Fresh from the summer sun of the Californian vineyards, the IZOD IndyCar Series packs up and heads east to the harbourside setting of the city streets of Baltimore, Maryland, about 45 mins north of Washington DC and about 2 hours south of New York City.
|Date:||31 August – 02 September 2012|
|Lap Length:||3.280km / 2.04 miles|
|Event Schedule:||Free Practice Session 1||Fri 09:30-10:30|
|Free Practice Session 2||Fri 14:45-15:45|
|Free Practice Session 3||Sat 09:00-10:00|
|Qualifying Session||Sat 12:05-13:20|
|Sunday Warm-Up||Sun 09:45-10:15|
|Race (75 laps, 153 miles)||Sun 14:45-17:00|
|Past IndyCar Winners:||Will Power (Team Penske Dallara Honda)||2011|
This weekend will see the second running of the event, which has been as much in the news for off- track talking points as much as the apparent success of last year’s event was. A few months ago, there was no guarantee this event would even take place.
The struggles of the former promoter have been well documented, along with subsequent lawsuits filed by creditors seeking payment for services, and the termination of the promoter’s contract while it got its proverbial house in order. It was a shame that the event went through such struggles, as from the outside, the event appeared to go off as an outstanding success. The grandstands were full of happy fans, the weather was positive, and the atmosphere was that of a vibrant, energetic event that looked set to remain on the calendar long-term and prove to be an outstanding financial success.
On track, it was again the Will Power show, who dominated from lights to flag. This year though, it may not be quite so easy. Power hasn’t won since Brazil way back in April, however a three-race run of podiums, while his rivals fell around him, has been enough to see him tighten his grip on the overall drivers championship trophy, and clinch outright his third successive Mario Andretti road- course championship. With only Baltimore remaining in terms of road and street courses, Power cannot be overhauled, but this will not stop him, as he strives to become the first Aussie to win the Indycar drivers championship.
This weekend will see a return to the series of prodigal son Bruno Junqueira. The former Champ Car Series runner-up returns to take the place of Josef Newgarden, who suffered a broken finger in a violent crash last weekend with Sébastian Bourdais (see Sonoma review). There is no word as yet whether Newgarden will resume his place in two weeks time for the season finale at Fontana.
The Baltimore circuit has been slightly tweaked this year, with the removal of a small chicane from the front straight, allowing a flat out burst to the first corner, which will see plenty of drivers on the push-to-pass button and should make for plenty of overtaking opportunities into the first right- hander.
Tune in for yet another barn-burner of a race as the chase for the title takes another step towards its hotly anticipated conclusion. Hopefully the new promoters can manage their affairs better and can establish this race on the calendar long term.