It certainly wasn't the prettiest of races at times, and when the track was completely blocked for the third time by a multi-car accident at a restart you'd have been forgiven for rolling your eyes and wondering whether you were watching the circus clowns performing. But when the race sparked into life it truly delivered a thrilling and wildly unpredictable event, one that gripped right to the chequered flag and left fans with an unexpected podium trio.
"We got very lucky on the restarts, we didn't get collected," admitted race winner Simon Pagenaud as he headed to victory circle for the second time in 2013. "Awesome job for the HP team. They've been awesome this weekend and I guess it's good for the championship."
Scott Dixon and Will Power had brought the field to the green flag for the beginning of the 75-lap Grand Prix of Baltimore presented by SRT, and Dixon was able to fend off Power in the run down to turn 1 for what would subsequently be shown to be a rare clean start. However, Dixon found himself powerless to keep the #12 behind him through the turn 3 hairpin and be forced to cede the lead to Power.
Helio Castroneves also tried a look down the inside of Josef Newgarden at the hairpin and quickly regretted it as his front wing got heavily stepped on, forcing him into pit lane for a replacement. Indirectly caught out at the same time was Ryan Hunter-Reay, whose car went into anti-stall mode as the traffic ahead backed up, and while he was finally able to get the car moving forward again he had dropped to the back of the field in the meantime.
Power was cruising away at the front with soon stretched out more than six seconds over Dixon with Simon Pagenaud a second further back, and Josef Newgarden continuing his impressive weekend with a solid move on Justin Wilson for fourth at the same time that Graham Rahal was able to pass Tristan Vautier for seventh.
Not everyone was having a good day of it, however: a fiery gearbox problem left James Jakes in the run-off at turn 1 on lap 5, while an engine problem saw Takuma Sato crawl back to pit lane to retire. He was joined there by Ganassi's Dario Franchitti who had been having no luck at all this weekend with two engine changes and now brake issues putting him out of the race.
"About half of a lap after our pit stop our gearbox control unit broke and it was game over," said Jakes. "Only five laps in. It's frustrating, obviously."
As for Sato, he commented that he'd "Made a good start and everything was under control, but only a few laps into the race I had a sudden loss of power and it couldn't be fixed so we had to retire."
"After about six laps the brake pedal went to the floor both in turn 1 and turn 12," said Franchitti of his own issue. "We came in and bled the brakes, it was okay until we got them hot again and then it did exactly the same thing. There's obviously a problem because I generally don't use the brakes that often."