Sunday, April 15, 2012

More Power to Him

Will Power spotted the competition 10 starting positions and two laps of fuel and still led the final 15 laps to win the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach on Sunday.   It was the third straight win for Chevrolet since returning to IndyCar racing at the start of 2012.

It appeared Long Beach would be all Honda’s after all the Chevrolet teams were penalized 10 starting positions for an “unauthorized engine change.”  A blown engine during testing tipped Chevrolet its engines were in jeopardy, so the company decided to change’m and take the penalty. 
But it didn’t help Honda when its two fastest qualifiers, Dario Franchitti and Josef Newgarden, starting on the front row because of the penalties, collided on the first turn of the first lap, knocking Newgarden out of the race and slowing Franchitti.  Franchitti also stuffed his car into the wall during the morning warm-up session, finished 15th, two laps back.

Teams were divided before the race on whether to pursue a two- or three-stop pit strategy.  Make three stops for fuel and tires and go flat out.  Or make two stops and hope there are enough caution flag laps and you’re able to save enough fuel on the green flag laps to finish the race.    

Takuma Sato led much of the race for Honda and pursued the two-stop strategy.  But even with two more laps of fuel than Power, he wasn’t able to hold on to the lead or run with Power.

Another Honda driver, Simon Pagenaud, elected to go with the three stops and was rapidly reeling in Power at the end, but needed one more lap

Seven of the first 10 finishers were Chevrolet-powered. It also was the third straight win for Penske Racing and the second of the year for Power, who moved into the IndyCar championship point lead. 

Pit Stops:  Seems as if the most competitive series in racing at the moment is Formula One.  Three races and three different manufacturers in victory lane.  Nico Rosberg won his career first F1 race Sunday in China and Mercedes recorded its first win as a manufacturer since 1955 (although it has many wins as an engine supplier).   Most surprising of all, two-time defending champion Red Bull has yet to win a race this year…Also winning on moving into the points lead was Greg Biffle, taking the Sprint Cup event in Texas.

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