Grand Prix of Baltimore Gives Final Set-Up For Championship Showdown

Traffic jam as the IZOD IndyCar teams prepare for the penultimate race of the season in the concrete canyons of the streets around the inner harbor of Baltimore, Maryland. Image Credit: EJ Viso via Instagram

Grand Prix of Baltimore Gives Final Set-Up For Championship Showdown

Will Power’s championship hopes continued to improve during qualifying as the Australian dominated all three rounds of qualifying, turning the fastest lap in each session before claiming pole in the Firestone Fast Six, securing a crucial championship point in the process.

“This track is very physical, there are lots of turns and not many straights, especially now that they have added the chicane, said the season’s IZOD IndyCar Series Championship points leader, now with 37 points. It was important to get the pole in the Verizon Chevy #12 car – on a course like this it is important to start up front and additionally we gained one more point toward the Championship. Starting from the pole it is a lot easier to control your own destiny.”

On the addition of the chacane; “I think it was definitely the right thing to do,” he said. “It fixed the problem over the train tracks. They’ll make a few more adjustments overnight, but all in all, it’s all good.”

Power was backed up by Tony Kanaan (TK), who had acted as a drivers’ representative in working with IndyCar to resolve the problem.

“Last year, it was unanimous among all us drivers that we could take the chicane out,” TK said. “The tracks sit on rubber, so they’re not the same from a year ago. We all thought we could avoid the chicane and have a better passing zone, and obviously we found out that we cannot.

“I think it was a great response from the drivers, IndyCar, and [track designer] Tony Cotman to be able to change it. I think it was a best solution that we could get.”

Overall, speeds were up on last year’s edition of the Grand Prix of Baltimore with every qualifier breaking Power’s year-old record in their new DW12’s. When the dust settled, Power sat atop the standings with a speed of 111.116 miles per hour around the 2.0-mile, 12-turn street course.

The 2.0-mile, 12-turn concrete canyon temporary street course of the Grand Prix of Baltimore – Twitter HASHTAG #GPoB. Image Credit: Grand Prix of Baltimore

The championship could very well be decided today if Will Power gains the points for most laps led (2) and wins with Hunter-Reay failing to score enough points to maintain station. Power needs only a 54-point clearance over Hunter-Reay to clinch his first series title before the final race at the 2.5 mile super-speedway oval at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California.

Mathematically, there remains seven drivers with a chance at the championship and this assumes that Will Power does not score points from his pole position to start the race. The aforementioned Ryan Hunter-Reay/Andretti Autosport at 37 points – Helio Castroneves/Penske Racing at 42 points – Scott Dixon/Target Chip Ganassi Racing at 55 points – Simon Pagenaud/Schmidt/Hamilton Motorsports at 86 points – Tony Kanaan/KV Racing Technology at 96 points – & finally, James Hinchcliffe/Andretti Autosport at 97 points behind.

Plainly stated, If Will runs the table on points for this race (most laps and wins), Scott Dixon is eliminated – Helio Castroneves needs to finish at no worse than P2 – Ryan Hunter-Reay needs to finish at no worse than P4!

Scott Dixon sports his “Blue Livery” helmet, which he changed to at Mid-Ohio, at the Grand Prix of Baltimore. Image Credit: TCGR

Twitter conversation yesterday after qualifications:

Edmund Jenks @TheEDJE
Hey @IndyCar @BeauxBarfield @RBINDYCAR How about using an F1 rule for qualis? Red Flag = All Stop and Clock Stops! #Fairness #GPoB #IndyCar #!ndyCar2012

Beaux Barfield @BeauxBarfield
.@TheEDJE @IndyCar As stated earlier: There is a risk vs reward element in play in IndyCar qualifying that can be intriguing…

Remi Bernard @RemiBernard
@BeauxBarfield @TheEDJE @IndyCar Watching Qualifying right now. That chicane-to-wall angle is a disaster. You can’t race that way tomorrow.

Beaux Barfield @BeauxBarfield
.@RemiBernard @TheEDJE @IndyCar It has been fixed…

@BeauxBarfield @TheEDJE @IndyCar Phew. Good to hear, man. Thanks for being on the ball for the drivers. Much appreciated.

Sebastien Cotte @french_sebo
@BeauxBarfield @RemiBernard @TheEDJE @IndyCar good or the race would have finished with 2 or 3 drivers only!!

The joys of racin’ the streets of Baltimore’s inner harbor – Crabby Fries from @CrusinCafe #FoodOfGPoB #GPoB @ Grand Prix of Baltimore. Image Credit: Wil C @wheelsee via Twitter

Gina Navarra @fastlifeofgina
Preparing to tweet like crazy during this #GPofB! @GPofBaltimore #IndyCar

We are live with NBCSC on cable, and the TweetDeck twitter feeds fired up so we look to have a great race reporting experience … and YES, we, at The EDJE, are pulling for Will Power to finally close the deal after being a standout in ChampCar World Series and being a bridesmaid for the last two years (sorry Ryan Hunter-Reay and others).

Will Power starts the race on pole for the third race in a row, 5th pole of the season, and 29th pole for his career.

IZOD IndyCar Series officials announced penalties for the following cars for this weekend’s event at Baltimore. All cars will be penalized 10 grid places for unapproved engine changes:

No. 14 ABC Supply car for A.J. Foyt Racing (Mike Conway) — fitting sixth engine

No. 15 Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing (Takuma Sato) — fitting seventh engine

No. 67 Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing (Bruno Junqueira) — fitting sixth engine

No. 78 Nuclear Clean Air Energy Lotus HVM Racing (Simona de Silvestro) — carry-over for fitting seventh engine at Sonoma

No. 83 Novo Nordisk Chip Ganassi Racing (Charlie Kimball) — changing fifth engine before its minimum change-out mileage. Because it’s fitting its sixth engine, it will incur a 10-grid spot penalty at Auto Club Speedway on Sept. 15.

The top ten adjusted spots in the grid Side-By-Side are Power-Dixon, Bourdais-Franchitti, Hinchcliffe-Kanaan, Wilson-Carpenter (yes, Carpenter), lastly, Pagenaud-Hunter-Reay. NOTE: Helio Castroneves is the only top seven in the points not able to grid in the top 10 positions … lines up in P14.

Loved the McClaren anti-stall technology package just run on NBCSC … RHR did not have this $14,000 box at GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma and could have used it.

Andy M @morinap now
Classic grid run from RM today. Even if @jaredhamilton60 doesn’t like it. #IndyCar

Cars roll out off the pit lane … as the fight announcer is fond of saying … Let’s Get Ready To Rxxxxxxxble! (it is a copyrighted phrase so that is why the xx’s).

GloryHunter since’77 @Chris_Wilde
The Baltimore street course looks dangerous this season. Keep safe! #indycar

Push-To-Pass is no delay 90 seconds

GREEN, GREEN, GREEN – the beginning of a scheduled 75 Laps for 14th race … the Grand Prix of Baltimore

Everyone off without incident – RHR moves up two spots on the firsr lap – P8

Simona de Silvestro in for a change of wing … damaged in the first lap

Jenna @jmcc09
.@simdesilvestro & @EJVISO both on pit lane at the same time. I’m not saying anything… #indycar #GPoB

Sports Updated @SportsUpdated
@anderson_xn serio, Baltimore é a prova que a #Indycar esta ladeira abaixo. 2012 foi um ano péssimo, e por culpa de quem organiza.

The action of the cars through the chicane is just mind-boggleing – SeaBass is all over the back of Dixon – pulls off a pass on the end of the big straight … drops Dixon to P3

Brian Groce @naptownbuzz
RT @IndyCar: Sprinkles coming down around the racetrack. #GPoB #indycar2012

Team Chevy @TeamChevy
The @IndyCar race at @GPofBaltimore has started! Tune into @NBCSports and cheer on your favorite @TeamChevy drivers! #indycar2012 #GPoB

Ron Frankl @ronfrankl
RT @IndyCar: Sprinkles coming down around the racetrack. #GPoB #indycar2012

Michael Williamson @michaelw2000
Bourdais around Dixon to P2! #IndyCar #GPoB

Sébastien Bourdais @BourdaisOnTrack
Seb passes Dixon for P2! // Seb passe Dixon pour 2e! #GPoB

Lap 5 of 75 – Top 10 – Power, Seabass, Dixon, Dario, Hinchtown, Kanaan, Pagenaud, Wilson, Briscoe, and RHR

Some cars come in to pit – possible 3 stop strategy – moisture begins to fall on Lap 7 – YELLOW Flag – full course caution

Tia @tial99
Ed Carpenter with issues in the straight after coming thorough the chicane. He’s touched the outside wall…or so it seems. #GPoB

Pit Strategy – Top cars do not take advantage of YELLOW – Restart should be exciting between SeaBass and Power

Allen Wedge @AllenWedge
heck of a run, now time to start a new streak RT: @ECRIndy: This is our first DNF of the year. Proud of the 13 we finished in a row. #GPoB

AJFoytRacing @AJFoytRacing
@Mikeconwayindy reports light rain on whole circuit @GPofBaltimore #IndyCar

Pitlane has Rain Tires up on the wall – big rain drops on pit lane

Troy Appel @tdappel
I wish we could see Power/Bourdais duels more often. Step it up, Jay. #GPoB #indycar

GREEN Flag Restart – Lap 12 of 75 – Top 10 – Power, Seabass, Dixon, Dario, Hinchtown, Kanaan, Pagenaud, Wilson, Briscoe, and RHR

Cal Leferink @caleferink
Looking quite wet in Baltimore…who goes to wet tires first? #GPoB #indycar2012

Christopher Estrada @estradawriting
Power hangs on, but Dixon and Bourdais are in hot pursuit. #IndyCar #GPoB

SpeedFreaks @SpeedFreaks
Awesome restart… goooo @BourdaisOnTrack!!! #IndyCar

YELLOW Flag – Castroneves helps to spin Conway, SeaBass spins on the wet track and doesn’t touch anything – cars are pitting for fuel but no one is taking on rain tires

Junqueira, Viso and one more come in and take on Wets

TAGS’ Bryan Herta Autosport team puts out Rain tires – waived off

Allan McNish @AllanMcNish
getting pretty frustrated with #indycar commentators, full course yellow & now raining = strategy critical, don’t talk over team radio plz!

GREEN Flag Restart – Front straight is wet but now the track section a couple of turns down the track are dry

Castroneves and Viso have a spin together – NO YELLOW

Sébastien Bourdais @BourdaisOnTrack
Seb is now P3 // Seb est maintenant 3e #GPoB

YELLOW Flag – Lap 19 of 75 – Full Course Caution – Marco Andretti into the tires – everyone in except for RHR – inherits the lead … most on WETS

Lap 20 of 75 – RHR, Hinchtown, Wilson, Rubens, TAKU, Rahal, Power, Dixon, Viso, and TAGS

Rain is coming down across the whole track – first six cars are on slicks – Power on back are on WETS

GREEN Flag – Lap 21 – First corner is clean – Dario spins … ON WETS … YELLOW Flag – Full Course – de Silvestro taps Dario

Jeremy Thake @jthake
Retweet if u want @Hinchtown & @ryanhunterraey domination and the rain to blow over! #indycar #gpofBaltimore @GoDaddy

Marcoteers Andretti© @Marcoteers
Rain and Chicane…. #GPoB doesn’t seem to be making friends with the drivers

RHR comes in and gives up the lead to everyone else – confusion ensues as teams try to game the tire strategy

GREEN Flag – Lap 24 of 75 – Amazing – TAKU passes for the lead with Rahal, Hinch, Power, Dixon, TAGS, Viso, – RHR coming on strong with slick strategy

Christopher M. @gochrisuniverse
RHR is marching. Inspired driving right now. #indycar

Lap 26 has a disparity on the track between cars – the most passing in a race this season – Points leader in the pits

Ron Flatter @ronflatter
Enough is enough. @12WillPower pits on green to go from wets to reds they’ve already used. Wow. @IndyCar @BaltimoreGP #GPoB

Tony DiZinno @tonydizinno
I’d imagine if it stays dry everyone will run all-reds to the finish. The rule for reds/blacks both waived due to the rain. #GPoB

Jeff Griffin @BSAMaryland now
RT @JamesJakes: JJ on the move! P7 on L 28! #jakesynation #indycar2012 #GPoB

Justin P. Thomas @Cappereen3 now
#GPoB I can’t believe my eyes!

F1 Fanatic Live @f1fanaticlive
Hunter-Reay up to fourth place, passing Hildebrand. #IndyCar

Lap 30 of 75 – Top 10 – TAKU, Rahal, RHR, Hildebrand, Kimball, Jakes, Rubens, SeaBass, Wilson, and Pagenaud

Jakes into a run off – goes back to P11 – 3 wide passing Pagenaud gets by SeaBass

SeaBass in the pits, points to right rear to car … cut tire

YELLOW Flag Full Course Caution Lap 32 – James Jakes into the tires – Rahal dives into the pits and takes on fresh REDS – possible low fuel

SeaBass back into the pits – must have a bigger car problem than a cut tire – Left front suspension … boy he looked great … last race of the season

LaMarquis Martin @LaMarquisMartin
Sebastian Bourdais just can’t catch a break #IndyCar #GPoB

Luis Delgado 😉 @luisdelgado_83
#IndyCar #BaltimoreGP. Bourdais a boxes. Los mecánicos están revisando la suspensión trasera.

Dan Brown @19danbrown
Pah!!!! Gutted for James Jakes, he was having a good run and looked good for a decent finish! #IndyCar #GPoB

Mauricio Llano @mauro2029
Está ganando Takuma Sato… no es una carrera normal. #Indycar

Dannie Lyz Asphall @DannieAsphall
I never knew the crash between Bourdais and Newgarden was soo bad! Darn, that was scary! Thank God they’re ok! #Indycar

GREEN Flag Restart – Pagenaud climbs into the lead – passess RHR Hinchcliffe, TAKU … Followed by Kimball – the replay was awesome as Simon looked like superman!

YELLOW Flag – we seem to be making up for lost time in YELLOW due to the lack of them in previous races – Hinchcliffe has a cut tire … looks to be worse. Castroneves changes front wing

Lap 37 (halfway) – Top 10 – Pagenaud, RHR, Kimball, Kanaan, TAKU, Rahal, Hildebrand, Wilson, Rubens, and Briscoe … Power at P13

GREEN Flag Restart – Kimball passes RHR – YELLOW Flag Full Course Caution – Simona de Silvestro slams the wall at the chicane

Lap 40 of 75 – Top 10 – Pagenaud, Kimball, RHR, Kanaan, TAKU, Rahal, Hildebrand, Wilson, Rubens, and Briscoe … Power at P12 … Briscoe in for pit stop

Emma Bracegirdle @EmTheEmu
Awwww, poor Bob Jenkins. Best wishes to him, his wife and the rest of their family and friends #GPoB #IndyCar

Andrew Browne @brownie9999
crashfest #IndyCar

Tzechiu Lei @tzechiulei
LOL RT @tonydizinno: .@simonpagenaud just channeled his inner @TonyKanaan / @tomasscheckter on that restart. Holy amazeballs. #IndyCar #GPoB

Jason Moorehead @RacinION79
This #INDYCAR: race is bad, boring and I have a hard time believing these drivers are pros. I think they get in 1 green lap in at a time

GREEN Flag Restart Lap 42 – Really jumpy at the first corner – looks like Kanaan taps RHR – Rubens and Servia get the best of Hildebrand after he damages his wing with a tap

Amber Cleveland @ambercleveland
Yes:( and greens are super-short! RT @kateshoup: Is it me or are these yellows excruciatingly long? Great racing otherwise! #GPoB #IndyCar

Christopher Estrada @estradawriting
Hildebrand has a damaged front wing. Top-10 day may be done now. #IndyCar #GPoB

Lap 45 of 75 – 30 to go – Power puts a move on Justin Wilson – takes P8 – Power just want to survive this thing

Ron Flatter @ronflatter
@12WillPower has moved up to 9th. @IndyCar @BaltimoreGP #GPoB

TAKU pits as probably the first to be able to make it to the end w/o a pitstop

SpeedFreaks @SpeedFreaks
Excellent ‘Through the Field’ with @KevinLee23 @TownsendBell99 & @heymartysnider – now THAT was good TV reporting! #IndyCar @NBCSN

Christopher Estrada @estradawriting
Rahal doing his drive-thru penalty just now. #IndyCar #GPoB

This drops Rahal from P5 to P14 – just do not need to register a penalty … EVER!

John Oreovicz @IndyOreo 1m
Power currently P7, due to make second stop in next 5-10 laps.

Michael Friedman @mfriedman_63
@GrahamRahal was penalized for jumping last restart :(. #Indycar #GPoB

Hélio Lima @Helio_Lima18
Ui, vai jogar o capacete RT @ricardo_engsoft E Graham bravo com a direção de prova. Cumpriu o drive-through Lap 49/75. #IndyCar #BaltimoreGP

Vivica Westwood @VivicaWestwood
OMG! Stop! Where is Sato??? #IndyCar

Philip Lane @Re1axin_Mood
How the Indycar stands now will Will Power win the Championship? #indycar

Race with Insulin @racewithinsulin
26 laps to go at @GPofBaltimore. CK running 3rd. #IndyCar #GPoB -PLR

Pagenaud Pits … TAKU comes to the pits is having mechanical issues – RHR takes over the lead – Kanaan hits the wall off of chicane – No YELLOW yet

RHR in the pits – Power in P1, Pagenaud coming up behind RHR on warm tires – cars are settled down on Lap 53

Lap 55 – Top 10 – Power, Servia, TAGS, Briscoe, RHR, Pagenaud, Dixon, Dario, Helio, and Kimball – Briscoe is a little slower than RHR but stays in front

TAGS, Briscoe, and RHE form a train in P3, P4, and P5

Will Power pits and gets scuff REDS – out in P8 – TAGS, Briscoe, RHR, Pagenaud, Dixon, Dario, and Castroneves leads Power with 18 laps to go

Amy @AmyAmes99
Best color commentary all day! —> “@tial99: Helio right under Dario’s booty coming into T1. OUCH! #GPoB”

Dannie Lyz Asphall @DannieAsphall
#Top3 Briscoe, RHR, and Pagenaud. 18 laps to go! #Indycar #GPoB

Andy Marquis @amarquis32
Alex Tagliani pits from the lead. #GPoB #IndyCar

Lap 60 of 75 – Broscoe, RHR, Pagenaud, Dixon, Dario, Power (P6), Helio, Kimball, Rubens, and Conway

Power puts the pass on Franchitti for P5 – Dixon is one lap short on fuel – possible fuel issues with Briscoe and Castroneves as well

Andy Marquis @amarquis32
Will Power is a man on a mission right now. #GPoB #IndyCar

Dannie Lyz Asphall @DannieAsphall
TK is out of the car! #Indycar #GPoB

Jack Rice @rico500
Nice. My Fantasy Racing picks are currently running 1-2-3-4-6. #indycar

Amber Cleveland @ambercleveland
13 laps to go @Ryan_Briscoe leads, but will need 1 more stop. @scottdixon9 will need to stop too. #IndyCar #GPoB

Ten laps to go – Top 5 cars are Briscoe, RHR, Simon, Dixon, and Power

YELLOW Flag – Charlie Kimball delivers a full course caution – engine blows up and lays down some oil

Briscoe may not have any P2P left but allows Briscoe to stay in front – Dixon comes in for fuel – RHR needs to kill the restart in order to gain maximum points against Will Power who just needs to finish the race to keep the lead in points going into the last race at Fontana

Amy @OpenWheelMom
Holy shxxwaffles this is going to be one hell of a restart…C’mon @simonpagenaud #GPoB #IndyCar

Dannie Lyz Asphall @DannieAsphall
68/75! #Indycar #GPoB

Andy M @morinap
Shxx is about to get cray in the #IndyCar race.

The radio traffic talkin’ all of the possibilities is just crazy

Lucas Santochi @LucasSantochi
RT @curtcavin: Power has clinched two bonus points for most laps led. Big. #IndyCar

Drew Allen @drewallennews
Here we go… #IndyCar #GPoB

GREEN Flag Restart – Lap 69 – RHR launches and gets the lead and almost is too fast in the corner – Pagenaud pressures RHR – Restart controversy with Ryan Hunter-Reay and Ryan Briscoe explained HERE>>

YELLOW Flag Full Course Caution – Multi-car pile up due to Conway into the tires causes a block on the track

Lap 70 – On replay Pagenaud backs off into the first corner expecting RHR to maybe bounce off of the tires – RHR gets clear – Penske believes RHR jumps restart, leader did not react to the flag – Replay shows legal start

If ends right now – RHR closes to within 19 points of Will Power – what a race – RHR has done everything he has been able to do to keep this championship alive – let’s have at least one more restart – Lights out on safety car

GREEN Flag Restart – Lap 73 – Two laps to go – RHR gets through turn one – Will Power get shuffled backward to P7 – loosing more points

Christopher Estrada @estradawriting

Erin Bonilla @eBON
Final lap! #gpob

Matt White @MattW1986 now
Nice one Rubi #indycar #GPoB

Akemi Mokoto @Otaku2012
FINAL LAP!!! #GPoB #IndyCar

Ash (アシュー) @racingAsh
My goodness Power falls back a few positions?!? #IndyCar #GPoB

Ryan Hunter-Reay wins the race – Michael Andretti interviewed at this moment says that we are going to win this championship

Briscoe out of fuel but gets P2 – doesn’t help teammate Will Power

Power on telecast discussing strategy about WETS – not happy

Kyle Johnson @RaginKJohn
Can’t wait for the cry babying out of Will Power… #indycar

Kev @ElusiveKev
Great race when it was green, but quite a few cautions, so very good race. Been a great day of racing. #Indycar #GPoB

Greg @z0sixxer
What a win by @RyanHunterReay! time to go for the title in 2 weeks in Fontana! #GPoB #indycar

Luis Delgado 😉 @luisdelgado_83
#IndyCar #BaltimoreGP No hay campeon!!!! Se define en el super ovalo de Fontana el sábado 14/09.

Gina Navarra @fastlifeofgina
Hang in there @12WillPower… hang in there. #IndyCar #GPofB

Kai @AndersFinn
Happy for Pagenaud, Rubens and Briscoe. #IndyCar

Stuart Richards @stupot94
Well done Hunter-Reay!!!! Title down to the wire. #indycar2012 #GPoB

Neil Hudson @neilhudson
It’s just between those two. Dixon and Castroneves are out of the hunt #IndyCar

RHR did not jump the last restart – Will Power stated that he would have “almost” jumped the restart if he were in that same position

All hats off to Ryan Hunter-Reay for an absolutely awesome, MUST DO drive – gives a prediction just as team boss Michael Andretti gave … we are going to win this thing in Fontana

@IndyCar – There goes the winning car of @ryanhunterreay, off to @ACSupdates! #GPoB #indycar2012

One of the toughest races of the season – just spot on

… notes from The EDJE

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