Monday, July 23, 2012

Castroneves Finds Solace in Edmonton Indy Race Win


Two years ago, Helio Castroneves garnered headlines at the Edmonton City Centre Airport for the race he lost. In 2010, Castroneves would be penalized on the last restart of the IZOD INDYCAR Series' Edmonton Indy race while leading because the series officials judged we had blocked teammate Will Power. While the assessment of the penalty ultimately defined the winner of the Edmonton race, more of a spectacle was created as Helio Castroneves angrily vented to the INDYCAR officials to an extent that earned him a monetary fine following the event. Returning the location in 2012, the Brazilian driver for Team Penske would be a banner day for a more positive reason.
Taking place under a beautiful Alberta summer day where 74 degrees Farhenheit (23 degrees Celsius) kept the Edmonton City Centre Airport road course warm, the 75-lap Edmonton Indy was readied for what would be a fast pace afternoon. The #10 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Honda-powered Dallara of Dario Franchitti inherited the pole position after fastest in qualifying Ryan Hunter-Reay was moved back 10 grid spots following an engine change on his #28 Andretti Autosport vehicle. From the start, Franchitti took full advantage of the pole to rocket away at the site of the green flag.

Photo Credit: Perry Nelson LAT Photo USA/ Honda

However, while the #10 car led into turn 1 at the start of the Edmonton Indy, the hard-charger in the field came from fourth place. The #98 Bryan Herta Autosport race machine piloted by French-Canadian driver Alex Tagliani performed some marvelous slices on the race's start to pass 3rd place starter Takuma Sato and 2nd place Ryan Briscoe immediate on acceleration past the green flag. Into the first corner, Tagliani in fact bumped the car of Franchitti. Stalking Dario Franchitti's red car, Alex Tagliani found a way by the #10 Target Chip Ganassi Racing car on the frontstretch as the first lap was completed. Leading the Edmonton Indy, the #98 car of Alex Tagliani quickly ignited the Canadian racing crowd witnessing the event.

As the Edmonton Indy transpired, the complexion of the event would be shaped by the absence of one aspect typical to auto racing. For the entire length of the 75-lap race on the 2.224-mile temporary track, there would used be a single full-course caution period to slow the event. However, while the lack of cautions was unable to give several struggling competitors the chance to position themselves closer to the front of the Edmonton Indy running order, many drivers were able to create their own passing opportunities thanks to the new 2012 Dallara race cars, push-to-pass system and determination.

While there were several scenes of passing occurring on track, the Edmonton Indy was was led by Alex Tagliani for 49 of the race's first 51 laps (losing the lead only through the pit stop cycle at lap 26 and 27 early on in the event). After the first pit stop, the #3 Team Penske race car of Helio Castroneves tailed the #98 car leading the Edmonton Indy. Early on in the second run, Castroneves was planning on using this Firestone 'red' tires as an advantage over Tagliani's 'black' tires. The softer Firestone tires on the #3 car were not enough to fish around the lead car at the mid-stage of the event leaving Helio Castroneves in 2nd place but maintaining close quarters with Alex Tagliani.

For what would be the deciding move of the Edmonton Indy race, Helio Castroneves pitted prior to leader Alex Tagliani for the second round of pit stops to the attention of his Team Penske crew. Although the #98 team actually sent Tagliani out with a stronger pit time than the #3 car, Castroneves used his new tires to furnish a very fast 'out-lap'. Helio Castroenves' track speed was enough to vault his Team Penske Chevrolet-powered Dallara just ahead of Tagliani as the #98 car was leaving pit road.

Photo Credit: Perry Nelson LAT Photo USA/Honda

Losing the lead during the last stint, Alex Tagliani was eventually passed by a speedier Takuma Sato and later by Will Power for a podium position in the Edmonton Indy. Older tires on the #98 Bryan Herta Autosport machine was ultimate the downfall of the French-Canadian driver's quest to win an IZOD INDYCAR race in Canada. Tagliani was able to hold on to a 5th place finish after 75 laps after putting on a memorable show for his home country.

Through the closing laps, the Rahal-Letterman-Lanigan Racing car piloted by Takuma Sato was in pursuit of Helio Castroneves. Sato's #15 car was able to provide an effective challenge to the #3 car of Castroneves but found chances of victory slip away when his push-to-pass account depleted.

Crossing the finish line first by a margin of 0.8367 seconds, Helio Castroneves won the Edmonton Indy in what was a celebrated moment of triumph. His second win of 2012, Castroeneves' passion came out throughout his time in victory lane. This IZOD INDYCAR Series event at the Edmonton City Centre Airport is first win for Team Penske since Will Power's Sao Paulo victory in late April.


Takuma Sato claimed second place while Will Power took third place after climbing from 17th palce following a grid position penalty taken for an engine change on Saturday. Power's race was also additionally excited by the protest from Ryan Hunter-Reay and his #28 Andretti Autosport team after the competitor raised questions of the #12 Team Penske's exit off pit road. While INDYCAR investigated the incident, there was no action taken against Power. Ryan Hunter-Reay (who entered the Edmonton Indy in the series overall points lead) finished 7th while Castroneves and Power both gained ground on him in the title chase for 2012.

Returning to the United States, the IZOD INDYCAR Series next race will be at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course on August 5th.

Edmonton Indy
Race Results

Car # Driver Driver Nationality Race Team Engine Supplier
1 3 Helio Castroneves Brazil Team Penske Chevrolet
2 15 Takuma Sato Japan Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing Honda
3 12 Will Power Australia Team Penske Chevrolet
4 38 Graham Rahal United States Chip Ganassi Racing Honda
5 98 Alex Tagliani Canada Bryan Herta Autosport with Curb Agajanian Honda
6 10 Dario Franchitti Scotland Target/Chip Ganassi Racing Honda
7 28 Ryan Hunter-Reay United States Andretti Autosport Chevrolet
8 2 Ryan Briscoe Australia Team Penske Chevrolet
9 18 Justin Wilson England Dale Coyne Racing Honda
10 9 Scott Dixon New Zealand Target/Chip Ganassi Racing Honda
11 14 Mike Conway England AJ Foyt Enterprises Honda
12 27 James Hinchcliffe Canada Andretti Autosport Chevrolet
13 8 Rubens Barrichello Brazil KV Racing Technology Chevrolet
14 26 Marco Andretti United States Andretti Autosport Chevrolet
15 7 Sebastien Bourdais France Dragon Racing Chevrolet
16 5 EJ Viso Venezuela KV Racing Technology Chevrolet
17 67 Josef Newgarden United States Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing Honda
18 11 Tony Kanaan Brazil KV Racing Technology Chevrolet
19 83 Charlie Kimball United States Chip Ganassi Racing Honda
20 77 Simon Pagenaud France Schmidt-Hamilton Motorsports Honda
21 4 JR Hildebrand United States Panther Racing Chevrolet
22 20 Ed Carpenter United States Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet
23 78 Simona de Silvestro Switzerland Lotus-HVM Racing Lotus
24 22 Oriol Servia Spain Dreyer & Reinbold Racing Chevrolet
25 19 James Jakes England Dale Coyne Racing Honda


No comments:

Post a Comment