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!
Indy Car made a stop in Alabama this weekend at the famous Barber Motorsports park for the Honda Indy Grand Prix Of Alabama. The track is a favorite among the drivers but most were visibly restless and apprehensive about the start of the race. Many wondered if there would be a repeat of the opening lap pile up that happened at St. Pete with cars flying over each other and folks turning upside down. To help remedy the problem race officials moved the “acceleration line” back an additional 125 feet and during the driver’s meeting the race stewards had a simple message for all the drivers: “grow up”. It was made clear to all the drivers that they should know how to handle the situation without going to pieces, literally.
The message must’ve gotten through because the race started off without a hitch. Especially for Will Power who was the pole sitter for the event in a intense qualifying session the day before. Thanks to his new training regimen he was able to lead the race from flag to flag taking the win with Scott Dixon following behind to take second and Dario Franchitti taking third spot on the podium. A notable result was Marco Andretti who managed a 4th place finish. Now that Alabama is in the books the next race on the schedule is right here in our back yard at the Toyota Grand Prix Of Long Beach. We’ve got our tickets! Get yours!
After a long and crazy off-season the Indy Car Series finally got back underway at the Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg over the weekend. There was a bit of shuffling around amongst the teams but the biggest story of the off season was crowd favorite Tony Kanaan losing his spot at Andretti Autosport due to his main sponsor 7/11 bowing out of the series. Luckily at the last few moments before the 2011 season went green the Brazillian driver was picked up by KV Racing/Lotus with additional support from Geico Insurance. Another notable draft pick was Paul Tracy being picked up by the Dryer Reinbold team. So how did the first race of the season play out? First place was business as usual with Dario Franchitti taking the victory. Will Power came in 2nd place while Tony Kanaan started off his career with KV Racing by giving the team a 3rd place position in the first race of the season. What really got everyone talking though was Simona De Selvestro’s stellar performance. She earned herself a fourth place finish after she was barely edged out by Kanaan in an epic battle. For race highlights check out the video below and stay tuned as we give you all the coverage you can stand for the next round of the Indy Car Series at the Long Beach Grand Prix which is right in our back yard!
I hope everyone enjoyed their Labor Day weekend! I’m sure some of you, like me spent some time on Saturday watching the Kentucky Indy 300. For those who didn’t here is a quick run down of how things played out. Going into the race many were thinking that this was the weekend that Will Power was going to increase his points gap and pretty much lock in his 2010 championship title. However after a near crash due to washing out while trying to pass lapped traffic shook him off the lead and after he recovered the best he was able to muster was an 8th place finish. That didn’t bode well for him as his closest rival Dario Franchitti finished 5th, closing the points gap to just 17 points with two races left.
So who took the win? None other than Will Power’s teammate Helio Castroneves. Yeah, I know we haven’t heard his name in a while have we? Early in the race Helio’s crew botched a pit stop. So his race strategist decided to turn the misfortune into an advantage by going off sequence thus giving Helio more fuel than the rest of the field which enabled him to take the lead late in the race and capture the win. Check out the rest of the race highlights in the video below.
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.
So, the Honda Edmonton Indy race was yesterday and with the exception of the last 3 laps or so there wouldn’t have been much to report. Will Power took the pole position on Saturday and for a great majority of the race Will Power was in the lead with teammates Helio Castroneves and Ryan Briscoe in tow. For a while it looked like we were going to see a boring Team Penske 1-2-3 finish. However, towards the end of the race a chain of events unfolded which ultimately resulted in a massive explosion of in-field drama. It started with the leaders of the race coming into the pits to get fresh tires and fuel to start off the last stint. While Will Power’s crew put a set of hard compound black tires on his car, Helio’s team decided to go for the red-sidewall soft compound tires. Because of this Helio was able to take the lead from Will just as they were coming up on lapped traffic.
This is where things got interesting…
As Will Power fought his way through lapped traffic to get back behind Helio an incident in the back pack brought out a full course yellow during the last 5 laps of the race. Two laps later all the cars were bunched together for a restart leaving Will Power poised in the perfect position to over take Helio. As the green flag dropped Power attempted to make his move on Castroneves going into turn 1 but was foiled as Helio pushed Will towards the outside. In this skirmish Scott Dixon (who was in 3rd) capitalized on the opportunity and passed Will Power to take the 2nd place position behind Helio.
Just as the cars crossed the line marking just 2 laps to go a message comes down from the race officials to the Team Penske pit that Helio was being issued a drive through penalty for blocking Will Power on the restart! This penalty would essentially hand the win over to Scott Dixon as soon as Helio came in to serve his penalty. Helio did not come in… He decided he would stay out finish the race and raise hell later, and raise Hell he did!
As soon as the race was over he pulled off, got out of his car absolutely livid and looked for anyone he could find wearing an Indy Car “Track Official” uniform and got in their face demanding answers. He even grabbed a security guy twice his size by the collar! It was one of the most magnificent displays of emotions I’ve ever seen from Helio and he has had some doozies. The only difference is that while usually Helio’s emotional demonstrations are of extreme happiness or sadness, this time it was unbridled anger! Don’t worry though, there were still some tears in the end. Oh, Helio…
It was so spectacular that Indy Car didn’t even release they’re usual “race highlights” video. Instead they put a full recap of Helio’s meltdown out on the interwebs for all of us to see. Check it out below!
At first I agreed with Helio’s anger but after the rule for blocking was explained I could see how the race officials came to the decision to penalize Castroneves. However what I do not understand is how Scott Dixon got the win when Will Power was in 2nd place when Helio committed the infraction. Shouldn’t the person who was blocked inherit the position that the blocker would be stripped of because of the penalty? Apparently, the Indy Car officials do not see it that way.
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.
I hope everyone had a great Independence Day where no one lost a digit from an explosion! If you happened to tune into Versus TV on Sunday before the fireworks went off you would have seen the Indy Cars putting on their own show at Watkins Glen for the Camping World Grand Prix. One of the big stories for this race was the “Penske Curse”. Ever since 2005 a Team Penske car has always managed to qualify on pole at the Glen but can never win! They almost have a record for all the poles they’ve captured at Watkins Glen but have yet to catch a “W”. However this year Penske came armed with three cars (Will Power, Ryan Briscoe, and Helio Castroneves) and as usual a Penske Car (Will Power, who is also a past winner of Watkin’s Glen) qualified on pole. In the end Penske’s choice to add Will Power as a full-time driver on his team paid off because he managed to break the curse and score a win at the Glen! Check out some of the race highlights below and a full post race report at IndyCar.com.
While most of us were hanging out with our Dads on Sunday, the Indy Car grid tackled the Iowa Superspeedway short track for the Iowa Corn Indy 250. A race on Father’s Day is a pretty nice gift in and of itself but what was even better was how it played out. Despite having horrible practice sessions and crashing during qualifying, Andretti Autosport driver Tony Kanaan managed to pull off an incredible come from behind win starting 15th in the field and fighting his way to the front. This was Kanaan’s first win in just over two years and the first time he has finished the Iowa Corn 250 since ’07. In ’07, ’08, and ’09 Tony crashed out of Iowa despite having strong performances but now that monkey is finally off his back as he celebrates this win. You can read a full race report on Indy Car’s website as well as check out race highlights in the video below.