IndyCar Series 2012
In an IZOD IndyCar Series battle of opposing race strategies, Simon Pagenaud and his Honda-powered Schmidt Hamilton Motorsports team came up just eight-tenths of a second short in their charge during the final laps of Sunday’s Grand Prix of Long Beach, finishing second by that narrow margin to the Team Penske machine of Will Power after 85 laps around the Southern California street circuit.
On a “two-stop” race strategy, Power was able to stretch his fuel to run the last 31 laps to score his first victory of 2012. Pagenaud, running a three-stop race, left the pits after his final stop on Lap 70 in fourth place, but rapidly caught and passed Rubens Barrichello and fellow Honda driver Takuma Sato. He then set off after Power, who was 10 seconds ahead with 10 laps remaining. Pagenaud closed the gap by a second each lap, but came up just short at the checkers.
For a large portion of today’s race, Takuma Sato looked like a contender for the victory, as his Rahal Letterman Lanigan team adopted a similar strategy to Power’s. Sato ran in the top three for much of the race, and led 16 laps, but was knocked out of third place on the final lap by contact from Ryan Hunter-Reay. The incident dropped Sato to an eighth-place finish, and earned Hunter-Reay a post-race time penalty that dropped him from third to sixth in the official results.
Justin Wilson was another Honda driver to run at the front today, leading 15 laps for Dale Coyne Racing. But the team’s attempt to also pull off a “two-stop” race fell short, as Wilson was forced to pit for fuel in the final laps and fell to a 10-place finish.
Wilson’s teammate, James Jakes, had one of his best IndyCar runs to date, racing as high as fourth, until he briefly slid off course on Lap 66. He recovered to finish 11th.
Front-row starters Dario Franchitti and Josef Newgarden made light contact in the first turn at the start, leaving rookie Newgarden in the wall and out of the race. Although he led the first four laps, Franchitti struggled on the restarts and eventually dropped out with just three laps remaining. Scott Dixon and Mike Conway also were early retirements today, while Charlie Kimball’s race ended with an apparent transmission problem on Lap 80. Graham Rahal crashed without injury on Lap 23, when his Honda Dallara was struck by Marco Andretti’s car as the pair battled for position.
After the first three races of the 2012 season, the IZOD IndyCar Series now travels to Brazil for its first international event of the season, the April 29 Sao Paulo Indy 300.
|1||Will Power (Team Penske)|
|2||Simon Pagenaud-R (Schmidt Hamilton)|
|3||James Hinchcliffe (Andretti Autosport)|
|4||Tony KanaanKV (Racing Technology)|
|5||JR Hildebrand (Panther Racing)|
|6||Ryan Hunter-Reay (Andretti Autosport)|
|7||Ryan Briscoe (Team Penske)|
|8||Takuma Sato (Rahal Letterman Lanigan)|
|9||Rubens Barrichello (KV Racing Technology)|
|10||Justin Wilson (Dale Coyne Racing)|
|11||James Jakes (Dale Coyne Racing)|
|15||Dario Franchitti (Target Chip Ganassi)|
|18||Charlie Kimball (Chip Ganassi Racing)|
|22||ike Conway (A.J. Foyt Racing)|
|23||Scott Dixon (Target Chip Ganassi)|
|24||Graham Rahal (Chip Ganassi Racing)|
|26||Josef Newgarden-R (Sarah Fisher Hartman)|