Hopping quite literally from one side of the USA to the other, this weekend sees the IndyCar series moves from California to Maryland and the east-coast city of Baltimore for the next round of the IZOD IndyCar Series for 2013.
Facts & Stats
|Date:||30 August – 1 September 2013|
|Lap Length:||3.280km / 2.04 miles|
|Event Schedule:||Free Practice Session 1||Fri 10:10-10:55|
|Free Practice Session 2||Fri 14:30-15:15|
|Free Practice Session 3||Sat 09:05-09:50|
|Qualifying Session||Sat 12:00-13:10|
|Sunday Warm-Up||Sun 10:15-10:45|
|Race (75 laps, 153 miles)||Sun 14:30-16:45|
|Past IndyCar Winners:||Ryan Hunter-Reay (Andretti Dallara DW12 Chevrolet)||2012|
|Will Power (Team Penske Dallara Honda)||2011|
The street circuit event in the harbourside city of Baltimore has teetered on a knife-edge financially practically since the day after the first event took place, which was a bit of a weird situation considering the overwhelming success the event appeared to be.
Hundreds of thousands of people kept the cash registers ringing all weekend long, from ticket sales to merchandise, food and beverage…it seemed like the next great golden goose had been found. However, the utter ineptitude of Baltimore Racing Development – the inaugural race’s promoter – saw few suppliers or vendors paid, with the promotion firm going bust, subsequently losing its contract for the race, and management going AWOL with a long list of lawsuits in pursuit.
It left a bitter taste in the mouths of all concerned, and nearly saw the event’s demise practically before it even had a chance to carve a solid place on the series calendar. Since then though, the Baltimore City Council named a competent and experienced promoter in Downforce Racing, who took the reigns until 2016 and proceeded to put on a well-run show last year, won by Ryan Hunter-Reay.
With these initial problems now in the past, the city has moved on and is set to host the third running of the event, and again, a Drivers’ Championship hangs in the balance.
After the controversy that was Sonoma, Helio Castroneves knows he used his Get Out Of Jail Free card and needs to ensure he is at the pointy end of the field fighting for the win and not mired in the midfield hoping for more bad luck to befall Scott Dixon.
After a strong result last week at Sonoma, Justin Wilson goes from the high of finishing second, to the entirely different high of lining up alongside his brother Stefan, who will take control of the No 18 machine this weekend. Dale Coyne appears to be taking a liking to British drivers, as the younger Wilson becomes Coyne’s fourth Pom to start a race this season, alongside Justin, Mike Conway and Pippa Mann.
The twisty Baltimore layout offers numerous overtaking opportunities, but being made up of city streets, is also incredibly bumpy and capable of destabilising a car with little warning. The corners invite brave drivers to make a move on the car ahead, which can result in furious, enthralling racing, or a caution fest. Last weekend’s race Sonoma saw seven caution periods, five of which were in the first 25 laps, so hopefully a repeat is avoided this weekend.
Baltimore is sure to thrill as the season reaches its climax, so don’t miss it.