Sunday, April 27, 2008

Road Runner Turbo 300 at Kansas Speedway

Dan Wheldon celebrated after winning the Road Runner Turbo Indy 300 on Sunday at Kansas Speedway. Image Credit: MIKE RANSDELL The Kansas City Star

Road Runner Turbo 300 at Kansas Speedway

The race broadcast was delayed due to a playoff in the LPGA Golf event in Miami being shown on ESPN2.

The broadcast begins with the race in its second Yellow Flag caution period brought about by T-Team Will Power KV Racing Technology driver spinning and hitting the wall. Not a great start for the Round Three winner of the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach and the last ChampCar World Series event. The two open-wheel racing series are fully united beginning with this oval race.

Simon Morely of Luczo Dragon/Symantec Racing takes a hit, and keeps on ticking.
On the second yellow flag, brought about when last week’ race winner in Long Beach, Will Power spun and tapped the wall, which sparked a round of pit stops, Tomas Scheckter - Luczo Dragon/Symantec Racing, pulled in and was having his tires changed; Marty Roth locked up his rear wheels and hit the pit crew worker, Simon Morely, working on the right front of Schsckter’s car.

Marty Roth drops out after 57 laps with balance problems (the lack of balance probably helped with his spin earlier).

T-Team driver, EJ Viso - HVM Racing, of Caracas, Venezuela started 17th and climbed to 8th on lap 63 … 7th on 65

Green flag pit stops – lap 76 Milka Duno - Dreyer & Reibold Racing, spins car in pits.

Conquest Racing has had problems all race beginning with Ernesto Bernoldi spinning in the first laps and then on lap 84 Jaime Camara pulled into the pits with a problem.

Near halfway at lap 95, Target teammates are walking away from the field in lockstep. Dixon and Weldon, running about a quarter a second apart and at least seven seconds ahead.

Viso and Scheckter collect each other while Tomas was passing along the top. EJ’s right front notched in front of Tomas’s left rear at lap 99. EJ Viso solders on after a change of flat spotted tires. Tomas Scheckter is not so lucky - OUT.

Justin Wilson benefits from the yellow flag and makes up one lap.

Vitor Miera in the Delphi/National Guard car, while pulling out of the pits, taps one of Buddy Rice’s laid out tires and bends the left front suspension – OUT.

Green, Green, Green on lap 106 – Tony Kanaan - Andretti Green Racing, and Helio Castroneves - Penske Racing, get a jump. EJ Viso – HVM Racing, is one lap down but gets an impressive run as well.

Viso begins to block Ed Carpenter around lap 110, almost catches a black flag but is contacted on the radio and reminded of the rules.

Lap 120, Newman/Haas/Flannigan Racing teammates Graham Rahal and Justin Wilson run side-by-side at 13 and 14 on the lead lap about 7 seconds behind.

The compound of the tires is the same as they used at Homestead - Hard. The temperatures at Kansas being in the high 50’s to very low 60’s are having the tires take a while longer to heat up.

Danica Patrick – Andretti Green Racing, saves her car in a three wide racing incident when she was caught on the outside of Marco Annette while he was passing Mario Moraes. Patrick slid up the track missing the wall and saves the car.

Lap 148 finds Scott Dixon – Target Chip Ganassi Racing, leading teammate Dan Weldon by less than a half a second followed by Tony Kanaan of AGR.

Green flag pit stops are anticipated in 5-6 laps. Ed Carpenter - Vision Racing, reached fourth place and pitted, Buddy Rice – Dreyer & Reinbold Racing, brings out a yellow flag at lap 153 by hitting the wall. EJ Viso pulled into the wrong stall (Vision Racing) and further messed up Ed Carpenter’s pit stop.

Pits Closed, Dixon was in when the Yellow Flag came out but took fuel only, other cars pull in while the pits are closed to get a splash of fuel which is allowed.

Patrick has a poor pit stop when the right rear tire could not get remounted. The mounting studs had been worn down when the previous mounting was placed on the axel mount plate, loosely. Danica Patrick – OUT.

Ed Carpenter looses a lap after being counted for the fourth position before the fourth caution and pit mishaps. Carpenter takes the restart on lap 173 of 200 at P9. Dixon has to restart in P7 because of the in pit Yellow timing.

An interview with Patrick has her mention that the close racing with Scheckter is to be expected. Asked about the racing closeness with Tomas Scheckter and EJ Viso, Danica stated: “I always expect Scheckter to drive like that. ...

... And that Viso, I don’t know who he is even. He’s new and he’s got a pretty fast car. He’s learning the ropes of this oval racing. He almost put me in the wall at one point. I was like, ‘Look dude, you’re new. You better be nice because we all know how to handle this a little better than you do at this point.’ It’s all right. You got some newcomers and they’re going to be trying to push it. They’re not going to know how. They’re not going to know what they can and can’t do. There’s a lot of etiquette to learn in oval racing. It takes a little time. Yeah, there was close racing out there, but didn’t end up racing close at the end."

Nine cars on the lead lap of seventeen cars still on the track. Dan Weldon gets a good start. EJ Viso gets a stop and go penalty for the pitstop mishap with Carpenter.

Dixon has trouble getting around AGR/Panasonic Rookie Mutoh on lap 178.

Scott Dixon catches up to the two Penske cars and he clears them in a one lap short order. Dixon now third and behind four seconds.

With fourteen laps to go its Weldon, Kanaan at .031 behind, with Dixon about one straightaway behind.

Dixon is catching up running at 212 mph but there is not enough laps left for him to change position.

Carpenter runs out of fuel at lap 194. In and out of the pits.
Kanaan looses ground to Weldon in the next to the last lap and Dan Weldon coasts on to win.

Interviews and Reactions:

The incident on lap 153 set the table for the end of the race.

Dan Weldon becomes the first repeat winner at Kansas Speedway in the history of the track. This is also a first win for Dan Weldon after he became a married man. “This is good leading into Indianapolis”, stated Dan. The win brings him to third in points after four rounds.

Tony Kanaan complains about being held up in the final laps and wonders why that has to happen while one is racing for the win. He said, “What comes around goes around.”

EJ Viso was happy with the car and the performance in the race. “I just got confused and made a mistake”, said Viso of the pit stall mix-up with the Ed Carpenter pit on lap 153.

Scott Dixon has three strong performances in four races and gets bit again when the yellow flag flies while he is in the pits … and looses position.

Pos. - Driver - Team - Laps Completed
1. Dan Wheldon Ganassi 200
2. Tony Kanaan Andretti Green 200
3. Scott Dixon Ganassi 200
4. Helio Castroneves Penske 200
5. Marco Andretti Andretti Green 200
6. Hideki Mutoh Andretti Green 200
7. Ryan Briscoe Penske 200
8. A.J. Foyt IV Vision 200
9. Justin Wilson Newman/Haas/Lanigan 199
10. Ed Carpenter Vision 198
11. Oriol Servia KV 198
12. Graham Rahal Newman/Haas/Lanigan 198
13. Jay Howard Roth 197
14. EJ Viso HVM 197
15. Bruno Junqueira Dale Coyne 196
16. Milka Duno Dreyer & Reinbold 195
17. Mario Moraes Dale Coyne 193
18. Ryan Hunter-Reay Rahal Letterman 169
19. Danica Patrick Andretti Green 156
20. Buddy Rice Dreyer & Reinbold 150
21. Jaime Camara Conquest 150
22. Vitor Meira Panther 101
23. Tomas Scheckter Luczo Dragon 96
24. Darren Manning Foyt 76
25. Enrique Bernoldi Conquest 54
26. Marty Roth Roth 41
27. Will Power KV 22

The “Fine Nine” faired as follows:

Justin Wilson, Newman/Haas/Lanigan Racing, breaks into the top ten with a P9 - 1 Lap Down

Oriol Servia, KV Racing Technology – P11 – 2 Laps Down

Graham Rahal, Newman/Haas/Lanigan Racing – P12 - 2 Laps Down

EJ Viso, HVM Racing – P14 – 3 Laps Down

Bruno Junqueira, Dale Coyne Racing – P15 - 4 Laps Down

Mario Moraes, Dale Coyne Racing – P17 - 7 Laps Down

Jaime Camara, Conquest Racing – P21 - 50 Laps Down

Enrique Bernoldi, Conquest Racing – P25 - 146 Laps Down

Will Power, KV Racing Technology – P27 - 178 Laps Down

Starting with the Indianapolis 500, Pacific Coast Motorsports with Mario Dominguez will become the tenth T-Team driver to join the 2008 season.

A good first truly unified race going into the month of May and the ramp-up to the INDY 500. Rookie orientation (which means most of the Fine Nine) will begin in one week and 14 cars are expected on the track.

... notes from The EDJE

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