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GP Week : Issue 12
INDY 500 >> O PEN-WHEELER racing in the US regained some momentum with last Sunday’s Indy 500. The race signalled the return from the no-mans land of the split championships in the US, and the win – by a New Zealander – confirmed that the international flavour, and audience, is back. Memorial Day weekend is one of the best weekends of the year in America if you are a committed petrol-head. Although it is a holiday designed to honor past and current soldiers, many only know it as a three-day weekend filled with outdoor grilling (ED: that would be barbeques?) and racing action. Sunday morning typically begins early with the live broadcast of the Formula One race at Monaco at 7:30am, followed by the Indianapolis 500 around 12 noon and ending with NASCARs Coca Cola 600. If you are a real nut job like myself, your day starts at 6:00am with the airing of the GP2 races from Monaco. This year was different because of the renewed interest in the Indianapolis 500, the first since the ‘reunification.’ A deep field of drivers including 13 from America, 7 from Brazil, 4 from England, 2 from Australia, 2 from Venezuela and one each from Canada, Japan, Spain and South Africa promised an eventful race. Unlike past Indy 500s the start of this years 92nd running was almost leisurely, cordial even. It was a two-man race during the opening laps with pole winner Scott Dixon and his Target Chip Ganassi Racing teammate Dan Wheldon swapping first and second positions. Bruno Junqueira brought out the first caution on lap 8 when his right-side mirror came off. After his crew made the mandatory repair and replacement Bruno was down 14 laps. A second caution was sparked when a pitting car slowed too quickly in front of Graham Rahal and forced him into the wall at Turn 4 on lap 34. Danica Patrick qualified and started fifth but was never a factor. Trouble with her front left tyre during their pit stop under this caution dropped her from 11th to 13th. During the latter part of the race Milka Duno spun out after getting on the grass, bringing out the eighth caution. Exiting the pits following a good stop, Patrick was accidentally hit by Ryan Briscoe as he exited his pit bay, ending her day. The two have history … Lead changes were few and only flipped between a handful of drivers. The action through the mid-section of the race consisted mainly of a few one and two-car crashes. Thankfully there were no multi-car Cirque Du Soleil acrobatic crashes with cars flipping and flying about the track. Perhaps the most scary moment happened as AJ Foyt IV was exiting the pits, his car erupting into flames. Ironically Foyt had a similar incident shortly after he had qualified for the race. While running some shakedown laps the fuel door came off, while he was at 218 mph. Fuel then leaked from the fuel cap causing him to hit the wall, severely damaging the car. Another spectacular exit came when Jaime Camara brought out the fourth caution after losing it between Turn 1 and Turn 2 at 194 mph. Alex Lloyd caused the seventh caution after hitting the wall just past Turn 4. His impact was so hard that the Kiss my bricks: Kiwi Scott Dixon put lips t o pavement after taking his first win at the famous Brickyard, having gone int o the 500 as pole-sitter and f avourite. In dy Ca r M ed ia In dy Ca r M ed ia 39