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Power battles to brilliant Barber win

Taglinai was one of only three retirements during the race - a significant improvement on the reliability-challenged season opener last weekend at St Petersburg. Charlie Kimball had an mechanical issue shortly after running off-track through a chicane and had to park up at the midway point of the race, while Takuma Sato's Rahal Letterman Lanigan car died coming out of turn 6 after the Japanese driver had been challenging for position with Servia.

“It just stopped running - no drive to the rear wheels,” said team co-owner Bobby Rahal.

"We were on the way to recovering positions but then all of a sudden I lost power," added Sato himself. "It is disappointing to have mechanical failures in two consecutive races but there are some positives from the weekend. I hope in Long Beach we are able to be competitive again and have a strong finish."

Tony Kanaan went multiple laps down after a shock absorber went bad on him, and Justin Wilson lost time and positions with a spin in turn 2 on lap 61, but fortunately he kept the engine running and was able to get underway again. Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing's rookie driver Josef Newgarden lost part of his front wing while trying to overtake Ed Carpenter but the debris was swept up under the Legge caution and Newgarden was able to continue to the finish on the lead lap in 17th place.

Penske's Ryan Briscoe had a tough day well off the pace of his podium-bound team mates with his tyres falling off shockingly in the middle section of the race, forcing him to compromise his race strategy by coming in for a new set which left him down in 14th place.

And then there was the curious case of Dario Franchitti: with his team mate up ahead challenging Castroneves and Power for the lead, Franchitti seemed mired in the teen positions for far too much of the race. Starting from 18th position on the grid he made some forward progress but would then plateau, and even fall back during the pit stops; nothing he did seemed to be working.

"It was a busy day and I passed a lot of cars, he said. "We lost some spaces on the first start and the last restart we pushed on the grass. No one was doing it intentionally, it's just people are trying to get out of each other's way and make some moves ... That last yellow we didn't need," he added.

But after the restart he kept at it and made some more late passes that saw him finish just in the top ten - which all things considered was a success, and Franchitti was visibly relieved with it.

"I have never been so happy for a 10th place finish," he admitted. "I think that is the best my car has felt through all of the practices and races and qualifying that we have had this year, so I will take that as a positive and that will give us some kind of direction going into Long Beach.

"There was some good racing though," he added. "There were some really good races out there today ... Hopefully it was a good day for the fans. There was a massive crowd and a lot of enthusiasm so it's cool."

It had indeed been a massive crowd at Barber Motorsports Park - close on being the biggest-ever attendance at the venue for any event. And the fans had been treated to a genuine racing entertainment spectacle, one of the best that the series has put on in a long while.




Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Former ALMS race director Beaux Barfield is appointed race director for the IZOD IndyCar Series in 2012. [Picture credit: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media]
Will Power in the #12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet during pre-season testing at Sebring. March 2012. [Photo Credit: Michael Levitt - LAT for IndyCar Media]
Will Power jumps for joy in victory lane after the Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama at Barber Motorsports Park on April 1 2012. [Photo Credit: INDYCAR/LAT USA (c) 2012, Phillip Abbott. LAT Photo USA]
Scott Dixon leads the Indycar field   [pic credit: Indycar media/Bret Kelley]
Will Power - Team Penske   [pic credit: Indycar media/Chris Jones]
Will Power - Team Penske   [pic credit: Indycar media/Chris Jones]
Will Power - Team Penske   [pic credit: Indycar media/Chris Owens]
Ed Jones - Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing
Simon Penske - Team Penske   [pic credit: IndyCar media/Bret Kelley]
Simon Pagenaud - Team Penske   [pic credit: IndyCar Media/Joe Skibinski]
Scott Dixon - Target Chip Ganassi Racing   [pic credit: IndyCar Media/JOE SKIBINSKI]
Will Power - Penske  [pic credit: IndyCar Media/Chris Jones]
Will Power - Penske   [pic credit: IndyCar Media/Chris Jones]
James Hinchcliffe - Schmidt Peterson Motorsports   [pic credit: IndyCar Media/Chris Jones]
James Hinchcliffe - Schmidt Peterson [credit: Chris Owens]
Carlos Munoz celebrates his first IndyCar pole at Texas Motor Speedway
Simon Pagenaud - Team Penske   [image credit: IndyCar Media/Bret Kelley]
Sebastian Bourdais (KVSH Racing) celebrates in Detroit   [image creid: IndyCar Media/Chris Owens]

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Don - Unregistered

April 02, 2012 4:54 PM

Nice article. It does seem as they were a bit cautious not to break anything at St.Pete. At Barber, there was plenty of use hitting the rear bumpers. The upside of them is eliminating needless punctures and cautions. A very good race at a place that's hard to pass. Congrats Will!



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