April 10, 2011
Power goes wire-to-wire in Alabama
By DEAN MCNULTY, QMI Agency
TORONTO - The question will be asked: How did Will Power manage to lead every single lap — even in and out laps from pit road — to win the IZOD IndyCar Honda Grand Prix of Alabama on Sunday.
Well the explanation is simple: On the 3.69-kilometre permanent road course at Barber Motorsports Park there are pretty much only three places to execute a relatively safe pass.
First on the start and subsequent double file restarts; second at Turn 5 and third in the pits.
And Power was the master at keeping foes behind him in all three places.
He was one of the most vocal critics at St. Petersburg two weeks ago when IndyCar bosses instituted the double file starts and re-starts, but he was not so loud on Sunday at Barber where he kept his only serious challenger — Ganassi Racing’s Scott Dixon — behind him on each new start.
In fact it was his mastery of the restarts was such that at one point it had Dixon crying foul, accusing Power of moving out of his racing line.
“I was the leader and I knew if I had the inside on him every time there wouldn’t be a problem (of Dixon getting by),” Power said. “What did he expect me to do, move over?”
In any event that was about the only drama on the afternoon.
Unlike IndyCar’s first outing of 2011 at St. Petersburg the crashes didn’t all happen as a result of the NASCAR-like double file restarts.
While the track was still just as littered with wrecks, at Barber most of those came after the re-starts..
Among those caught up in a variety of wrecks was Canadian James Hinchcliffe, who couldn’t avoid accident-prone EJ Viso on Lap 41.
It was Hinchcliffe’s first start in IndyCar and he deserved a better fate.
Montreal’s Alex Tagliani managed to make it to the end, and had climbed as high as eighth in the race, before spinning on a new set of tires on Lap 37 of the 90-lap event.
He finished 15th, one lap behind Power.
Simona de Silvestro, the Swiss Miss who was a surprise fourth at St. Petersburg, was involved in a number of close calls Sunday but still managed to finish ninth.
Carl Edwards nearly didn’t finish the Samsung Mobile 500 on Saturday night at Texas Motor Speedway.
Edwards said he took ill in the hours before the race and even got his Roush Fenway Racing Nationwide Series teammate Ricky Stenhouse Jr. ready to take over the No. 99 RFR Ford should he be needed.
“I was a little sick this morning, and I thought I was all right,” Edwards said after the race. “But my stomach was messed up about 50 laps in ... I hate to throw my mom under the bus, but she cooked a little something last night that I don’t think was too good.”
Edwards ended up not only finishing the race but took third place.
It allowed him to gain back top spot in the Sprint Cup points championship, nine ahead of Kyle Busch and 13 in front of Texas winner Matt Kenseth.
NASCAR Sprint Cup Daytona 500 winner Trevor Bayne was in hospital on Sunday after he apparently was bitten by either a spider or tick prior to Saturday’s Samsung Mobile 500 at Texas Motor Speedway. The 20-year-old Bayne had tweeted earlier: “Not sure if its a spider bite or a tick bite ... But either way I’m in a hospital bed with a needle in my arm!” ... Lewis Hamilton and Fernando Alonso were both handed 20-second penalties at the Malaysian Grand Prix for their actions in the same incident near the end of the F-1 race. Hamilton was given the penalty after he made several blocking moves to keep Alonso from passing him. And Alonso was punished for hitting Hamilton’s McLaren to move him out of the way. After he made contact with Hamilton during their fight, the Spaniard damaging his front wing and having to pit to replace it.