Today's IZOD IndyCar Series race at Barber Motorsports Park featured two different pace cars. One was driven by Johnny Rutherford, and the other was driven by Will Power.
Power had an incredible qualifying lap in the Fast Six on Saturday, which basically foreshadowed what was to come today. Through many double-file restarts and pit stops, Power managed to lead every one of the 90 laps in today's event. He was never really challenged at all.
Target Chip Ganassi teammates Scott Dixon and Dario Franchitti finished behind him in second and third, but knew they really didn't have anything for Will today. It looked as though Dixon had a couple of opportunities on a couple of restarts, but couldn't get the position on Power.
Marco Andretti had a great bounce-back performance after the first race of the season left him upside-down on the first turn of the first lap. He brought home his Andretti Autosport car in fourth position, while Oriol Servia continued to impress with a fifth place for Newman/Haas Racing.
Tony Kanaan advanced 18 positions to finish sixth, and Helio Castroneves came in seventh. Simon Pagenaud, who was filling in for the injured Ana Beatriz, came in eighth after starting 23rd. Simona de Silvestro and Charlie Kimball rounded out the top-ten.
Eight different teams were represented in the top 10. In the first race of the season, nine different teams were representing the top-ten finishers.
Things weren't all great for Team Penske though. Power's teammate, Ryan Briscoe, ran into trouble for the second straight race. Ryan Hunter-Reay bounced off a curb trying to pass underneath and sent Briscoe spinning into the gravel on lap 57. Briscoe was running in second place at the time. Hunter-Reay was penalized for avoidable contact, dropping him from fifth to 18th.
Even though there were six accidents caused by contact in this race, it was a much cleaner race than in St. Petersberg. The double-file restarts looked much better and everyone seemed to handle it quite nicely. There weren't many opportunities to pass at this track, so you would think it would make the drivers more impatient, but for the most part, cooler heads prevailed.
The two drivers who battled for the Championship down to the wire last year have now won the first two races of the season. Going into next week's event at Long Beach, it is possible we could see another driver finally step in between these two.
Last year, Ryan Hunter-Reay won a great race at Long Beach, with Will Power finishing third after starting on the pole. Dario Franchitti had trouble in that race, finishing in 12th position.
Next Sunday's Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach can be seen at 3:30pm. Qualifying will take place on Saturday at 2:30pm.
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