18 July 2010
Title rivals win eventful Toronto street fight
As the race passed the 52 lap mark, some of the midfielders started to make what they hoped would be their final pit stop of the afternoon - Ryan Briscoe, Alex Tagliani and EJ Viso led the move with Danica Patrick and Tomas Scheckter among those coming in next time around. The leaders, however, were pushing on.
Dario Franchitti was the first to break: coming up on slow traffic ahead, the Ganassi team opted to bring in Dario at the end of lap 54 along with his team mate Scott Dixon. The rest of the leaders realised the threat and Power, Wilson and Hunter-Reay were in next time around. It proved the perfect play: Wilson got the best stop of them all and returned to the track ahead of Will Power, and they both came out ahead of Dario Franchitti and Scott Dixon.
Kanaan, Marco Andretti and Graham Rahal were yet to pit when Bertrand Baguette put his car into the tyres at turn 3; this time a full course caution was avoided, but the leading trio were shaken by the near miss and immediately pitted next time around. That put Wilson back at the front, arguably where he should have been all along, with Will Power and Dario Franchitti second and third.
Wilson avoided a potentially disastrous clash with backmarker Raphael Matos to start to stretch out a 3.5s lead. It's a lead that would have been wiped out if the track had gone yellow again on lap 60 when Ryan Briscoe was spun out of seventh place by a rear-end shunt from Graham Rahal. Briscoe was able to resume, after pitting for a new front win, but was now well down the running order and two laps down.
But on lap 65, the race did indeed go full course yellow again, for a midfield tangle caused when a gaggle of cars simply fell over each other: after being passed by Danica Patrick, Raphael Matos got clipped from behind by Canada's own Alex Tagliani - a pure racing incident, no one to blame - and was spun into the tyre wall. EJ Viso was left with no where to go on the track except into the stationery De Ferran Dragon car. At the same time, in a separate incident elsewhere on track, the other local hero Paul Tracy locked his brakes into turn 3 and narrowly avoided following others into the tyre wall; he did stall however and lost several places waiting to be refired.
There were now less than 5 laps to go, as Wilson continued to lead Power, Franchitti, Dixon and Hunter-Reay (who had passed Kanaan for sixth) to the restart. But Wilson's backend stepped out on the way to the green flag and Will Power pounced on the run down into turn 1 to claim the lead: Wilson's handling seemed to be going away fast, and moments later the Dreyer and Reinbold car simply slid into the turn 7 right hander with massive oversteer, and spun around. Before Wilson could get the car pointing the right way, the entire field had gone past him.
There was plenty else going on at this point: Ryan Hunter-Reay made a lunge down the inside of Dixon into turn 3 and ended up sliding away from the apex and making contact with the Kiwi, launching Dixon briefly into the air before the Ganassi car finally made crunching impact with the wall, demolishing the left front suspension. Dixon limped back to the pits without causing a full course caution, but one came out anyway after Tomas Scheckter and Alex Tagliani clashed and ended up in the tyre wall at turn 1.
So now Power, Franchitti and Hunter-Reay were the top three ahead of Kanaan and Rahal, with Wilson all the way back in tenth spot and fighting to reclaim whatever positions he possibly could before the end of the race. He finally managed to get past Marco Andretti in the final laps to finish in seventh place - good, but not the victory he doubtless expected and probably deserved.
Up front, no one had any answers for Will Power, who claimed yet another season victory while Dario had his hands full just keeping Ryan Hunter-Reay back in third place. The win gives Power a big lead in the IRL championship, as his rivals face an uphill battle to reel him back in.
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