In each of the last four seasons, the last thing you wanted to do was lead the IndyCar championship heading into the final race of the season. In each of the last four seasons, the points leader at the start of the final race is not the points leader at the end of that race. It took the last man to hold his lead through the final race to break that streak as Scott Dixon won the championship after an exciting and tense race.
Helio Castroneves came into the doubleheader weekend at Houston with a one-race points lead over Scott Dixon for the 2013 IndyCar Championship. In the span of only a few laps on Saturday, the championship battle got considerably closer. Then, on Sunday, the championship battle was turned completely on its head. However, it wasn’t all good news for Ganassi Racing after a last lap crash on Sunday.
Well, I’m not sitting on five weeks’ worth of IndyCar news just to keep with the regular schedule around here. With F1 having the week off, I thought I’d take the opportunity to recap some of the more interesting news in the IndyCar series since the last race in Baltimore. And there certainly has been some interesting rumblings in the world of IndyCar.
The Baltimore street circuit has given us some memorable moments and races in its previous two appearances on the calendar. It’s amazing that it’s been as racy as it has because it’s very bumpy and very narrow but, somehow, it results in a good show.
That was the case in this weekend’s IndyCar Grand Prix of Baltimore. The narrow city streets of Baltimore and tight corners resulted in Dallara being the big winner of the weekend as they’ll make a mint off of selling replacement parts. On track, it was Simon Pagenaud who kept his nose relatively clean en route to his second win of the season.
If you went into Sunday’s race thinking that the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course had it out for Charlie Kimball, I would have agreed with you. Last year, Charlie injured himself in a practice crash which kept him out of the race. A practice crash this year forced him into his back-up car for the race. And still Charlie fought through the adversity to win his first IndyCar race in decisive fashion.
This weekend was the second of three doubleheader weekends on the 2013 IndyCar Series schedule and it was the first time that we would see a standing start in the IndyCar Series. It also happened to be the first time that we saw the doubleheader winner bonus handed out as Scott Dixon did the double in Toronto after winning both races.
For the first time in 24 years, the IndyCar Series made its return to the Pocono Raceway with the second leg of the revived Triple Crown. That wasn’t the only return to happen this weekend. The race saw the return of Ganassi to the top step of the podium after a 13-race winless streak dating back to last season as Scott Dixon took the checkered flag to win the Pocono 400 and give Ganassi Racing its first ever 1-2-3 finish.
It’s not been a good run for Canadian mayors lately. The Mayor of Toronto, Rob Ford, is in the middle of a scandal over an alleged video of him smoking crack. Corruption has resulted in a revolving door in the mayor’s offices of Montreal and its suburbs. However, in the lovely city of Hinchtown, all is well this weekend after the mayor, James Hinchcliffe, won his third IndyCar race of the season and first on an oval after dominating the Iowa 250.
Let’s face it, last week’s race in Texas was a bit lacking in action. Drivers trying to keep their cars out of the wall and tyres under the car doesn’t make for an exciting race on TV, though it probably makes for an excessively exciting night in the cockpit. Fortunately, the series’ trip to Milwaukee produced a bit more action that ended with Ryan Hunter-Reay scoring his second straight win on the Milwaukee Mile.
For the first seven races of the season, Team Penske had been watching everyone else win races. You knew that it was just a matter of time before they broke through for their first win of the season and they did it in a big way in Texas. Helio Castroneves didn’t just win his first race of the season but dominated the field en route to the win which made him the seventh winner in eight races this season.