The 2011 IZOD INDYCAR Series started out much like the 2010 season; with a massive pile up into the first turn, taking out Marco Andretti. The crash would involve Andretti, Oriol Servia, Helio Castroneves, Ryan Briscoe, Scott Dixon, and Mike Conway. Andretti and Conway would both DNF from the incident, the others would continue on with scares of the event.
Right as the crash happened in turn one, Mario Andretti grandfather of Marco was exiting the two seater he had just pulled onto pit road. He (Mario) shook his head when he saw Marco’s car upside down. Mario was less than pleased as he walked back to the paddock.
The next caution was on lap seven when EJ Viso spun in turn thirteen. Followed by; a debris caution on lap twelve, a lap fourteen yellow for Sebastian Saavedra making contact and spinning in turn one, and the final yellow was lap thirty nine when Charlie Kimball made hard contact with the wall.
The only real incident of the day was on lap one, all other crashes were not a result of double wide re-starts. Yet post race many questions from the media posed it as the issue. Dario Franchetti the race winner stepped in after a provocative question from Nate Ryan of the USA Today. Ryan had asked if the problem was changing the rules for what “fans allegedly want”.
Franchetti after some thought pointed out it was the opening lap that the biggest incident of the day occurred. Basically the champion was pointing out the race always starts two wide, so the new rule change was not the biggest problem.
While Will Power and Tony Kanaan criticized the new restarts, both saying how it is good to listen to the fans, but Franchitti did not take the same stance. Franchitti also pointed out the people “more the team owners wanted it”, going on to say after looking at carbon fiber bills they may reconsider.
Two drivers from the race today were trending topics on Twitter shortly after the race conclusion; Dario Franchitti, and Simona de Silvestro who finished P4. de Silvestro had an impressive run today, taking advantage of double file restarts and giving Tony Kanaan a handful late in the race.
As the race winded down the fans in the front stretch stands started cheering for Simona, chanting her name, and even cheering when she got back past the lap machine of Viso. Simona de Silvestro got a bigger cheer from the front stretch crowd than even winner Dario Franchitti.
Today’s win now ties Franchitti 10th all time in INDYCAR history with Johnny Rutherford. It was also the first win for Ganassi on the streets of St. Petersburg as well. Next up for the teams and fans of the IZOD INDYCAR Series is Barber in Alabama.