Rexall Edmonton Indy Speedway - Edmonton City Centre Airport IndyCar race track configuration detail - pre-2011 in yellow / 2011 configuration in blue [ctrl-click image for "A virtual lap of the Edmonton Indy" video]. Image Credit: GrabBagSports.com (2011)
2011 Edmonton Indy Preview - A Bump And Run Affair, Race 11 of 18
From the frying pan and into the fire. After the exciting, yet full course caution plagued Honda Indy Toronto, the IndyCar Series (ICS) heads on over to the Canadian province of Alberta, and the 2.25 mile temporary road course set up on an airport runway/tarmac in Edmonton.
This year, the course layout changes from a course that tracks around clockwise with long, high speed turns and few real straightaways, to a course that tracks counter-clockwise and features 13 turns, a nasty hairpin turn that separates two long straights made from a landing/takeoff runway, and another slightly curved straight that dives into another situation similar to " Turn 3" at the end of the only high speed straight in Toronto.
If NASCAR tactics of tap, spin, and run worked for Dario Franchitti to increase his points lead over Will Power, look for at least three areas in Edmonton to promote the same type of carbon-fiber, wheel bumping close competition in order to gain advantage.
Turn 1 out of the pits and at the end of the long straight past the Start/Finish line (the longest of the new layout). The corner is an unusual left hand power turn (120%) that leads to a speed section with a slight right-hand kink at Turn 2 and a high-speed left/right jig at turns 3 & 4.
The second kinked straight ends at Turn 5 in another hard left-hand turn (curved 180%) that tracks through a curvy section that was used in the previous layout.
Lastly, starting at turns 10 & 11, a long 150 mph straight made from a landing/takeoff runway that ends in a nasty hairpin at turn 13 that starts the process over again with the longest straight (3/4th of a mile - nearly 200 mph) in the new course.
Quick change front wing in process on Will Power's Verizon sponsored Penske Dallara during the Honda Indy Toronto. It is this ability, to have a little front wing damage, isn't necessarily a death nail to a driver's race anymore. Image Credit: www.allandelaplante.webs.com (2011)
Will Power fans would love to see Dario spun around as he had spun Power in Toronto on Turn 3 ... but through a conspiracy of team work/orders. The way nose wings can be popped off and on (as Penske's Will Power - photo above, Andretti Autosport's Ryan Hunter-Reay and Danica Patrick experienced in Toronto), and the additional strength designed into the Dallara suspension parts for side (non-torque) impact, it is not inconceivable something like this could be orchestrated. Penske isn't the only multiple car team that may want to get in the middle of this concept.
If Target Chip Ganassi Racing is allowed to get away with the type of "advantage" driving Dario was able to pull off, then let the flood gates open.
From the frying pan and into the fire? ... with the redesign of the layout of the Edmonton City Centre Airport IndyCar race track, let's just call this part of the schedule (Race 10 Toronto/Race 11 Edmonton) Canadian Bacon - tempers will fry!
... notes from The EDJE
Edmonton Indy, Edmonton, AB, Rexall Edmonton Indy Speedway, Qualifications - 6:00 PM ET Sat. July 23, Race - 2:00 PM ET Sun. July 24 on VERSUS
[Article first published as 2011 Edmonton Indy Preview - A Bump And Run Affair, Race 11 of 18 on Technorati]