September 4, 2011
Power dominant in Baltimore GP
By Sports Network
Will Power significantly trimmed Dario Franchitti's points lead in the IZOD IndyCar Series by winning the inaugural Baltimore Grand Prix in dominating fashion.
Power moved to within five points of Franchitti after a near-perfect Sunday afternoon drive on the streets of downtown Baltimore. He started on the pole and led 70 of the 75 laps on the 2.4-mile, 12-turn temporary street circuit. The Team Penske driver finished more than 10 seconds ahead of second-place Oriol Servia.
"That was toughest race I've done all year," Power said. "I've never driven so hard in my whole life. I just gave it absolutely everything I had. I'm exhausted."
Power relinquished the lead briefly during his two pit stops. On the opening lap, Graham Rahal took the lead from Power in the first turn, but Power quickly regained it in turn three.
"Graham did a great move on the outside, and then I got straight behind him and out-braked him into the hairpin [turn three]; it was good battle for a couple of corners," he said.
Tony Kanaan had an impressive third-place run after being involved in a terrifying crash with Helio Castroneves during the warm-up practice session earlier in the day. Kanaan lost his brakes heading into turn one. His car made contact with Castroneves' right-rear tire and flew over his sidepod before he ran into the runoff and slammed into the tire barrier.
Kanaan and Castroneves were not injured but had to start from the rear of the field in backup cars.
"It was a great race pace, good strategy and a lot of hard work from the KV Racing guys," Kanaan said. "I can't thank my guys enough for rebuilding the car. We made a mistake this morning, but we fixed it."
Castroneves finished one lap behind in 17th.
"He was very apologetic, but there's nothing to apologize for," Castroneves said after his incident with Kanaan. "It was a mechanical issue that wasn't his fault."
Franchitti finished fourth, while his Chip Ganassi Racing teammate, Scott Dixon, completed the top-five.
After the August 7 race at Mid-Ohio, Franchitti held a 62-point lead over Power, but Franchitti has seen Power gain 57 points on him in the past three events.
Just three races remain this season - Motegi, Japan (September 17), Kentucky (October 2) and Las Vegas (Oct. 16).
Danica Patrick scored her best finish on a road/street course this season with a sixth-place run. She started 23rd.
Graham Rahal ran second to Power for most of the race, but after his last pit stop, Rahal lost valuable track position and wound up finishing 10th.
The first IndyCar race to be run on the streets of Baltimore surprisingly featured just two cautions. The first one came on lap 32 when Tomas Scheckter came to a stop on the track. After the restart six laps later, Ryan Briscoe bumped Ryan Hunter-Reay from behind and turned him around in turn three. It created a melee, with a dozen cars having to come to a complete stop to avoid hitting Hunter-Reay.
Briscoe was penalized for avoidable contact. He ended up finishing 14th.