2011 IndyCar Rd.10--Honda Indy Edmonton

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2011 IndyCar Rd.10--Honda Indy Edmonton

Postby mlittle » Wed Jul 20, 2011 3:52 pm

Baseball great Yogi Berra once opined, "It's deja vu all over again"......well, as the dust settles from the crashfest that was this past weekend's Honda Indy Toronto, the stars of the IndyCar Series travel west to Alberta and the city of Edmonton for the Honda Indy Edmonton.................



Weekend Schedule
note....all times MDT, -2 hrs US EDT/-6 hrs GMT
--Practice Session #1: 11:15am-12:30pm, 22 July 2011
--Practice Session #2: 2:45-3:45pm, 22 July 2011
--Practice Session #3: 10:15-11:15am, 23 July 2011
--Firestone Knockout Qualifying: 3:30-4:50pm, 23 July 2011
--Final Practice: 8-8:30am, 24 July 2011
--Honda Indy Edmonton: 12pm, 24 July 2011

Past Winners
--Sebastien Bourdais(2): 2005, 2007
--Justin Wilson(1): 2006
--Scott Dixon(2): 2008, 2010
--Will Power(1): 2009
Last edited by mlittle on Wed Jul 27, 2011 7:50 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby mlittle » Wed Jul 20, 2011 4:03 pm

Honda Indy Edmonton Entry List


Oriol Servia, #2 Telemundo-NHR
Helio Castroneves, #3 Penske Truck Rental
(R)J.R. Hildebrand, #4 National Guard
Takuma Sato, #5 Lotus-KV Racing
Ryan Briscoe, #6 Penske Truck Rental
Danica Patrick, #7 GoDaddy.com
Paul Tracy, #8 Make A Wish Fdtn.
Scott Dixon, #9 Target
Dario Franchitti, #10 Target
Will Power, #12 Verizon Wireless
Vitor Meira, #14 ABC Supply Co.
(R)James Jakes, #18 Acorn Stairlifts
Sebastien Bourdais, #19 Boy Scouts of America
Justin Wilson, #22 Z-Line Designs
(R)Ana Beatriz, #24 Ipiranga-DRR
Marco Andretti, #26 Dr. Pepper
Mike Conway, #27 @FollowAndretti
Ryan Hunter-Reay, #28 DHL-Circle K
(R)Sebastien Saavedra, #34 Conquest Racing
Graham Rahal, #38 Service Central
E.J. Viso, #59 PDVSA-KV Racing
Alex Tagliani, #77 Bowers & Wilkins
Simona de Silvestro, #78 Nuclear Clean Air Energy
Tony Kanaan, #82 GEICO-KV Racing
(R)Charlie Kimball, #83 Novolog-Levemir FlexPen
(R)James Hinchcliffe, #06 Sprotts-NHR
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Rain Cancels Friday Edmonton Practice

Postby mlittle » Sun Jul 24, 2011 7:57 am

Image

---Steady rain and standing water throughout the revised 2.224-mile, 13-turn Edmonton circuit kept IZOD IndyCar Series drivers from turning laps on Friday.

4:15 p.m. ET, the original estimate for on-track activities, had been moved back an hour to 5:15 p.m., but with a deluge of rain continuing to fall, series officials had no choice but to shift their attention towards running on Saturday.

Racing in the rain is a staple for the IZOD IndyCar Series on road and street courses, but with limited amounts of drainage built into most street circuits, including Edmonton's airport facility, heavy showers can quickly turn into large pools of standing water throughout the track.

Toronto native James Hinchcliffe, driver of the No. 06 Newman/Haas Sprott entry, told SPEED.com the series made the right call.

"We're done for the day now, and unfortunately, the forecast is getting progressively worse for tomorrow," he said. "It was the right choice to make. You have the regular problems with standing water, and then you also have to factor in the Edmonton area's had steady rain for the past two weeks, so the ground is just saturated. There's just nowhere for the new rain to go, so if it keeps raining all night and into the morning like it's supposed to, it's going to be hard to get qualifying going tomorrow."

Round 4 of the 2011 season saw extended red flags on the streets of Sao Paulo--including the race being completed Monday--when torrential downpours made it impossible to maintain traction.

The most memorable rain delay the IndyCar Series experienced came during during practice for the Indy 500, where Target Chip Ganassi's Scott Dixon set off a wave of 'planking' amongst the driver ranks.

Hinchcliffe says drivers, mechanics and engineers didn't bother with planking, but found a new activity to help pass the time on Friday.

"We had a river running through our tent so we started having races with bottle caps and lids off of margarine containers," Hinchcliffe continued. "And then I guess the HVM Racing crew started doing the same thing, but their river was a little deeper, so they were using full water bottle deals and catamaran designs...we were outdone by them, unfortunately. Once our engineers found out what we were doing, they got in on the deal and came up with elaborate designs...their budgets were higher...but we all had a lot of fun with it."

One driver who struggled to sit idly during the rain-out was defending series champion Dario Franchitti, who visited the Edmonton media center to share his thoughts about the day of lost running.

“It is frustrating because with a new track, you want to get track time and everybody is keyed up to go and everyone just has to stand around," he said. "For us, this is what we do. You see the fans walking around, and we have somewhere dry to sit and hang out and the fans are walking around getting rained on. It’s frustrating for us, but it’s doubly frustrating for the fans. I felt a lot worse for those guys than for us.”

It appears that racing will continue tomorrow, but whether Franchitti gets his wish to turn laps or teams and drivers get more time to refine their respective bottle caps and container lids remains to be seen.

Weather permitting, practice is scheduled to start at 11:40 a.m. to 12:25 p.m., and 1:25 p.m. to 2:10 p.m ET.

Qualifying is unchanged at 5:30 to 6:50 p.m. ET.
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Hinch Leads P1 in Edmonton

Postby mlittle » Sun Jul 24, 2011 7:59 am

Image

---With Friday's activities washed out, the IZOD IndyCar Series finally got practice under way Saturday morning with sunny skies overhead and cool ambient temperatures keeping sections of the Edmonton airport circuit damp.

The 45-minute session got off to a predictable start as the wet track led to a lot of slipping and sliding, including a solo spin by Newman/Haas driver James Hinchcliffe, who brought out the yellow flag on the opening lap.

Spins, half-spins and locked brakes continued to rule the session, but as cars put down rubber, lap times dropped progressively and at the end, Hinchcliffe rebounded to snatch the fastest lap of the 26 runners.

The Canadian, driving his Sprott-sponsored entry, was the only pilot to dip below the 1:20 barrier, posting a 1:19.903.

Target Chip Ganassi Racing and KV Racing-Lotus hovered near the top of the charts all morning, with Dario Franchitti ending the session in second with a 1:20.002, followed by his BFF nemesis, Will Power.

Power sat out the early portion of the session and took his time finding speed, but posted a 1:20.018 on his 20th and final tour.

Ganassi's Scott Dixon, the defending race winner, was fourth-fastest with a lap of 1:20.032, followed by the surprising E.J. Viso in fifth.

Despite the challenging track conditions and lack of track familiarity, the top 5 drivers were covered by just .188.

Of the remaining runners, Vitor Meira impressed to place eighth, JR Hildebrand got off to a good start in 12th, while Andretti Autosport's Ryan Hunter-Reay was first home in the four-car team in 13th.

Although a Canadian topped the session, the rest of the Canadians in the field didn't fare nearly as well, as Alex Tagliani (17th) and Paul Tracy (24th) will be searching for speed before qualifying this afternoon.
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Sato Fastest In P2 at Edmonton

Postby mlittle » Sun Jul 24, 2011 8:04 am

Image

---The second practice session for Sunday's 90-lap Edmonton Indy race gave a strong preview of what fans can expect to see tomorrow: locked brakes and running long into Turn 1.

While most drivers have already perfect their 180-degree turnarounds to escape Turn 1, plenty of speed was also found in P2 as Takuma Sato moved to the top of the time chart in his No. 5 KV Racing-Lotus entry as the session ended.

Posting a lap of 1:18.977, Sato moved ahead of Dario Franchitti who held to fastest lap for the majority of the session. Along with Sato, the Scot's lap of 1:18.985 represented the only two laps below the 1:19 barrier.

Franchitti set his fast time on Lap 5, then proceeded to work on race setups, while many drivers spent the session concentrating on perfecting their cars for qualifying.

E.J. Viso showed his pace in P1 with the No. 59 KV Racing car wasn't a fluke, ending P2 in third. Franchitti's teammate, Scott Dixon, was fourth once again, making it a KV 1-3 and Ganassi 2-4.

Team Penske's Will Power fell from third in P1 to fifth in the second session, but was only .133 behind the leader.

Alex Tagliani improved from 17th in P1 to sixth in P2, while James Hinchcliffe, the fastest driver in P1, dropped to 11th.

Ryan Hunter-Reay cracked the top 10 for Andretti Autosport, while teammates Mike Conway (15th), Danica Patrick (16th) and Marco Andretti (21st) have a lot of room for improvement.

JR Hildebrand went backwards--from 12th in P1 to 20th in P2--which doesn't bode well for Panther Racing, and Paul Tracy continues to struggle for pace in 24th, where he finished in opening practice.

The only yellow of the session came with 30 minutes left on the clock when Sato stalled as he ran out of ethanol fuel. Will Power and Ana Beatriz also made wheel-to-wheel contact, but both cars were mostly undamaged in the incident.
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Power Finds Redemption In Edmonton

Postby mlittle » Wed Jul 27, 2011 7:54 am

(from SU, 24 July 2011)

Image
---Sanity was restored to the IZOD IndyCar Series in Edmonton just two weeks after bruised egos and battered cars made the headlines in Toronto. The reconfigured airport circuit had some notable contact during the 80-lap event, but for once on a road or street course this season, the return to normal wheel-to-wheel racing was the story of the day.

Team Penske dominated the event, with Will Power controlling the majority of the race to lead home teammate Helio Castroneves by .808 seconds at the finish line. After losing out on a possible win at Toronto, Power was happy to find redemption on the second stop of IndyCar's Canadian swing.

"It feels awesome, man," said Power, who earned his fourth victory of the year. "We were all just down after two bad races. It was great to see Helio in second. The ever-consistent Dario was in third. Just gotta keep chipping away at it. Just a good all around job by the guys. It was so bloody hard there at the end with Helio and Dario pushing me along. I just couldn't gap them. It's good for Verizon and also good for Team Penske. To finish 1-2 is really good."

Helio Castroneves had his strongest non-oval run of the year in Edmonton, and looked like he had the speed to pass Power in the latter stages of the race. The Brazilian got to within a quarter-second of Power, but knew it would take a desperate move to get past. "This is great for [the team]," he said. "We struggled this year so much. Finally, we are able to make it to the top 3. I had one or two chances to go really close to Will, but it's a great result for us."

Target Chip Ganassi's Dario Franchitti finished 1.173 seconds behind Castroneves, but never looked like a contender for the win. After falling as far back as 13th, the Scot put in an impressive drive to recover 10 positions but had nothing for the Penske cars ahead of him. "To come back to third was good," he said. "It was a nice recovery by the team to get there. Great team effort."

Ryan Briscoe was ready to make it three Penske cars in the top 4, but a stop for a splash of fuel on the final lap dropped the Aussie to 10th, promoting Tony Kanaan to fourth. Kanaan was happy to salvage the day for KV Racing-Lotus after pole winner Takuma Sato was spun by Ryan Hunter-Reay while running second.

"It was a normal day," said the 2004 series champion. "We started in the back and moved to the front. [It was] unfortunate for Sato. We're improving weekend after weekend."

Justin Wilson earned fifth for Dreyer & Reinbold Racing, his best finish of the year, followed by Sebastien Bourdais, his old arch nemesis from Champ Car, in sixth. "I think we had a great race," said Wilson. "The Z-Line Design car was pretty quick and we were trying to pick our way through all the incidents out there and stay out of trouble. We had some good racing with Tony [Kanaan]."

A pair of sixths in Canada and the fastest race lap at Edmonton gave Bourdais a lot to feel positive about. “I am very happy with the way this race turned out,” he said. “I came out with a determination to fight and the [Boy Scouts of America] crew guys helped me do just that. I was really pushing the car hard, but I made a couple mistakes out on the track, which cost me a few positions. Finishing in the top 6 for two weekends in a row is certainly something that we’re proud of and shows we’re moving in the right direction as a team.”

Ryan Hunter-Reay finished a contentious seventh, directly ahead of teammates Mike Conway and Danica Patrick. Hunter-Reay had the pace to run up front, but a silly passing attempt on Sato on Lap 39--spearing the No. 5 car under braking in turn 5--ended the Japanese driver's chances of a proper result and earned the American a drive-through penalty.

Reminiscent of his move that parted Graham Rahal with third at Toronto, Hunter-Reay accepted full blame for today's incident. "It's completely my fault," he said. "[Sato] broke a bit early and I went for it. We recovered some there, but we should have been [on the] podium."

Sato would finish 21st.

Conway also earned the ire of a fellow competitor after punting Oriol Servia into the tire barriers on Lap 25, bringing out the yellow flag.

Servia was clearly struggling for pace, but Conway's ill-conceived passing attempt at the apex of Turn 12 parked the Spaniard hard against the tires, breaking his rear wing. Servia would return after making a call to the pits, finishing four laps down in 22nd.

While Hunter-Reay and Conway fell back and charged forward to earn seventh and eighth, Patrick used her patented trouble-free approach to road and street courses to finish just 2.6 seconds behind Conway.

Like Castroneves, Patrick was strong at Edmonton and deserved her second top 10 outside of the ovals this year after starting 22nd.

"We had a really solid race," she said. "We had some strong restarts and my crew was fantastic in the pits. Near the end of the race, I just didn't have the speed to hold my position. At the end of the day, it was a good top-10 finish for the GoDaddy.com car, which is great momentum heading into Mid-Ohio."

The final member of the Andretti clan had a forgettable day in Canada. Coming off a fourth in Toronto, Marco Andretti wanted more than a 14th in Edmonton.

"It just wasn't our day," he said. "We had some problems at the beginning that affected the Dr Pepper car - we ended up stopped on the track for a bit and had some problems with the engine cutting out on the front straight. After that cleared we just didn't have the speed we needed and our strategy ended up on the wrong side of a couple yellows. Disappointing but we'll march forward."

The start of the race featured nothing but good behavior from the 26 starters, with Franchitti making a noticeable effort to give Power room in Turn 1 as the Ganassi driver looked down the inside of the Penske car. Behind them, that courtesy lasted until Turn 5 when Alex Tagliani dove down the inside--just as Hunter-Reay would later do to Sato--locked his brakes, and speared Graham Rahal.

With a flat left rear tire, Rahal pulled away from the crash site, only to run off on the grass as the right-hand Turn 6 complex. With a spin on the grass that continued back onto the track, Paul Tracy, starting 25th, was met by a sideways Rahal and had nowhere to go. The left side of the Canadian's Make A Wish car was flattened, and Rahal's Service Central car went from needing a new tire to being out of the race.

The needless chain of events set into motion by Tagliani clearly irked Rahal.

"This is two races in a row," he said after finishing 25th. "I'm really frustrated. These are the kind of things IndyCar needs to call." Tagliani would receive a drive-through penalty and eventually finished 17th.

For Tracy, who has had a horrendous time at his two home races, being the first car out seemed to fit their fortunes of late.

"It’s just been a massively disappointing weekend for Dragon Racing. It's been two poor weekends [in a row]."

Of the three Canadian drivers in the race, Tagliani and Tracy had little to be happy about, and things weren't much better for rookie James Hinchcliffe.

On a rare off-day for Newman/Haas Racing, Servia and Hinchcliffe went backwards during the race, with Hinchcliffe stalling and losing track position after hitting the back of Danica Patrick while circulating under a yellow flag.

“It was probably the worst race I can remember in a long time," said Servia. "We missed the boat on the set up philosophy. I was struggling a little bit to keep my position but we were still going to be in the top six I think. It seems like drivers are losing judgment lately and finally I see some penalties so that’s a good start. I’m really sad that we couldn’t at least salvage some points for the Telemundo team like we were going to. [Mike] Conway came and apologized. He tried to find a hole; I left him space but we had cold tires and I think he just carried too much speed and just hit me. It’s unfortunate and it cost us a position in the point standings.”

Coupled with his 14th at Toronto, Hinchcliffe wanted more than his 15th-place finish at Edmonton, which further widened the gap to JR Hildebrand in the Rookie of the Year standings.

“We were in trouble right from the drop of the green flag," he said. "We lost a couple of spots in the first start and I wasn’t too, too worried about that at first. Once we got back going I realized that we were really struggling for front grip – bad. Then we lost a few more spots and were just trying to hold station and the yellow came out before we were about pit. And then as everyone was lining up to dive into the pits everybody starting jacking around down at the hairpin, trying to brake-check everyone to get a good run into the pits to create a gap but all it does is create an accordion effect. Unfortunately I didn’t see it soon enough and got into the back of Danica. Because we are only going 10 mph at that point, as soon as I touched her, the car stalled."

Hildebrand improved 13 positions to finish 11th, making some nice passes--including one on Vitor Meira to claim 11th on Lap 78.

“The thing for me that’s encouraging, and encouraging for everybody on the National Guard Panther team is we had a really fast race car out there," he said. "As far as temporary circuits go, I feel like this is the best racecar I’ve had in all of those events. That’s good and it definitely and it allowed me to be aggressive and allowed me to make some good passes on-track; setting guys up, braking late and getting by them and pulling away – so that always makes your day a lot more exciting.”

Of the remaining runners, Ana Beatriz followed backed up an 11th at Toronto with 13th at Edmonton, despite receiving front wing damage during the crash caused by E.J. Viso on Lap 30.

The Venezuelan, enjoying his best performance since Brazil earlier in the year, copied Tagliani's move on Lap 1, diving down the inside of Turn 5 where he clobbered Scott Dixon. Beatriz would receive her front wing damage as cars packed up behind Viso, Conway would be pushed off course and Dixon would suffered a punctured left radiator.

Running third at the time, the Kiwi was less than complimentary about being an involuntary participant in Viso's latest accident.

"It was a tough day for the No. 9 Target team today," he said. "We had a good start and I think we had the pace to contend for the win. Unfortunately we didn't get a chance to show that speed. I'm not sure what Viso was doing but he took us out and almost took Dario out as well. It was one of those deals where I could see it happening in my mirror but couldn't get out of his way. We just can't buy a break I guess."

Simona de Silvestro settled for 24th after a clutch failure stalled the HVM Racing car in Turn 13 on Lap 54.

"It's definitely disappointing," said De Silvestro. "The team worked so hard this weekend to improve the Nuclear Clean Air Energy car every time we went out on track. After our top-ten finish in Toronto, I thought we were headed toward a repeat, but that just wasn't our luck today. So we'll hope to do it in Mid-Ohio."

For fans hoping to see a repeat of Toronto, Edmonton was a disappointment. Barring the three bouts of brain fade in Turn 5, the IZOD IndyCar Series driver got back to the business of close, hard street racing.

It won't go down in history--or infamy, as the 2010 Edmonton experienced with Helio Castroneves' post-race meltdown--but it did send a subtle reminder that when Will Power is left untouched, he's mighty hard to beat.

Edmonton also showed that Castroneves is more than capable of shining when the stars align, and that if misfortune has a home inside Team Penske, it usually resides in Ryan Briscoe's camp.
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