As the North American summer blasts out the usual heat of the season, the heat on and off track in the 2011 IZOD IndyCar Series is delivering plenty of newsworthy stories as the circus arrives at the Edmonton City Centre Airport for Round 10 of the championship chase this weekend.
Our resident IndyCar correspondent Matt Lennon takes a look at the major talking points leading into the second leg of the series’ venture to Canada.
This year, the Edmonton layout has been revised from 12 months ago, now moving in a counter-clockwise direction courtesy of a previously used runway having been closed in the first step towards the eventual shutdown of the entire facility. Sam Schmidt Motorsports driver Alex Tagliani this week predicted several wrecks for the upcoming event. Fuelled by the new double-file restarts, his comments may be right on the money following on from the crash-fest in Toronto a fortnight ago.
Speaking of Toronto, while Will Power has likely calmed down, his heat-of-the-moment comments following his collision with arch-rival Dario Franchitti still has pundits talking. The action between the two should be fast and ferocious again this weekend, with Power craving for a win – which if it eventuates, will be his first road course win since Sao Paulo at the beginning of May.
A man with an axe to grind in Edmonton from the events last year is Helio Castroneves. While Castroneves crossing the line first, only to be demoted to 10th place was controversial in its own right, it was followed by the scene of the livid Team Penske driver leaping from his car and grabbing IndyCar security director Charles Burns – a man much bigger than him – by the scruff of the neck. These events from 2010 will no doubt be mentioned in many conversations with Helio this weekend.
The on-track action will be captivating through every lap. Let’s just hope the majority of the talking points remain on track, rather than off it.