but the biggest event was easily the 96th annual Indianapolis 500 on Sunday. This year’s Indy 500 was a year of firsts. It was the first year with the new DW12 Dallara chassis on the famous oval, the first year in a long time that we had multiple engine manufacturers battling it out, and unfortunately the first Indy 500 without Dan Wheldon who won last year’s race before his tragic death. Really the entire event was a massive tribute to Mr. Wheldon and more so than the thrill of victory, the history, and the glory many of the top drivers wanted to win the event just so they could have the honor of their likeness on the Borg Warner trophy next to Dan’s. The new chassis and their freshly tested oval set up provided for tons of excitement as there were 35 total lead changes, smashing the previous record of 29. There were many who were looking like a good bet to take it all. Rookie James “Hinchtown” Hinchcliffe qualified 2nd and held the lead for a significant amount of time. Marco Andretti also looked very strong and lead more laps than most.
Although, in the end it was the familiar sight of the Target Chip Ganassi team taking control of the race. Teammates Dario Franchitti and Scott Dixon took turns swapping the lead several times during the last 20 laps although they had serious contention from Tony Kanaan and Takuma Sato. It was Dario who had the lead at the end of the race and despite what can only be described as the ballsy-est oval pass attempt in history by Takuma Sato, Dario managed to hang on to the lead and earned his third Indy 500 victory (under caution). According to Indy Car Dario earned just over 2.4 million dollars for his victory as well as a place in the history books as being among the few drivers to have 3 Indy 500 victories under their belts. To see some of the best race action from the event, scroll down to check out the highlights video.
Fresh off of Long Beach and right before the Indy 500 the Indy Car series visited the streets of Sao Paulo Brazil for a 300 mile street fight. Unfortunately due to the street courses narrow turns and off weather the street fight was more of a thumb wrestling match. Because of the nature of the course and over eagerness on behalf of the drivers, at least a third (conservatively speaking) of the race took place under a yellow flag which resulted in a bit of a snore fest for fans like me watching at home. There was some excitement towards the end when it looked like Rubens Barrichello or Tony Kanaan would make the podium on their home turf but fuel strategy ended that dream for Barrichello and Kanaan was taken out in a late race pile-up. So it was business as usual with Will Power winning the race (from pole). However, Ryan Hunter-Reay provided a bit of excitement by giving Power a serious run in the closing laps but ultimately he did not have anything for the Aussie and remained in second place. The big (and only) surprize in the race came from Takuma Sato who managed to not only finish his first race of the season but also get on the podium capturing third place due to a bit of a gift from that same pile up I mentioned earlier.
Will Power’s win marks his third in a row and puts him in a significant lead in the points battle. Up next is the “most famous race in all of motorsports”, the Indy 500. This will be the first time fans will see the entire grid of new chassis and engine mixes on the famous oval as well as the first time many of the teams on the grid will put wheels down on the hallowed asphalt. May should be an interesting month!