4 September 2011
Power avoids the traps at Baltimore
"That was an unbelievable result! One of my best race wins ever," said a thrilled Power. "Toughest race I've done all year - never driven so hard," he added. "I gave it absolutely everything. I'm just exhausted!"
The only man with a bigger smile on his face in victory lane was Tony Kanaan, whose third place finish after the morning airborne drama and starting from the back row of the grid was nothing short of astounding.
"I can't thank the Geico KV Racing team enough. We made a mistake this morning, but fixed it and gave me all the support," he said. "A great comeback. There's always going to be drama, and then the happiness at the end."
And second-place man Oriol Servia was also delighted with his finish after starting from 16th place, which has demonstrated how much of a renaissance his team enjoying in 2011 after some fallow times since the glory days. "There's a reason why Newman/Haas Racing has over 100 victories, they just had a tough season last year. Here we are again. We're fourth in points and fighting for the podium every race, and there's more to come!"
Early on, Danica Patrick had been looking set to have a generally dispiriting afternoon of it, overtaken by Takuma Sato before her early pit stops, and then losing out in a battle with Tony Kanaan when she came back out. But the mid-race pit stop call helped her no end, and she grew stronger as the race wore on until she entered the final laps in a strong eighth place.
She then managed to pass Ryan Hunter-Reay for position on the penultimate lap - Hunter-Reay's efforts to re-pass her down into the hairpin on the last lap were frustrated by local waved yellows for Takuma Sato getting into the tyres. He then promptly stalled when he had tried to reverse back out. Hunter-Reay had to pull out of the overtaking move on the #7 and never got another chance before the chequered flag. Danica also made up another spot after the race finished, as it was determined that the driver in sixth place - Alex Tagliani - had overshot the chicane and was penalised the time he had made up by being dropped behind the #7 car, gifting Danica a very creditable sixth place having started from 25th.
"What a great way to finish a challenging weekend!" said Danica. "We took a chance on the fuel strategy and it worked in our favour. We ran out of fuel coming into the pits after the chequered which is fine by me," she continued, adding that they would use this as as momentum going into the road course in Japan.
All in all it had been an excellent inaugural Baltimore Grand Prix. For sure, there were a few rough edges to the track layout and preparation that need to be refined for future events, but for a first time out of the box this was as successful as anyone could have hoped for - and stunningly supported by an estimated 75,000 standing room only crowd, the sort of numbers that usually only NASCAR can dream of.
"Today's race had something for everyone and featured all the elements that make up a marquee event," said IndyCar CEO Randy Bernard. "I'd like to thank the entire city of Baltimore for their patience as we staged our event on the downtown streets and for the hospitality they showed to our fans and the entire racing community."
"I have to say, we had a great crowd here in Baltimore, very challenging track," said Franchitti. "Put a few more places to pass in it, people [will] really get their money's worth, so hopefully we can come back next year and put on a great show for the crowd."
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