Live Blog – Honda IndyCar Grand Prix Of Alabama

Helio Castroneves just after he captures the pole for the Honda IndyCar Grand Prix of Alabama. Image Credir: IZOD IndyCar Series

Firestone Fast Six Qualifications Tweets from The EDJE:

Quals Group 1 Note: 4 of 5 #lotus are in this group include SeaBass and Servia – not the best chance to advance – #indycar #dw12 #higpa

Quals Group 1: Helio, Pagenaud, Rahal, Hildebrand, Conway, Viso – ADVANCE #higpa

RT @stevewittich: Top 9 in group 1 within 0.34 seconds. Awesome sauce! #higpa #IndyCar #dw12

Quals Group 2 – Briscoe, Dixon, RHR, Power, Kanaan, Hinchcliff – ADVANCE #higpa #IndyCar #dw12

Round-2 #indycar Quals Field – Briscoe, Helio, JR Hild, Viso, Dixon, RHR, Power, Kanaan, Conway Hinchtown, Rahal, Simon #higpa #dw12

Unofficial Barber track record is 1:9.4550 seconds – Will Power, March 2009 – Round-1 Power @ 1:09.8529 #indycar #higpa #dw12

Round-2 #indycar Quals Briscoe, Helio, JR Hild, Viso, Dixon, RHR, Power, Kanaan, Conway Hinchtown, Rahal, Simon #higpa #dw12

Firestone Fast Six Round Quals Order/Engine – Helio – 1:10.4768 C, Hinchtown C, Dixon H, Conway H, JR Hild C, Kanaan C – #indycar #higpa #dw12

Will Power leads fellow Aussie and teammate, Ryan Briscoe through the Alabama countryside at Barber Motorsports Park during a set-up practice session for Round #2 in the IZOD IndyCar Series championship 2012 season. Image Credit: IZOD IndyCar Series

Amazingly, due in large part to top drivers not placing their best laps early in the Round 2 session and an off-track excursion by Ryan Hunter-Reay … many recognizable names did not make the best showing … Power was hurt the most because he actually posted a better time than in his previous session – others who just missed the Firestone Fast Six session – EJ Viso, Ryan Briscoe, and Graham Rahal.

Further, row #9 on the grid will be filled with two drivers that have eight American Open Wheel season championships between them – P17 Sebastien Bourdais (4-time CCWS champion) and P18 Dario Franchitti (4-time IRL/IndyCar champion).

Barber Motorsports Park track layout with elevations. Round #2 of the IZOD IndyCar Series for 2012. Image Credit: IZOD IndyCar Series

Race Grid (Lotus Legion in BOLD):

Pos – Driver – Team/Engine – Time – Gap
1. Helio Castroneves Penske DW12-Chevrolet 1m10.4768s
2. James Hinchcliffe Andretti DW12-Chevrolet 1m10.5222s + 0.0454s
3. Scott Dixon Ganassi DW12-Honda 1m10.5291s + 0.0523s
4. Mike Conway Foyt DW12-Honda 1m10.8791s + 0.4023s
5. JR Hildebrand Panther DW12-Chevrolet 1m11.0759s + 0.5991s
6. Tony Kanaan KV DW12-Chevrolet 1m11.3740s + 0.8972s

7. EJ Viso KV DW12-Chevrolet 1m11.5257s Round 2
8. Graham Rahal Ganassi DW12-Honda 1m11.5841s Round 2
9. Will Power Penske DW12-Chevrolet 1m12.0098s Round 2
10. Simon Pagenaud Schmidt DW12-Honda 1m14.2839s Round 2
11. Ryan Hunter-Reay Andretti DW12-Chevrolet Round 2
12. Ryan Briscoe Penske DW12-Chevrolet Round 2

13. Marco Andretti Andretti DW12-Chevrolet 1m10.6512s Group 1
14. Rubens Barrichello KV DW12-Chevrolet 1m10.5664s Group 2
15. Josef Newgarden Fisher DW12-Honda 1m10.6851s Group 1
16. Takuma Sato Rahal DW12-Honda 1m10.6111s Group 2
17. Sebastien Bourdais Dragon DW12-Lotus 1m10.7255s Group 1
18. Dario Franchitti Ganassi DW12-Honda 1m10.6749s Group 2
19. Justin Wilson Coyne DW12-Honda 1m11.5524s Group 1
20. James Jakes Coyne DW12-Honda 1m10.7526s Group 2
21. Simona de Silvestro HVM DW12-Lotus 1m11.5721s Group 1
22. Charlie Kimball Ganassi DW12-Honda 1m11.3594s Group 2
23. Alex Tagliani BHA DW12-Lotus 1m12.5778s Group 1
24. Ed Carpenter Carpenter DW12-Chevrolet 1m11.8672s Group 2
25. Katherine Legge Dragon DW12-Lotus 1m13.6457s Group 1
26. Oriol Servia Dreyer & Reinbold DW12-Lotus 1m13.3349s Group 2
(ht: autosport.com)

Notes and Tweets in the form of a Live Blog of the Honda IndyCar Grand Prix Of Alabama:

Ross Bynum @therossbynum
I still stand by the fact that the Lotus teams would be at the bottom of the charts even if they had a Honda or Chevy. #IndyCar #HIGPA

Brian Groce @naptownbuzz
What I took away from last week’s #IndyCar race: The Lotus engines are crap. Am I wrong?

If one were just looking at top line speed, well, yes! But if one were to look at the sectional performance charts of one of the best open-wheel drivers to have been in the sport, no … it shows that there is something to work with – not total crap.

Oriol Servia ? @OriolServia
So this morning we had an electrical problem after first run & engine broke after 2 laps in afternoon… We Need Laps!! ?

Last Tweet and link to Lotus engine trouble speculation.

Johnny Montona @andhesonit
Who will drive at the @IMS test. RT @AutoweekRacing Lotus struggling to get engines ready for #Indy500: bit.ly/H7vOdh #IndyCar

The fact remains that on reliability and top end speed through the power curve, the Lotus/Judd engine is very behind the performances of the other two engine manufacturers – Chevrolet and Honda.

Andretti Autosport's Chevrolet-powered DW12 of Ryan Hunter-Reay paces in the wet during practice at  #higpa. Image Credit: IZOD IndyCar Series

These thoughts excerpted and edited from SPEED -

Bourdais’ Street Fighter Sector Times
Marshall Pruett for SPEED | Posted March 30, 2012

Amidst the concrete and fencing, Sebastien Bourdais put on a show at St. Pete in the sections of the track where top speed wasn’t a factor.
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The 33-year-old Frenchman shocked his rivals by running as high as third during last Sunday’s 100-lap season opener, which would seem like enough of an accomplishment on its own, but the circumstances surrounding Seb’s competitive performance—and his outright speed—deserve a deeper look.

“If you told me then on Thursday we would have the race like we did, I think you’d have been a bit crazy,” he said.
—-
The No. 7 would get all the way to third as more cars pitted while Bourdais waited to make his final stop on Lap 70, returning to the track in 14th.

The clock was ticking on Seb’s race as communications issues between his drive-by-wire throttle system and the McLaren ECU went dead on Lap 73 while he sat in 10th. Game over.

If the shock sight of a Lotus-powered car mixing it up in the top 3 wasn’t enough, the data generated from INDYCAR’s data loops throughout the 1.8-mile, 14-turn circuit told an even more impressive tale.
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To start, Bourdais set the eighth-fastest lap of the race, directly ahead of a certain H. Castroneves who won the event. The next-fastest Lotus lap was turned by Oriol Servia, the 16th-best of the race.
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Bourdais’ drive off the final corner must have been hellacious, and his ability to go deeper into the braking zone was also noticeable as the other Lotus runners ranked 23rd, 24th, 25th and 26th on the same sector.

Whatever he lacked on top-end power and speed changed from the braking zone into Turn 1 through the apex of Turn 2 where Bourdais was fastest of all. With the battle already conceded on the straights, Seb, with the help of his ace engineer Neil Fife, set about winning as many individual wars in the corners as possible.
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From the middle of the T3/T4 straight through Turns 5, 6, 7 and halfway through Turn 8, Bourdais was only beaten by Power. The Aussie completed the long sector in 13.10 seconds, just ahead of Seb’s 13.18-second blast through the right, left, right, right section.

With handling and torque more valuable than raw horsepower in this portion of the track, it’s clear that Bourdais’ hustle was complemented by more than decent low-end power from his Lotus engine. The initial grunt offered by the Lotus—and good handling from their own respective cars—stacked Tagliani right behind in fifth and Servia in sixth on the same loop.
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He [Bourdais] jumps back to lead the Lotus brigade [Lotus Legion] from the middle of that straight just past Turn 12, setting the 12th-fastest sector time. From the end of the Turn 12 loop though Turn 13 and then Turn 14—leading onto the front straight to where pit entry begins—Bourdais is the 10th-fastest car with a time of 8.99 seconds, but Servia pips him with a 8.95-second run, good enough for sixth in that sector.

Add it all up and a portrait of what the combination of a proper driving, a proper setup and proper low-end torque can achieve on a street course becomes clear.

The sweeping turns at Barber Motorsports Park won’t provide Bourdais the same kind of opportunity to make up for speed deficiencies this weekend, but once the series returns to street courses like Long Beach, Toronto and Baltimore, look for Seb to continue lighting up the sector times.
[Reference Here]

Lady in the lake sculpture at Barber Motorsports Park, Alabama. Image Credit: JohnTheRaceFan

Begin Live Blog:

Christopher DeHarde @CDeHarde
Here’s my view for the @IndyCar race today! #HIGPA pic.twitter.com/G932Y30B

U S Race Report @usracereport
Other notables starting today include P14 @rubarrichello, P18 @dariofranchitti, and P19 @justin_wilson. #IndyCar #HIGPA @BarberMotorPark

Will Publish another article in place of this attempt at a Live Blog. Find article HERE>>

Problems in publishing with deleted Live Blog entries … can not recover! … Sorry.

VIDEO: 2012 Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama Highlights

… notes from The EDJE

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