Sunday, 26 July 2011, the 2011 edition of the Edmonton Indy was held, and Will Power took on this event from second pole position, with Takuma Sato in pole position. It was a wonderful day for Power, who gained his fourth victory of the season and has slowly begun to narrow the gap between himself and Dario Franchitti, who is the points leader. The race consisted of eighty laps and was hosted at the City Center Airport. It was not an easy victory for Will Power, as teammate Helio Castroneves along with Dario Franchitti kept the pressure on.
Takuma Sato led the field for a quarter of the race, and was then overtaken by Will Power. While the double file restart was being led by Mike Conway, the green flag was waved and Conway did not accelerate, as he did not see the flag, and Franchitti mistook the green flag, thinking he was only allowed to accelerate at the straight’s end. This lost him great track position, and he found himself in tenth position. He commented that he was very disappointed in himself, and knew that his error cost him valuable time and position. Franchitti called on his experience, and began to make his way back up towards the leaders, but unfortunately catching up to Helio Castroneves and Will Power did not help much as he was not able to find a gap to pass, and was forced to follow the race leaders to the finish line. Power commented that the victory was exactly what they needed.
Power has now increased his championship points to three hundred and fifty, but remains in second position to Dario Franchitti, even though the lead has now been reduced from fifty-five points to thirty-eight points. Power took the victory over Franchitti by 1.2 seconds. Even though there seems to have been some friction between the two drivers, it looks like they have managed to put it aside, especially while on the track. Will Power delivered a spectacular performance and won a fantastic racing event, boosting his running for the championship title and giving his team the victory they so richly deserve.
The Milwaukee Mile is a historical racing track that dates back to 1903. On Sunday, 19 June 2011, the track was filled with cars fighting to win an IndyCar Series race. The Milwaukee 225 was a nail-biting event, with it becoming a race between three drivers, namely Dario Franchitti, Helio Castroneves and Tony Kanaan. But, as misfortune fell upon his rivals, Franchitti’s road to victory was cleared, giving him his third event victory for this season.
Dario Franchitti did dominate for most of the race, but as the laps increased, so did the progress of Castroneves and Kanaan, becoming serious rivals for Franchitti. Castrovenes did so well that he eventually took the lead, but it was not to be for him. As a rear tire began to go flat, he was forced to decrease speed on Lap 167. Castrovenes did not leave the track, as he was patiently waiting for the caution flag to come out, but when it eventually did, with only thirty-one laps left of the race, Kanaan had an unfortunate incident that saw him spin out. After Castronoves made a pit stop for his tire and rejoined the race, he came back in tenth position. Franchitti was therefore able to widen the gap between him and the other contenders and won the Milwaukee 225 comfortably. Due to Franchitti being able to steer clear of trouble, he was able to secure another victory followed home by Graham Rahal in second place, Oriol Servia in third, Will Power in fourth and Danica Patrick finished fifth. Castroneves was only able to move into ninth position after returning from the pits.
Even though Kanaan and Castroneves were ripped from their positions due to misfortunes, all the drivers commented that they had a good race and that the competition was fierce, making it an exciting and fun event for all involved. It was the twenty-ninth time that Franchitti has found victory during his career, and he said that he was absolutely delighted by his victory. Both Franchitti and Will Power now have 271 points in the series, and both have three victories. It is beginning to be a very exciting series and fans will be looking forward to the next meeting with great enthusiasm.
The economic situation all over the world has been felt in many industries and sports in the last few months. Concerns over the IndyCar Series has been on the minds of most members of the auto racing industry, but on Sunday, a capacity crowd and the spectacular victory of Helio Castroneves during the Indy 500, set the Indianapolis Motor Speedway alight with emotion, excitement and overwhelming joy. It was a magnificent racing event that gave spectators all the racing drama, disappointment and elation that is expected from the Indy 500.
Many refer to the Indy 500 as the Greatest Spectacle in Racing, and it was most certainly true of this year’s event. The grandstands were packed with approximately two hundred thousand spectators, and the almost one hundred thousand that could not find space on the stands, decorated the infield in color and vibrant energy. Spectators sat stuck in traffic for hours, to find a parking and a good seat to watch all their racing heroes in action. After seeing ticket sales dwindle and a slump in spectators, the turnout on Sunday, at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, proved that the IndyCar Series was gaining momentum again.
Castroneves delivered a magnificent performance, biding his time until near the end, where he took the lead and won the Indy 500 for the third consecutive year. His win awarded Team Penske with $3 million in prize money, with second place driver Dan Wheldon taking $1.6 million, Danica Patrick in third took home $763 305 and Townsend Bell in fourth, received $445 305. Danika Patrick has been performing extremely well, and is well supported by female racing enthusiasts who are elated to see a woman driver succeed on a closed circuit course. In Victory Lane, Castroneves was overwhelmed by emotion over his victory and the fact that his entire family had come out to support him. After being acquitted from federal tax charges, the victory at the Indy 500 most certainly brought joy to Castroneves and a close to the stressful time he had endured. There is no doubt that his fans will be anxious to see Castroneves in action again, and waiting for the next big victory.
It may not be the first season of unified racing for the IndyCar Series, but teams returning to this year’s events will likely feel that it is. Last year the unification decision was announced in February, just days before pre-season testing commenced. Drivers were ill-prepared for the changes and many suffered for this during the course of the season. This year they can kick off their season truly prepared for it.
Things started out a bit rough-and-tumble for the 2008 IndyCar racing season after some major changes were made a little too close to the first open test. The February Open Test in Homestead, Miami, was missed and a separate Open Test was held in Sebring, Florida. Teams had to spend at least half the season preparing back-up cars just to make it through with some hope of success. Fortunately the drivers were eventually able to catch up, and by the end of the season there were two rookie breakthrough wins by Justin Wilson and Graham Rahal.
Now the 2009 IndyCar series unified racing season is ready to begin as cars get ready to return to the track from February 24-25 for the Open Test. Stating his expectations for the year, Vitor Meira, who has been racing the series for seven years and will be moving to AJ. Foyt Racing for the season, said: “It’s definitely going to be tougher. With the off-season that we have, the new teams have had a lot of time to think, a lot of time to correct their mistakes. Since their learning curve is higher than ours, they’re going to be able to start in better shape than last year.”
Apart from the Open Test announcement, teams will also be racing two new street courses in Long Beach California and Toronto. Drivers seem to be excited about being given the chance to race where people like Mario and Michael Andretti, Helio Castroneves and Dario Franchitti have raced and won before. Will Power remarked that “Unification was the best thing that could’ve happened for open-wheel racing in North America”, due to the fact that “it’s created a lot more interest in the sport.” He couldn’t be more right and no doubt the 2009 IndyCar Series will be a massive success.
In a nail-biting finish that saw Scott Dixon pass Helio Castroneves on the last turn at the Kentucky Speedway in Sparta, Kentucky, Dixon claimed not only the race but his 6th victory of the season. The accomplishment has tied Dixon with the current IndyCar record – one which he looks set to break if he keeps going at his current pace.
To be sure the New Zealander looked set to claim the victory cup early on in the Meijer Indy 300. He dominated most of the 200-lap event and seemed to be unstoppable. But racing isn’t only about skill – it’s also about strategy and the team’s strategy required a fuel stop right near the end of the race. The stop gave Brazilian Helio Castroneves a chance to slip into first place and offered him a glimmer of hope for his first victory of the season. It was a bold move since Catroneves didn’t have much more fuel in his tank but it looked for a moment like it may pay off. However Scott Dixon screamed out the pits like a banshee on steroids and within minutes it was clear he was gaining on Castroneves. But was it too late? Castroneves had managed to pull into first place with just six laps to go and Dixon would have to work really hard to ensure that he caught up and overtook him before the race was over.
After a few rounds, Dixon gained steadily making things really exciting for spectators. He saw his chance when the race leader slowed down coming off the fourth turn due to a fuel shortage. Dixon shot past the Brazilian on the final straightway of the 1.5-mile Kentucky Speedway oval, making for an exciting finish in the last few seconds of the race. Speaking about the race afterwards, Dixon said: “I knew he was a little bit slow and I could see us catching him, and to get him on the last corner was pretty fantastic.” The win extends Scott Dixon’s lead over Castroneves by 13 points to 78. Castroneves finished in second place for the seventh time this year. There are just three races remaining this season and that means that Dixon is short on time to try and beat the current IndyCar record. He’ll also have to work hard to maintain his points lead and win the championship.