The IndyCar series travelled into Canada this weekend for a street race that had a lot to live up to after a great weekend at Watkins Glen. Needless to say they had no problem duplicating a brilliant show with possibly the best race so far this year. This race had great passing, strategy, and plenty of controversy to go around.
The start of the race was great and Will Power instantly suffered as we seen contact before the green flag that almost sent him a lap down. The race then went rather incident free with only a couple of spins causing full course yellows. This would allow Power to climb back into the fight and make himself a contender before all would be said and done. Many of the top cars did have trouble in the pits which would be a factor but a relatively small one. Dario Franchitti suffered from trouble that sent him from the lead all the way down into 14th position. He would however, be back in the fray before it is all said and done. Once Franchitti stopped, a Canadian 1-2 began to form and gave hope to the home crowd that their part time heros would secure victory. Paul Tracy lived up to his thrilling driving style by putting amazing passes on Scott Dixon and Mike Conway. The pass on Conway ended with the young Brit getting on the power too heavy and tail slapping the wall. This putting an end to a great run for the Dreyer and Reinbold entry. Alex Tagliani would lead and fend off heavy pressure from his fellow Canadian and then the storm would hit. There had been plenty of lead changes all race long and what would a race be without controversy.
Enter Graham Rahal and a struggling Ed Carpenter and the race would not be the same. Graham who was trying to lap the slower Vision machine of Carpenter had the door closed sending Graham into the wall and Carpenter briefly airborne. As the caution came out, Dario Franchitti had committed to the pits. However, instead of being waved through, he was aloud to make his stop. Yet for some reason, after the stop was aloud to resume second place!?!? Paul Tracy was made to move over and allow Franchitti who had been having service when Tracy passed resume second position. There needs to be a very good reason as to why this is the case. There is no reason why Dario should have 1) been aloud to make the stop and not been waved through and 2) why was he given second place back while he was passed in the pits? Any other team or driver that does not belong to Ganassi or Penske would have been waved through and surely would not have been allowed to resume in the second position. If I am wrong on any of this, I would really like some justification from a fan who may have a better explanation, but as far as I am concerned this was a complete failure in the rules.
This chain of events put Castroneves and Tracy together on track after a nice pass (all be it should not have happened) from Franchitti saw him move into position to win. Tracy and Castroneves however would reignite fireworks that would remind us of incidents of the not so long ago past. As Castroneves slowed and Tracy took a look up the inside, the two made contact and Castroneves slammed Tracy hard into the turn 4 inside wall. Castroneves would not get away incident free however as his suspension would be damaged and he would retire a lap later. It appeared after a number of replays to be a racing incident, but at the time, it looked as though Helio just tattooed the Canadian into the wall. Neither driver pointed the finger, but it was clear the disappointment on Tracy’s face as he clearly had a chance to win.
Further accidents would come about as chaos ensued after the restart. Tony Kannan would crash yet again and Mario Moraes would add to the number of different drivers hit by collecting E.J. Viso. Then Thomas Sheckter and Alex Tagliani would would tangle ruining any chance for a strong Canadian finish. Mario Moraes would also be collected in this as well. His car alreay battered from the previous accident.
Dario Franchitti was able to secure the victory with the Penske cars of Briscoe and Power rounding out the podium. With that win, Franchitti moves ahead of teammate Dixon by two points in the driver’s championship. Ryan Hunter Reay would end his tough luck with a strong 7th place finish and Danica would finish in the top ten (6th) after a terrible start to the race. She was able to make some very good moves that put her in good position to finish well. This race was another promising show put on by the IndyCar series after heavy criticism for lack luster performances on the oval tracks. There was also a number of cars in the field with plenty of racing happening on the track. It would appear that the last step that needs to be taken is the rules situation. Especially with the Franchitti incident, in my opinion that was completely not the correct way to go about the situation. I will be waiting for some press release that does explain the reasoning as to why Franchitti was aloud to keep his position.