Wednesday morning Ipiranga/Dreyer & Reinbold Racing officially announced that Ana “Bia” Beatriz will not be racing this Sunday at Barber. The 26 year old Brazilian fractured her scaphoid bone (wrist) on the fifth lap at St. Pete, in turn five when she made contact with Graham Rahal. Bia went on to still finish 14th with the wrist injury. Last Tuesday she had surgery to assist in her speedy recovery.
For Barber former Champ Car driver; 26 year old Simon Pagenaud, the reigning LMP1 champion from ALMS will fill in. According to team owner Dennis Reinbold, “We wanted to put Bia in the car for this race, but it’s more important that she heals properly and has a quick recovery. She’s working hard and headed down the right track so that she can be ready for Long Beach.”
Also Bia’s teammate at Dreyer & Reinbold Racing–Justin Wilson also suffered a hand injury during the St. Pete season opener. Wilson will still be driving through his injury this week at Barber. He (Wilson) suffered a small fracture of his wrist when on the lap 44 restart, Wilson and Tagliani made contact. Justin Wilson will be fitted with a special carbon-fiber cast for Sunday’s second round in Alabama.
Barber is back for the second time on the IZOD INDYCAR Series schedule. Last year was a race lacking in passing, that drew most of its excitement from the late fuel milage strategies. There were only three leaders at last year’s inaugural event. (Race winner Helio Castroneves led 20 laps, pole sitter Will Power led 12, and Marco Andretti led 58 circuits.)
The track designed for motorcycle racing is very lacking in available passing zones, although this event may be a benefactor of the new “Double file re-start” rules for the 2011 season. The facility; looks to have a decent amount of tickets sold, and will have plenty of fans spread out around the facility on blankets and lawn chairs.
The 2010 Barber race was also lacking in carnage, with only two cars more than one lap down at the end. (Milka Duno was running -4 laps to the leader, while rookie Takuma Sato was -22 laps down. Sato had some mechanical issues after a P6 start, including a rare throttle linkage breaking.)
On the INDYCAR Series Youtube video recently posted for Barber; Marco Andretti admitted, that race was one of the few they really feel they let “get away” for a victory in 2010. Considering the dominant race the third generation Andretti had before his team called him in for fuel late in the race, expect to see him trying to avenge the 2010 loss.
I could brag about being P2 in Open Paddock’s fantasy league standings, ranked far ahead of all my team mates from the site, and being ranked 65th out of all teams on INDYCAR Nation as well. But I will let the performance of “Team Spirit of Pocono Raceway” do all my trash talking. (I am also ranked second one point back of Kevin Krauss in the race challenge on the Inside Groove at RaceFanRadio.com)
So perhaps I will pass on some tips to novice fantasy racing fans.
Barber Sure bets:
While Marco Andretti ran very well in 2010; and we know he really wants to win the event this year, don’t pick him! Marco can be a hot head, and often get over-aggressive early in a race. If he runs well and wins it will be great, however it is a very risky pick. If you’re conservative in picks Marco is a massive risk.
I will say Helio last year’s winner is a sure bet. Considering his luck for round one in St. Pete, Helio will look for a better race, but not take the risks Andretti might. Helio was the fastest in the open test and looks to be a sure bet for podium, if not also pole and P1 finish.
The other driver who will have a good race–even with his injury, Justin Wilson. Wilson runs very well on road courses, and also may look to benefit from the double file re-starts for Barber. Wilson has plenty of experience racing with a hand/wrist injury. He still got a top 10 finish in St. Pete with his injury. Now he has his wrist set in a special cast to help him race injured. I doubt he will struggle, in fact I suspect Wilson will be standing on a podium post race.
This week Newman/Haas announced James “Hinch” Hinchcliffe will race in all the remaining North American IZOD INDYCAR races. With backing from Sprott Inc. (a Canadian Asset management company), will be debuting where he had an amazing test last month. Hinch was light years faster than all other rookies at the open test.
“While I enjoyed being with the team on the pit-wall at St. Petersburg for the opening round, there’s no substitute for being in the car. I’m looking forward to being teamed again with Oriol Servia and hopefully we can replicate our form from the final test at Barber.” said the 24 year old Hinchcliffe in a press statement earlier this week.
Barber don’t use this week:
Sébastien Bourdais, the 32 year old French driver had an awful debut in the unified IZOD INDYCAR Series at St. Pete. Added to this, Coyne racing had a terrible performance with Alex Lloyd who would finish just one spot ahead of teammate Milka Duno in 2010. (Last driver just -1 lap to the leader)