I waited all year and the time finally came for open wheel racing to come back to town in the form of the IZOD Indy Car Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach. Last Sunday was race day and I was parked in my usual spot in grandstand 29 along the main straight of Shoreline Drive and waited for the cars to come blasting by me at 180mph into turn 1. With 2 races in the season already completed (St Petersberg and Alabama) victories were split between the Target Chip Ganassi team and Penske Team with one each so fans were playing the “Ganassi or Penske” game coming into this weekend. With Will Power scoring pole position it was looking like the round would go to Penske but then we were reminded that Long Beach is a street course and street courses almost always equal chaos.
The first bit of anarchy started when Helio Castroneves spun Justin Wilson by making contact with him in the hairpin coming on to Shoreline Drive. That mishap brought out a full course yellow which bunched up the field and destroyed any gap that Will Power had built up on the rest of the field. A double file restart was attempted once Justin was clear but the drivers caught stage fright and for the most part stayed in a single file line when the race went green again. Ryan Hunter-Reay managed to snag the lead from Will Power but just when Ryan was starting to get used to being out front another incident with EJ Viso and Danica Patrick brought out another full course yellow which again bunched the field back up and killed any gap that the front runners put on the pack.
This time race control made sure the Indy Cars really did make a double file restart when the track went green again. The result of which was everything going wrong! Helio Castroneves struck again but this time he got into his own teammate Will Power causing both to spin around which totally screwed up Team Penske’s day. Then inexplicably Takuma Sato got a flat and ran into the tires just past the convention center, and a few other rookies mysteriously spun out in the same area just after Sato came to a stop. It was all absolute madness. With all the carnage another full course yellow came out and once things were cleaned up they went for the double file restart once again. This time things went more cleanly, yet things still kicked off with a surprize as Alex Tagliani, Dario Franchitti, and Mike Conway all put pressure on front runners Ryan Briscoe and Ryan Hunter-Reay on the start. First Tagliani seemed to get the jump on the two Ryans but out of no where Mike Conway makes a move on Dario Franchitti then weaves past Tagliani just as Ryan Hunter-Reay’s car decides to take a dump. Then Conway puts a brilliant move on Briscoe to take the lead in the last 6 laps or so and holds on to take his first ever win in the Indy Car Series! It looks like the rest of the season could turn into a three way battle between Ganassi Racing, Team Penske, and Andretti Autosport!
Scroll down for a few highlights from the race and stay tuned for more Grand Prix posts coming up!
The 2010 Indy Car season is starting to wind down and the points race is starting to get closer and more dicey than it has been all season. On Saturday the Indy Car grid lined up at Chicagoland speedway for an oval battle royal (there are no more road courses for the rest of the season). This race was Will Power’s chance to increase his points lead and give himself a cushion going into the last few races of 2010 but his plans for that were totally dashed when Power was forced to give up fighting at the front to come into the pits for a splash and go since a malfunction in a previous pit stop prevented him from getting the fuel he needed.
It was none other than Dario Franchitti who took advantage of Will Power’s misfortune to take the lead and eventually the win. With Dario’s win and Power finishing 16th Dario was able to shorten his gap to Power by a scant 22 points. This is a dangerous position for Will Power since there are only two races left (Twin Ring Motegi, Japan and Homestead Speedway, Florida). It looks like things have gotten interesting again folks..
The Indy Cars hit up wine country over the weekend for the last road course race on the schedule AKA the Indy Grand Prix of Sonoma. Things continued with this race as they have for most of the season, with Team Penske and the Target Ganassi team trading blow for blow. However in this round it was Will Power with Team Penske getting the last punch in by taking the win and the Andretti road course trophy. From this point on its all ovals to see who is going to take the big prize! Check out the race highlights below.
On Sunday the Indy Car series threw an open wheel race party up north in Paul Tracy’s hometown of Toronto. The fans really wantetd Tracy to be there and Tracy really wanted to win there (his last win in Toronto was 2003). For a while it looked like Tracy was about to get what he wanted but because of a miscalculation by his race strategist Tracy had to give up the lead and a shot at the win to re-fuel. This then left the race up to Justin Wilson who inherited the lead that Tracy gave up. However Justin had Will Power (the last of the three Penske cars that were in the running) behind him as well as Dario Franchitti.
The pressure from the two top tier drivers was soon too much for Justin and he spun in a corner from pushing too hard. From that point Will Power and Dario Franchitti had their own battle for the remaining 15 laps of the race but Dario just didn’t have enough for Will Power and Mr. Power went on to take the win. It looks like the streak of Penske and Ganassi wins is going to start all over again! Check out the video below for race highlights and visit the Indy Car website for a full post race report on their end.
Formula 1 wasn’t the only motorsport with its season opener during the weekend. The 2010 Indy Car season got started on Sunday on the streets of San Paulo, Brazil. This race was, problematic from the start. This was the first race in this new street course and it showed. When weather wasn’t plaguing the drivers the nature of the course was. There was a section on the main straight that had a section of recently ground down asphalt and someone forgot to mop up the dust!
Some of the rookies weren’t doing so great either. Former F1 driver Takuma Sato got a little too friendly with the brakes and caused a huge pile up right as the race went green the first time. Then, Mario Morales made the same mistake and literally ran over Marco Andretti. Marco had to sit there with Mario’s car on his head for a few minutes until they were able to get a crane to pull it off. Amazingly, he took it pretty well.. but then again he was probably still fuzzy from the concussion.
When the dust settled it was Will Power and Team Penske on the top of the podium. Check out the race highlights below and a detailed wrap up of the race on Indy Car’s website.
Take a world class race track, add a large helping of Indy Car racing and a dash of Formula D, mix thoroughly and bake tires until smokey and that’s how you get the Indy Grand Prix Of Sonoma. Northern Cali was definitely the place to be this weekend if you’re a racing and drift fan. Formula D was epic and dramatic (more on that later) and the Indy Car race saw another appearance by Dario Franchitti and Ryan Briscoe on the podium. The race started with a first lap pile up which gobbled up points leader Scott Dixon and ultimately kept him mid pack for the majority of the race. This freed things up for Dario to take the lead and fend off Briscoe until he saw the checkered flag. With the rate that the points lead is changing its practically impossible to make even an educated guess at who will win the title this year….just the way I like it! Check out the video below for race highlights.
On Sunday Scott Dixon officially scored his 20th win at Mid-Ohio which makes him the winningest driver in the modern Indy Car series history. Dixon has pretty much conquered it all: road courses, street courses, ovals, super speedways, and short tracks. And I doubt he is getting tired of any of this in the slightest.
Perhaps he felt something special was going to happen this weekend because almost every driver in the front pack said Dixon was “unstoppable” on that day. Dixon’s major “threats” (I use the term loosely) consisted of Justin Wilson at first until he had a huge mishap in pit lane. From that point on Ryan Briscoe and Scott’s teammate Dario Franchitti fought each other for a chance at Dixon. However their dog fight just slowed them down and put Scott that much farther ahead. It was truly a masterful performance by the kiwi champ. Check out the video below for the highlights.
A little late with the race report again folks sorry about that. Anyhow down to business. The Indy Car series made its return to our Canadian neighbors to the north once again this past weekend for the Toronto Indy. This race had been a long time comming for Canadian super star Paul Tracy. Unfortunately his return was short lived when Indy 500 winner Helio Castroneves shoe-horned Tracy’s car into a barrier thus ending his weekend. Natrually Helio was subject to a sonic wall of boo’s for taking out the hometown hero. However the real story was up front with Dari Franchtti, Ryan Briscoe, and Will Power dicing at each other up front. In the end Dario’s cool head kept him in front of the Penske cars and on to the victory. Check out the highlights below.
Yeah I realize I’m a little late with the race report but hey I’m human dang nabbit! Anyway if you didn’t catch the Iowa Indy 250 this weekend you shouldn’t be surprized to know that Mr Ashely Judd AKA Dario Franchitti took the victory this weekend for the second year in a row at that track. It was looking like points leader Ryan Briscoe had the race on lock but with 50 laps to go Dario snatched the lead away and held him off until he saw checkered flags. Check out the video below for the highlights.
The Indy 500 is so huge that when its over sometimes it feels like the end of the season when really its still just the start. One week after Helio Castroneves drank the milk in victory circle the Indy Car caravan hit the Milwaukee Mile for the ABC Supply/AJ Foyt 225. After having such a great run at Indy Helio Castroneves hit just the opposite in Milwaukee as he had trouble in qualifying and had to start way from the back. His teammate and last year’s winner Ryan Briscoe had much better luck as he captured the pole position.
On race day Briscoe lead much of the race while Helio, Dario Franchitti, Scott Dixon, and Graham Rahal chased him down and for the most part he fought them all off. However towards the closing laps of the race Scott Dixon was able to grab the lead away from Briscoe and take it home for his second win of the season and to take over the overall points lead. It was a pretty awesome race. Check out the video below for the highlights.