Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama Live Thread

IndyCar Looks for an Encore at Barber [Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama Live Thread]

4/7/13 in IndyCar   |   Eric_   |   7716 respect

Blog Photo - Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama Live ThreadThe 2012 Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama at Barber Motorsports Park was an important event in the history of IndyCar. Prior to 2012, the races at Barber were processional and just plain dull. Last year though, in just the second race of the DW12, it was a 180. Will Power predictably won, but he came from 9th starting position. There was passing all through the field, and Sebastien Bourdais had arguably the drive of the season, finishing 9th in an ultimately doomed Lotus. Expectations are high for an encore.

Speeds have been fast. Over three seconds were taken off the track record in qualifying by Scott Dixon in round one. However, it wasn't Dixon that ended up on pole, but defending series champion Ryan Hunter-Reay. Hunter-Reay doesn't have a great track record at Barber, but this is looking like his best shot to change that. Starting outside of Hunter-Reay is Power, who has won the last two races at Barber, but hasn't won a race since Brazil last season. These opening road and street races are his best chance to take a big points lead, and he needs to rebound after his misfortune at St. Pete.

The second row has Dixon on the outside, and on the inside the impressive rookie Tristian Vautier. Vautier originally wasn't in the Firestone Fast Six, but was advanced after Takuma Sato was penalized for blocking. On short notice, Vautier qualified third, impressing the paddock yet again. Completing the Fast Six is Charlie Kimball, who is having a great weekend and just finished P1 in the morning warm-up, topping the charts for the first time ever. The weekend love for Ganassi hasn't spread to Dario Franchitti, however. He qualified a poor 17th. Inaugural Barber race winner Helio Castroneves fills out the third row.

The biggest story though might be AJ Allmendinger's return to open wheel competition for the first time since his Champ Car career ended. Driving the #2 car for Team Penske, 'Dinger will start 10th today. This weekend, Penske announced that Allmendinger will also drive the car in two weeks at Long Beach, giving him an extra tune-up race before the Indy 500.

One thing that has become obvious in the still young IndyCar season is the depth of the field. There are threats to win up and down the field, if they can get the track position back. Simona de Silvestro has been fast again this week, but the car didn't take to the "red" optional tires in qualifying and she'll start 14th. Her teammate Tony Kanaan will start 19th, with the St. Pete winner James Hinchcliffe next to him. One year after his incredible drive, Bourdais is mired back in 23rd. It'll be tough for any of these guys and girl to get up to the front, but if they can manage, watch out.

In the end, my pick is Dixon. My gut feeling tell me it's his year, and I think this is the week he brings it. Picking a dark horse is hard due to the depth of the field, but I'll go with Kimball. Things are really clicking for him right now.

TV coverage begins at 3:00 on NBC Sports Network, with the green flag waving around 3:40. Timing and scoring can be found here, while More Front Wing's Event Summary can be found here.

Q it up here throughout the Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama.
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4/7/13   |   Canadianhick   |   2149 respect

What happened to James Hinchcliffe today? I read he was sleeping in his car after his car went off the course?

 

4/7/13   |   Eric_   |   7716 respect

Points Standings Through 2 Races:

1. Helio Castoneves 79
2. Scott Dixon -9
3. Ryan Hunter-Reay -13
4. Marco Andretti -18
5. James Hinchcliffe -23
6. Charlie Kimball -28
7. Tony Kanaan -30
8. Will Power -32
9. Justin Wilson -33
10. EJ Viso -35

Simona is 12th. Dario is 26th and last, even behind Allmendinger. Wow.

4/7/13   |   JenX63   |   32658 respect

Eric_ wrote:
Why would he? Bourdais screwed up and dropped from 11th to eventually a 16th finishing position. That was punishment enough.

IDK that's why I asked.....

4/7/13   |   Eric_   |   7716 respect

Unofficial Results for the Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama:

1. Ryan Hunter-Reay (if you thought the champ was a one year fluke, think again)
2. Scott Dixon (runner-up every time IndyCar has come to this track, ouch)
3. Helio Castroneves
4. Charlie Kimball (great weekend for him overall)
5. Will Power
6. Simon Pagenaud
7. Marco Andretti
8. Justin Wilson
9. Josef Newgarden (great run for him, exactly the kind of quiet march to a good finish he and the team need, Josef's first top 10 in IndyCar)
10. Tristan Vautier (also first career top 10 for him)
11. Alex Tagliani
12. EJ Viso
13. Tony Kanaan
14. Takuma Sato
15. Oriol Servia
16. Sebastien Bourdais
17. JR Hildebrand
18. Simona de Silvestro (not sure what happened here)
19. AJ Allmendinger
20. Sebastian Saavedra
21. Graham Rahal
22. Ed Carpenter -1 lap
23. James Jakes -4 laps
24. Ana Beatriz DNF (Mechanical)
25. Dario Franchitti DNF (Mechanical) (clearly Ashley got the horseshoe in the divorce)
26. James Hinchcliffe DNF (Contact) (plus an hour and a half of sitting in the car waiting for a caution and a tow, last time a driver won a race than finished last the next race was Lloyd Ruby back in 1967)

4/7/13   |   Eric_   |   7716 respect

This race was green from lap 7 to the finish on lap 90. These guys are and look exhausted.

4/7/13   |   Eric_   |   7716 respect

JenX63 wrote:
Does that driver that ran through the sand get penalized?

Why would he? Bourdais screwed up and dropped from 11th to eventually a 16th finishing position. That was punishment enough.

4/7/13   |   Eric_   |   7716 respect

Ryan Hunter-Reay holds him off and wins the Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama! Scott Dixon finishes 2nd at Barber for the 4th time in a row. Full results to come shortly.

4/7/13   |   Eric_   |   7716 respect

2 to go. Hunter-Reay starting to run a little wide in the corners. Can Dixon take advantage?

4/7/13   |   JenX63   |   32658 respect

Does that driver that ran through the sand get penalized?

4/7/13   |   Eric_   |   7716 respect

Dixon within a second. Kimball took 4th from Power after a great pass.

4/7/13   |   Eric_   |   7716 respect

RHR and Dixon just ran their fastest laps of the race. On lap 78. Hunter-Reay with a 1.1 second lead with 11 to go.

4/7/13   |   JenX63   |   32658 respect

i don't understand anything that is going on....i do like the accents of the announcers though...

4/7/13   |   Eric_   |   7716 respect

Hunter-Reay with a HUGE pass to take the lead. Now Dixon gets by Helio for 2nd. The battle for the win is on!

4/7/13   |   Eric_   |   7716 respect

JenX63 wrote:
what channel is it on..maybe i can catch the last of it

NBC Sports Network

4/7/13   |   Eric_   |   7716 respect

Hunter-Reay is closing in on Helio, and Dixon in 3rd is faster than both.

4/7/13   |   JenX63   |   32658 respect

what channel is it on..maybe i can catch the last of it

4/7/13   |   Eric_   |   7716 respect

Leader Helio pits for the final time. A problem made it slow. Hunter-Reay pits and gets sticker reds.

4/7/13   |   Eric_   |   7716 respect

Allmendinger pits...and stalls.

4/7/13   |   Eric_   |   7716 respect

Helio is up 8 seconds now. Will of course is still on the 2 stop strategy. RHR still can't get by him. Rest of the top 10 right now: Kimball, Dixon, Pagenaud, Vautier, Andretti, Wilson, Newgarden

Hinch is still sitting in the car off track, still waiting for a caution so he can towed back. I hope they release the audio from his radio after this thing.

4/7/13   |   Eric_   |   7716 respect

Helio by Power for the lead. RHR hasn't gotten by Will yet, allowing Helio to gap.

4/7/13   |   Eric_   |   7716 respect

Three way battle for the lead between Power (hasn't pitted yet), Hunter-Reay, and Castroneves.

4/7/13   |   Eric_   |   7716 respect

Dario has an electrical problem, while Sato lost drive trying to exit the pits.

4/7/13   |   Eric_   |   7716 respect

Second round of pit stops have begun. Helio had gotten to within a few seconds on RHR. First time someone's been in Ryan's stratosphere all day.

4/7/13   |   Eric_   |   7716 respect

Vautier and Kimball had a heck of a battle before they pitted. Kimball and Dixon both ended up getting by the rookie after they cycled through the pit stops.

Interesting wrinkle, Power has gone over 30 laps without a pit. He's going for a 2 stop strategy.

4/7/13   |   Eric_   |   7716 respect

Kimball getting impatient trying to pass Vautier for 2nd. Dixon catching up to them. Hunter-Reay has checked out.

4/7/13   |   Eric_   |   7716 respect

Power has hit the dirt after turn 1 on both the start and the restart.

4/7/13   |   Eric_   |   7716 respect

Hinchcliffe's car is stopped on track. Tough break for that team after the win two weeks ago.

4/7/13   |   Eric_   |   7716 respect

Green! Marco moving up early, Power dropped back. Yellow! Contact between Servia and Rahal.

4/7/13   |   Eric_   |   7716 respect

One other Indy ride has been announced: Ryan Briscoe will drive for Chip Ganassi Racing. We're currently at 30 car/driver combinations for the 500.