2011 Grand Prix of Baltimore Will Power Will Power celebrates back-to-back wins

The streets of Baltimore came alive in a cacophony of colour and sound, but on-track, the only sound passing the finish line in first place was the all-too-familiar Honda of Will Power, as he delivered the message to Dario Franchitti and Team Ganassi – “Game on!”.

Our IndyCar correspondent reviews the latest championship round after the shards of carbon fibre have finally been collected from the bumpy streets of the Maryland city…

Taking a leaf from the Surfers Paradise playbook, the Baltimore harbourside streets were a show for the senses, with packed grandstands all the way around enjoying the best that the IndyCar Series had to offer.

Team Penske and KV Racing found their pre-race activities interrupted by a hasty preparation of their spare cars following a nasty accident involving Hélio Castroneves and Tony Kanaan early in the morning warm-up. At the end of the straight approaching the Turn 3 hairpin, Kanaan found his brake pedal reaching all the way to the floor, indicating no brakes, and catapulted over Castroneves and into the tyre barriers at high-speed. Initially, Kanaan didn’t appear to be moving, but as Castroneves ran to check on his friend, Kanaan was found to be unhurt, with only damaged pride and extremely apologetic for damaging Castroneves’ car.

Starting from pole, Power found himself in second place after the first corner of the 75-lap race, as an eager Graham Rahal took the ideal line through Turn 1. Not one to sit back and wonder though, Power took the inside line into Turn 2 to take it back, and aside from the laps when the field cycled through their pit stops, never lost the lead again all afternoon.

The first casualty of the afternoon was a disappointed Sébastien Bourdais. Starting from a season-high sixth place for Dale Coyne Racing, Bourdais lost his oil line on Lap 10 and headed for the pits, where his day was prematurely done.

The first full-course caution came on Lap 33 when Tomas Scheckter stopped on course. At the restart on Lap 38, chaos ensued at the Turn 3 hairpin as Ryan Briscoe tapped Ryan Hunter-Reay as both turned in, spinning the latter around. With most of the track blocked, the field were unable to get past and when Castroneves tried to take a wide outside line and made contact with the outer tyre barrier, the track was completely blocked and no less than twelve cars were parked behind the fracas. The pace car returned to action as the marshals began to push cars on their way again and the stewards decided to re-set the field in order as it was before the accident, with the only exception being the instigator Briscoe who received a drive-through penalty, pushing him near the back of the running order.

After a very long caution period, the race was restarted on Lap 50. After a few more laps, Power and the leaders made their final pit stops, and after Power resumed in the lead, merely drove into the distance to take an emphatic victory from Oriol Servià, who kept his car out of trouble to finish a strong second. Tony Kanaan did the same, using a well-timed fuel strategy to complete the podium, with Dario Franchitti and Scott Dixon rounding out the top five.

Power’s win took another chunk out of the points lead held by Franchitti, with the deficit now being a tiny five points. There is only one more road course left this season, as the field packs the jumbo jets and heads to Motegi in Japan.


2011 Grand Prix of Baltimore Final Classification (75 laps):

Driver Team Laps Result
1. Will Power AUS Team Penske 75 2:02:19.4998
2. Oriol Servià ESP Newman/Haas Racing 75 + 10.2096
3. Tony Kanaan BRZ KV Racing Technology Lotus 75 + 10.8557
4. Dario Franchitti GBR Target Chip Ganassi Racing 75 + 11.0831
5. Scott Dixon NZL Target Chip Ganassi Racing 75 + 11.5032
6. Danica Patrick USA Andretti Autosport 75 + 17.7124
7. Alex Tagliani CDN Sam Schmidt Motorsports 75 + 18.5661
8. Ryan Hunter-Reay USA Andretti Autosport 75 + 18.9269
9. Vitor Meira BRZ AJ Foyt Enterprises 75 + 22.3096
10. Graham Rahal USA Service Central Chip Ganassi 75 + 22.6977
11. Martin Plowman GBR AFS / Sam Schmidt Motorsports 75 + 23.7405
12. Simona de Silvestro SUI HVM Racing 75 + 24.7568
13. Sebastian Saavedra COL Conquest Racing 75 + 29.6042
14. Ryan Briscoe AUS Team Penske 75 + 30.9855
15. EJ Viso VEN KV Racing Technology Lotus 75 + 50.6756
16. Ana Beatriz BRZ Dreyer & Reinbold Racing 75 + 1:00.5667
17. Hélio Castroneves BRZ Team Penske 74 1 lap behind
18. Takuma Sato JPN KV Racing Technology Lotus 73 2 laps behind
19. JR Hildebrand USA Panther Racing 73 2 laps behind
20. Ed Carpenter USA Sarah Fisher Racing 73 2 laps behind
21. Charlie Kimball USA Novo Nordisk Chip Ganassi 73 2 laps behind
22. Tomas Scheckter RSA SH Racing 71 4 laps behind
DNF. Mike Conway GBR Andretti Autosport 64 Mechanical
DNF. James Hinchcliffe CDN Newman/Haas Racing 54 Handling
DNF. Marco Andretti USA Andretti Autosport 40 Mechanical
DNF. Giorgio Pantano ITA Dreyer & Reinbold Racing 39 Contact
DNF. James Jakes GBR Dale Coyne Racing 37 Contact
DNF. Sébastien Bourdais FRA Dale Coyne Racing 9 Mechanical

[Images and video via IZOD IndyCar Series]

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Richard Bailey

Founder & Chief Editor at MotorsportM8
Hasn't missed a Grand Prix since 1989. Has a soft spot for Minardi. Tattooed with 35+ Grand Prix circuits.