Randy Bernard may have been ousted as CEO of IndyCar after last season but part of his legacy lives on in the first of this season’s doubleheader race weekends. The Dual in Detroit may not have resulted in the track on Belle Isle being literally torn up as it was in last year’s race but the cars certainly were torn up after Sunday’s race.
There were so many storylines heading into the Indianapolis 500. There was Dario and Helio’s drive for a fourth Indy 500 victory. The Andretti Autosport cars were dominating practice with Marco Andretti and rookie Carlos Munoz looking particularly strong. And the single-car effort of owner/driver Ed Carpenter beat all of big teams to score the pole.
But as the 500 tends to do, the pre-race storylines get thrown to the wind. It was a race that ran green for a long stretch but saw the field stay fairly bunched and tons of passing as a result. It was only fitting that the race was won on a daring three-wide pass as Tony Kanaan won his first Indianapolis 500 Mile Race.
A week of practice led us to believe that the Chevys were going to be fastest but the Hondas could stay in touch and star up front. However, when wheels were turned in anger, it was all Chevy, all day. Surprisingly, though, it wasn’t the Penskes or Andrettis who had been dominating practice who won the pole but Ed Carpenter who will start P1 for the Greatest Spectacle in Motorsport.
It used to be that we didn’t expect much passing from a street race but that’s changed since the introduction of the DW12. That was never more evident than yesterday in Sao Paulo when an absolutely epic IndyCar race ended with a pass for the win on the final turn of the last lap to give the Mayor of Hinchtown, James Hinchcliffe, his second win of the season.
It’s been almost twelve years since Takuma Sato last won a race. That was the legendary Macau Grand Prix in November 2011. AJ Foyt Racing hasn’t run a race since an oval race in Kansas in July 2002. All it took for the two to break their losing streaks was to find each other as Takuma Sato picked up his first IndyCar win by taking the chequered flag at the Grand Prix of Long Beach.
The first round of the season at St. Petersburg didn’t go well for many of the expected championship contenders. Will Power’s race was derailed when he was hit by J.R. Hildebrand. Dario Franchitti was the first car out after hitting the wall on cold tires. And Ryan Hunter-Reay had a mechanical problem that relegated him to an 18th place finish.
This week at the Barber Motorsports Park, two out of the three were able to turn their seasons around. Franchitti finished 25th for the second consecutive race but Power was able to finish fifth. However, it was the defending champion Ryan Hunter-Reay who picked up his first win of the season.
Hey look! We’ve added IndyCar coverage this year on the blog. Regular readers know that I’m a passionate fan of American open-wheel racing. I watched CART long before I ever watched Formula One or NASCAR so I think it’s about time that I brought some IndyCar posts to the blog. It’s a bit of a work in progress but for now, our IndyCar coverage will be similar to the race and news recaps we do for F1.
And what a week it was for us to start writing regularly about IndyCar. We saw Will Power dominate the weekend only to get literally run over during the race. Two drivers made us go “Danica who?” during the race. One was Simona de Silvestro who ran in the top five for all but the final lap. The other was the man who scored Go Daddy’s first IndyCar win as the Mayor of Hinchtown, James Hinchcliffe, scored his maiden IndyCar victory.