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IndyCar Roundtable: Season Grades, Schedule Tweaks, And Possible Title Upsets

IndyCar Roundtable: Season Grades, Schedule Tweaks, And Possible Title Upsets

*This Week's Participants*: Toni Montgomery (Frontstretch IndyCar Editor / Michael Annett Driver Diary) Danny Peters (The Yellow Stripe / IndyCar Writer) Matt Stallknecht (Frontstretch IndyCar Writer) *We're actually a little past halfway into the season so let's share some thoughts on how things have gone so far.* Matt: Well I think the oval races have been outstanding. Last week's race in Iowa in particular was one of the best motorsport races of the year in my opinion. The road and street races have been lacking in excitement, but I've been very pleased with what I've seen so far on the oval side of things. Read More »

IndyCar Race Recap: Hunter-Reay Makes It A Repeat Performance

IndyCar Race Recap: Hunter-Reay Makes It A Repeat Performance

*In A Nutshell:* Ryan Hunter-Reay makes it two in a row with a convincing win at Iowa Speedway. Hunter-Reay started seventh and had a fast car all night, as did all the Andretti Autosport drivers. He was strong all night and simply motored to the front in the end and stayed there. Teammate Marco Andretti finished second, followed by Tony Kanaan, Scott Dixon, and Simon Pagenaud rounding out the top five. The victory also bring Hunter-Reay within three points of series points leader Will Power. *Key Moment:* Scott Dixon's car wasn't quite what he wanted it to be all weekend so he used pit strategy to get to the lead in hopes that he could hold off all challenges by being in front. Hunter-Reay's faster car was just too strong and on lap 238, he motored right on by Dixon to take the lead for the final time. Read More »

IndyCar Race Recap: Milwaukee IndyFest Presented by XYQ

IndyCar Race Recap: Milwaukee IndyFest Presented by XYQ

*In A Nutshell:* Ryan Hunter-Reay gave team owner Michael Andretti a win in his own race in Milwaukee. Andretti's company Andretti Sports Marketing was the promoter of the race. Hunter-Reay was strong from the beginning, starting the race in second and staying in the top five pretty much all day before taking the lead for the first time on lap 142. He never gave up the top spot after that. Tony Kanaan came home second followed by James Hinchcliffe, Oriol Servia and EJ Viso. *Key Moment:* Helio Castroneves went with an alternate strategy and stayed on track to gain the lead when pretty much everyone else pitted under caution on lap 97. Hunter-Reay patiently ran him down and passed him when Castroneves' older tires started to wear out. Once in the lead, Hunter-Reay flexed his muscle and held off all challengers for the final 84 laps. Read More »

IndyCar Race Recap: Fast and Furious Firestone 550K

IndyCar Race Recap: Fast and Furious Firestone 550K

*In A Nutshell:* The pack racing that characterized races at tracks like Texas was the result of cars with so much downforce that all drivers had to do was mat it and drive. It was eliminated this time around by giving the new car set up options that required drivers to manage tires and adjustments throughout the stint and made the car very difficult to handle at times. It put the race back into the hands of the drivers who had to use all their skills to keep control. Cars came on strong and cars faded meaning a lot of juggling of position through the field, and overall, it ended up being an anything can happen kind of night. Read More »

A Last-Lap Thriller For The Ages: Indy 500 Race Recap

A Last-Lap Thriller For The Ages: Indy 500 Race Recap

*In A Nutshell:* With new cars, new engines and no clear favorite emerging, the hype going in promised an up-for-grabs, wide open contest where anything might happen. So often, things don’t live up to the hype, but not this time. The 2012 Indy 500 featured a record 35 lead changes among ten drivers, sixteen cars finished on the lead lap, and the event was unpredictable right up until the final moments. Defending IZOD IndyCar Series champion Dario Franchitti hadn’t run particularly well in the first four races of the season, qualified way back in 16th, and was barely mentioned before the race, but at the end of the day he was drinking the milk in Victory Lane for the third time despite a pit road incident that nearly destroyed his day. Mission accomplished, IndyCar. Read More »

IndyCar Race Recap: “Power”ing Through The Honda Grand Prix Of Alabama

IndyCar Race Recap: “Power”ing Through The Honda Grand Prix Of Alabama

*In A Nutshell:* A red flag during Saturday’s qualifying session negated Will Power’s fast lap and left him ninth on the starting grid. He wasn’t happy with that result, thinking he couldn’t win the race from that far back. Good pit strategy, good tire strategy and patience put Power in front by the end of the day where he drove away for his second consecutive victory at Barber Motorsports Park. Scott Dixon finished second followed by Helio Castroneves, Graham Rahal, and rookie Simon Pagenaud who improved on his series best finish from last week by one position. Read More »

IndyCar Race Recap: Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg

IndyCar Race Recap: Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg

*In a Nutshell:* Helio Castroneves in a Chevrolet beat Honda driver Scott Dixon to the line by 5.5292 seconds to win the Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg. Castroneves and Dixon both employed a two stop strategy, the right call for the mainly green flag race. Ryan Hunter-Reay and Andretti Autosport teammate James Hinchcliffe finished third and fourth. Penske Racing’s Ryan Briscoe rounded out the top five. *Key Moment:* Scott Dixon pitted for the final time with 31 laps to go and Castroneves made his stop one lap later. Dixon cycled out ahead of Castroneves but Castroneves made a bold pass to the outside of Dixon in turn one with 28 laps remaining and then passed leader J.R. Hildebrand, showed some patented Penske power, and drove away to the win. Read More »

Frontstretch Breakdown: 2011 Indy 500

Frontstretch Breakdown: 2011 Indy 500

*In a Nutshell:* Leading laps is nice, but if you are only going to lead one, make it the right one. Dan Wheldon did. When rookie J.R. Hildebrand hit the wall in the fourth turn on the final lap while leading, Wheldon slipped by just a couple hundred yards before the finish line. It was the one that counted and he walks away with his second Indy 500 win. *For the Highlight Reel* Ah, but not so fast. Wheldon was immediately declared the winner but *Hildebrand’s Panther Racing team lodged a protest*. The caution was thrown when Hildebrand hit the wall but Wheldon drove by. The team contended that Wheldon could not pass Hildebrand with the caution out. Series officials eventually determined that Wheldon went by before the yellow and the win stands. In my opinion the win should stand even if Wheldon had gone by after the caution flew. After all, Hildebrand was the reason for the caution and his mangled car was wedged firmly in the wall at the time, even if he had continued forward motion. Since when does everyone have to stop and not pass the guy who has crashed? It’s not NASCAR, but wouldn’t that also fall under that bit about having to maintain a reasonable speed? Read More »

Frontstretch Breakdown: Indy 500

Frontstretch Breakdown: Indy 500

*In A Nutshell:* Great Scot! Really. While most of the attention after qualifying fell to Tony Kanaan and his Andretti Autosport teammates having a rough month of May, drivers like Paul Tracy who didn’t make the field, or Helio Castroneves and his quest for a fourth victory, Dario Franchitti garnered very little attention. That’s OK. He let his right foot do his talking instead, going out and dominating the race. He led 155 of 200 laps, scoring his second Indy 500 victory and fourth overall for owner Chip Ganassi. *For the Record Books:* So Helio Castroneves missed in his bid to become the fourth four-time winner of the race. Roger Penske missed in his bid to be the first car owner to win the race four times with two drivers. But Ganassi did not miss getting his name in the record books. Dario Franchitti, in tandem with Jamie McMurray, made him the first owner to win both the Daytona 500 and the Indy 500 in the same year. Read More »

Everybody Loves Helio, But Can He Be Great?

Helio Castroneves, the always upbeat Brazilian with the infectious personality, is poised to add his name to the Indy 500 record book again. Sitting on the pole and considered an early favorite, he will be only the fourth driver to score four wins in the Memorial Day weekend classic if he can pull off the victory. Read More »