22 July 2011
New Edmonton track, but some old feuds
"It's a bit of a disadvantage being the only driver that hasn't raced [on the old circuit]," agreed Dale Coyne Racing's rookie English driver James Jakes. "Back in Europe, a lot of people use simulators ... one with a platform and four-post rig. But over here it's quite different," he explained, saying that teams were trying a variety of strategies to cover for the lack of applicable video footage from previous years. "The track walk is important, too. You have to make mental notes and talk with your engineer. Another key is not crashing early on in the first session!"
While the track configuration is all-new, it's going to play host to some familiar ongoing resentments spilling over from the last IndyCar race two weeks ago in Toronto, with Will Power making it clear that time has not healed all wounds and he was not in forgive-and-forget mood by any means.
"I don't get riled up that often, but trust me, I'm a man on a mission to get Team Penske and Verizon another victory," said Power. "I'll be doing my best to make sure that happens in Edmonton."
His main title rival Dario Franchitti, who made mid-race contact with the #12 and spun Power to the back of the field, was still smarting at being labelled a "dirty" racer by Power in the ill-tempered Toronto aftermath.
"To say that I'm a dirty driver was not correct," said Franchitti. "I think if you asked all the drivers I have raced against ... that's not one of the reports you'll get back on me."
Franchitti suggested that Power's ongoing anger over the clash was to do with his having two DNFs in a row, seriously hitting his IndyCar title campaign. "I can understand that frustration," said Franchitti. "I understand where he is coming from, I just think it's misplaced.
"Like I said, I would have been upset, too, and hopefully when he cools down he'll reassess that. But if he doesn't, I have no control over what Will thinks or what he chooses to say," he continued. "I'm going to continue to race the same way that I've raced certainly since I've been in America. If we chat about it and he chooses to calm down a little, then OK, and if he doesn't then there's nothing I can do about it."
Power was also not best pleased with Alex Tagliani at Toronto, who collided with him a few laps after the Franchitti incident and put him out of the race. In a live post-race interview, Power had labelled Tagliani a 'w*nker' and the Canadian driver sought to make light of it: "I'm having fun with this. He called me a w*nker, I'm going to tell him he's a t*sser."
At least Ganassi team mates Scott Dixon and Graham Rahal seemed to have reconciled in the intervening two weeks.
"I'm not one that carries anything over," said Dixon. "You're always going to race people hard. There are some circumstances with your team mate that you'll probably give them a little bit more room, and in some cases that doesn't happen ... I don't think anybody holds grudges too long, but you could see something escalate if two cars get together again," he added.
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