INDYCAR at Barber Motorsports Park

April 10, 2011
by Lee

Dan Hilrigel spins on restart

It is nearly go time for the drivers in the IZOD IndyCar series at Barber Motorsports Park in Birmingham, Alabama. The drivers will go left and right on the road course featuring 17 turns on the 2.38 mile course. Will Power has put his machine on the pole for today’s race, with Ryan Briscoe starting second. St. Petersburg winner Dario Franchitti will roll of seventh today. Surprise fourth place finisher from the first race, Simona De Silvestro, will start 13th.

Restarts will be altered slightly today, with a longer restart zone and faster speeds for the restart. This should be an interesting race with much of the passing taking place within the pits today. We have to face fact that road course racing is not something you expect to see cars swapping positions over and over on the track. The pit crews will need to be on their game, and picking the exact right time to pit is paramount as well.

The cars are now fired up and the parade laps are about to come to a conclusion signaling the start of the race. The green flag is out and the field looked formed up nicely for the start. Power jumps out to the lead. Two cars have spun on the first lap. James Hinchcliffe and Raphael Matos both spin on the first lap. Matos was stopped and the full course caution is out. Tony Kanaan picked up ten spots on the start before the caution came out. Great driving on the start.

Lap 4 and we are back under the green flag. Good start again with the field formed up. James Jakes spins and cannot get going, but it is only a local at this time. Power continues to lead with Briscoe in second. Safety crew was able to get Jakes car started, and no full course caution is needed.

Lap 17 and the top five is Power, Briscoe, Scott Dixon, Oriol Servia, and Franchitti. Pit stops should occur around lap 30. If a driver can make it to lap 31, he or she can then complete the race with only one more stop.

Lap 27 and Sato bumps Helio Castroneves and spins the car but continues on. The battle was for ninth. Sato drops a few positions from the spin.

Lap 29 and Briscoe is in for service. Now other cars are hitting pit road on lap 29 for service. Lap 32 and the leader has been in and the cycle has completed. Top five is Power, Dixon, Franchitti, Briscoe, and Servia.

Lap 36 and JR Hildebrand gets bumped by Graham Rahal and spins. Rahal has to pit because of suspension damage. Hildebrand keeps it going and moves on.

Lap 37 and Alex Tagliani loses the car and slides into the kitty litter. Full course caution is out for only the second time today.

Lap 41 and we get the green flag with Power leading them past the start finish line. Franchitti and Dixon bump. Now the full course caution comes out for a wreck involving Hinchcliffe, De Silvestro, and Viso. De Silvestro did not hit anything and will be able to continue.

Lap 46 and we go back under green with Power jumping out to the lead. Caution again is out as Mike Conway has crashed. Conway got bumped by Justin Wilson and hit a barrier after sliding through the grass.

Lap 50 and we try again to log some laps under green. Good restart as Power jumps back out to the lead. The top five is Power, Dixon, Franchitti, Briscoe, and Marco Andretti.

Lap 58 and we have caution with Briscoe now in the rocks after Ryan Hunter-Reay hits a curb and bumps Briscoe. This will take a lap or two to clean up, so I am going to guess some of the teams are going to pit here and make it the last stop of the day. The leaders do come in and Power is off first with Dixon, and we have a Herdanicaship sighting as she comes out third. No tires for Danica on the stop gains her a bunch of track position. Hunter-Reay was penalized for avoidable contact for getting into Briscoe.

Lap 63 and we go back to green and Herdanicaship drops like a rock, Justin Wilson is done for the day with a wrecked car, but no caution. Caution is now out since the safety team could not get the car off the track before the field got back to where the wrecked car is at.

Lap 69 and we get another restart and Power maintains the lead. Lap 70 and the top five is Power, Dixon, Franchitti, Andretti, and Servia.

Lap 71, Power continues to lead, and has led every lap of the race.

Ten laps to go and the top five is Power, Dixon, Franchitti, Andretti, and Servia.

Five to go and there are no changes in the top five.

Checkered flag and Power goes wire to wire for the win. Top five is the same as what is above. On to Long Beach next week.

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