IndyCar » 03 October 2010
How the title was won - Homestead Indy 300 race report
Dario Franchitti dominated the first half of the final Indycar race of 2010, but once Will Power exited the race with suspension damage Dario quickly changed tactics and hid at the back of the lead lap.
The sky was ablaze with a gorgeous Miami sunset, while on the track below the sparks were literally flying as the final race in the 2010 Indycar season got underway.
Scott Dixon dutifully tucked in behind the leader Dario Franchitti, but even by slipstreaming and adding a little push to his Ganassi team mate the two cars were in no position to break away from the field behind them, led by Will Power and Tony Kanaan. However, the big mover in the early laps was Helio Castroneves, up to 5th place by lap 20 having started in 10th: it looked like he was making it his mission to come to the aid of his Penske team mate Will Power at the front of the field in the pursuit of the championship.
But as Helio rose, Will was falling back having been rudely shut out of the top three by an assertive Kanaan, down as far back as 9th place by lap 33 while trying to get to grips with the situation. It was a reminder that with the sun setting and the track rapidly cooling, handling conditions were going to vary wildly all over the place and the winner was going to be the car - and the team - that could read the situation best and adapt quickest.
At the front, Dario was already dealing with lapped traffic, while behind him Scott Dixon was losing a duel with Kanaan for second when the first caution of the evening came out on lap 36 for Mario Moraes coming to a stop out on track, having previously been in the pits to try and correct a seriously loose car.
A yellow flag pit top was just what Penske needed at this point to try to get to resolve Will Power's handling problems: he reported push in three and four, loose in one and two, a fearsomely difficult situation to find himself so early in proceedings. At the pit stops, Kanaan nearly came to grief getting away from his pit box when the car appeared to stutter and nearly stall as he sought to avoid the car pitted in front, leaving him boxed up behind other exiting cars and down to fifth place. He was replaced in second by Ryan Briscoe, which meant that for the first time tonight Dario had his rear view mirrors full of Penske team colours.
Briscoe was looking feisty, all over Dario and using push to pass to briefly claim the lead. Dario was playing cool, sticking to the inside line and daring Ryan to complete the pass - which he couldn't, quite. And then a new caution was out after Ana Beatriz - having had trouble getting into gear at the restart - now lost the rear and took off up to the outside wall and hitting hard at turn 4. The seriously wrecked chassis slid down the incline to a halt below the white line moments later.
And so the race chalked up the completion of its first quarter under yellow. Few cars opted to pit - Simone de Silvestro, Alex Tagliani, a curiously underperforming Justin Wilson, Hideki Mutoh and Sarah Fisher being the exceptions as there was an outside chance of making it on two more stops from here. The leaders, however, all stayed out.
When the green came out, fierce battle for the lead was resumed between Franchitti and Briscoe, Dario once again holding the inside line to thwart Ryan time and again. But the fastest man on track was Tony Kanaan, who quickly dispatched Scott Dixon and Helio Castroneves and flirted with going three-wide for the lead. Finally Dario could hold off Ryan no more and Briscoe was released, and Dario fell back - possibly to catch his breath, perhaps with tyres complaining about the punishment of that tight inside line. In fact the strain of taking the lead had also taken its toll on Briscoe, and he was soon passed by Scott Dixon and Tony Kanaan.
Meanwhile, where was Will Power? Back fighting over seventh place with Danica Patrick, the two of them coming worryingly close at times to making contact. But Will seemed to be finding his mojo, and soon was past not only Danica but also Dan Wheldon for sixth.
Click on relevant pic to enlarge [NEW FEATURE]
Join the conversation - Add your comment
Although the administrators and moderators of this website will attempt to keep all objectionable comments off these pages, it is impossible for us to review all messages. All messages express the views of the poster, and neither Crash Media Group nor Crash.Net will be held responsible for the content of any message. We do not vouch for or warrant the accuracy, completeness or usefulness of any message, and are not responsible for the contents of any message. If you find a message objectionable, please contact us and inform us of the problem or use the [report] function next to the offending post. Any message that does not conform with the policy of this service can be edited or removed with immediate effect.