Sunday, June 10, 2012

Firestone 550 At 1.5-Mile Texas Motor Speedway, Tweet-By-Tweet

Justin Wilson of Dale Coyne Racing shows off the hardware and hat he won in Texas by being first at the line in the Firestone 550. This is Wilson's first win on an oval track. Image Credit: IICS

Firestone 550 At 1.5-Mile Texas Motor Speedway, Tweet-By-Tweet

Welcome to the second oval and seventh race of the sixteen race 2012 IZOD IndyCar Series (IICS). This race was looked at with an added amount of anticipation filled with concerns surrounding racing on a tight 1.5-mile oval racetrack since the last race of the 2011 season.

In the wake of the circumstances that ended up ending Dan Wheldon’s race career and life at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, short race tracks with catch-fencing that had its poles exposed to the direction of the track, tracks that were purpose-built for closed bodied NASCAR style door-to-door pack racing combined with the high-stakes/speed open-wheel series were deemed too dangerous to have on the schedule.

It came to the surprise of many team owners and drivers alike that having a race on the 2012 schedule at Texas was incautious and ill-advised since this track carried many of the construct characteristics of Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

It was felt by series management the new Dallara DW12, with its purpose designed anti-interlocking bodywork and rear wheel guards, that just a change in the specifications of a rear-wing wickerbill would bring the cars into a safer configuration than the old Dallara DP09’s run in the previous years of the series. This would have the effect of reducing the downforce on the cars and reduce the possibility of the drivers having to race in a pack and thus reducing the level of contact incidents.

Concerns aside, here is how the drivers will be lining up to take the CHECKERED Flag after qualifications – overview excerpted and edited from Tony DiZinno at

Alex Tagliani claimed pole position for the fifth race of the IndyCar race at Texas Motor Speedway.

The Canadian achieved an average of 215.691mph across his two qualifying laps at the wheel of the Bryan Herta Autosport entry to put himself just ahead of Ganassi's Dario Franchitti. The average difference between the pair in terms of lap time was 0.0102 seconds.

"Since we got back together with Honda, we flew under the radar," said Tagliani, whose team started the season using Lotus engines. "I think we're there. It's looking good for the rest of the year. Since Indy, we're really strong."

Graham Rahal was third-fastest ahead of fellow Ganassi driver Scott Dixon, with Penske's Will Power heading the Chevrolet runners in fifth. The Australian had been in contention for pole position with his first lap of 216.041mph, but lost out badly on his second lap when he hit the hard limiter.

Pos  Driver               Team/Car                Speed
 1.  Alex Tagliani        Herta DW12-Honda        215.691
 2.  Dario Franchitti     Ganassi DW12-Honda      215.646
 3.  Graham Rahal         Ganassi DW12-Honda      215.554
 4.  Scott Dixon          Ganassi DW12-Honda      215.331
 5.  Will Power           Penske DW12-Chevy       215.116

 6.  James Hinchcliffe    Andretti DW12-Chevy     214.920
 7.  Tony Kanaan          KV DW12-Chevy           214.701
 8.  Mike Conway          Foyt DW12-Honda         214.458
 9.  Marco Andretti       Andretti DW12-Chevy     214.424
10.  Takuma Sato          Rahal DW12-Honda        214.196

11.  Simon Pagenaud       Schmidt DW12-Honda      214.082
12.  Ryan Briscoe         Penske DW12-Chevy       214.060
13.  Oriol Servia         Panther/DRR DW12-Chevy  213.957
14.  Rubens Barrichello   KV DW12-Chevy           213.949
15.  Ryan Hunter-Reay     Andretti DW12-Chevy     213.927

16.  EJ Viso              KV DW12-Chevy           213.444
17.  Helio Castroneves    Penske DW12-Chevy       213.402
18.  Charlie Kimball      Ganassi DW12-Honda      212.833
19.  Justin Wilson        Coyne DW12-Honda        212.136
20.  Ed Carpenter         Carpenter DW12-Chevy    211.643

21.  James Jakes          Coyne DW12-Honda        211.245
22.  Katherine Legge      Dragon DW12-Chevy       210.543
23.  Simona de Silvestro  HWM DW12-Lotus          204.066
24.  JR Hildebrand        Panther DW12-Chevy      202.596
25.  Josef Newgarden      Fisher DW12-Honda

Four drivers will receive a 10 position grid line up penalty for engine changes – AJ Foyt Racing’s Mike Conway, Rahal Letterman Lanigan’s Takuma Sato, Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing’s Josef Newgarden, and HVM Racing’s Simona de Silvestro.

The following entries are entered in a “live blog” form of journaling using a combination of direct entries and 140 character (or less) entries - known as “Tweets” - found on the social media communications web portal TWITTER: @Autosportradio
RT @JennaFryer: New #IndyCar bulletin: A rear wing wicker up to a maximum of 1/8” height and full span may be used.

IndyCar Garage @IndyCarGarage
@99forever crowd looks very similar to last and will still be the 2nd highest Attended oval all yr. At least 70k strong here #IndyCar

Stephen M. @sbmellen
Wow, look at all the empty #IndyCar seats in Texas. Disappointing. @willbuxton @PeterDWindsor @circuitamericas

Jeff Roberts @ENGPHOTO
#AJFoytJr: Boys and girls start your engines. #Firestone550 #IndyCar

HVM's Simona de Silvestro - No fuel pressure on the 10 position Lotus/Judd - new engine - will miss the start of the race - same problem for Rubens Barrichello

James Black @16AndGeorgetown 27s
"We have one update finally [from Lotus/Judd] and then something like this happens, which is annoying," says Simona de Silvestro. DNS from fuel pressure issue

rg @rg_here
Green green green! #Indycar

Alex Tagliani is able to make his pole position to work - first four begin to pull away from Power in P5 (Dixon, Franchitti, and Rahal)

Four Hondas cover the front of the field followed by six Chevys

Curt Cavin @curtcavin
I think we can see there's separation of cars. #indycar BTW: There hasn't been pack racing here for some time.

Andy @Gabbahey122475
Good shit by @curtcavin . Read it! RT @curtcavin: A rare column. #indycar

As predicted on Motorsports Unplugged Radio this morning, Ganassi would be hard to beat but as a team, Andretti Autosport, if they hook-up could control the race.

LAP 20 of 228 - Top 10 - TAGS, Dixon, Rahal, Power, Andretti, RHR, Hinchtown, Kanaan, Briscoe, and Pagenaud.

Trouble with Tagliani and he drops to P4 at around 207mph - Dixon assumes the lead

LAP 31 YELLOW Flag - Charlie Kimball smacks the wall in a single car incident - racing hard with EJ Viso

This helps Franchitti get back on the lead lap after unplanned pitstop for adjustments put him one lap down

THE PACER MANIAC @TheSandman21 48s
Yeah, #indycar just had a crash while @NBCSN was on break... Think its time to go back to the race guys...

Commercials breed cautions

LAP 35 - Has the top 10 be Dixon, Rahal, Power, Andretti, Tagliani, Hinchcliffe, Kanaan, RHR, Briscoe, and Pagenaud - all cars comeinto the pits – it’s crazy down there

In the pits, TK gets wing damage - Power back in the pits with right rear tire problems - Pagenaud overshoots pit - TK back for a new nose and front wing - Franchitti back in for suspension adjustment

LAP 40 - Restart - GREEN Flag

Top five shuffled - Dixon, Rahal, Hinchcliffe, Andretti, and Briscoe

Tagliani looking racy again in P7 - Sato passes TAGS for P6

Pagenaud serves a pitstop penalty for speeding in the pits

LAP49 - Kanaan is hooked up - nose change had him at the back on same lap as leaders at P21 has moved back up to P13

The Firestone tires last really good for 10 laps then they go away

IndyCar Garage @IndyCarGarage
The aero changes have eliminated pack racing , no question #IndyCar

LAP 58 - Dixon and Rahal are together within 1 sec. and the two are almost 6 seconds ahead of the field

YELLOW Flag - Takuma Sato hits the outside then the inside walls

LAP 66 of 228 - RHR in the pits for engine problems - everyone else except Franchitti in the pits for tires

JR Hildebrand started P23 and has worked his way up to P4 on this last pitstop

Christopher Estrada @estradawriting
83-Kimball blames 5-Viso for taking air off his car and causing it to crash. Calls Viso "completely unpredictable." #IndyCar #Firestone550

aka_robyn @aka_robyn
Well, now that Barrichello and Sato are both out, who do I root for... Justin Wilson! #IndyCar

Curt Cavin @curtcavin
.@edcarpenter20 from 12th (I think) to fifth on the stop. #indycar

Restart LAP73 of 228 - Field is Dixon, Rahal, Hinch, JR, Ed Carpenter, Wilson, Marco, TK, and Suprize ... Servia!

It's official, Ryan Hunter-Reay of Andretti Autosport out of the car and out of the race ... not good for points - out with an injector issue

The DW12s seem to be involved in a bit of "pack racing" as most cars are holding station

All the DW12s like riding on the bottom

Christopher Estrada @estradawriting
Robin Miller just passed along Ed's complaints/apology to the fans, then goes: "Doesn't look boring from here." #IndyCar #Firestone550

Oriol Srevia is bitten with a fuel pump problem so he joins the FP club with de Silvestro, and Barrichello

Helio Castroneves is finding success at the top of the track along with Justin Wilson ... both are moving up - Wilson overtakes Helio for P5 and Helio on P6 – both are coming up on Ed Carpenter

LAP 100 of 228 - it's Dixon, Hinchcliffe, Rahal (who almost loses it), oops Wilson then Rahal, Carpenter, Castroneves, TK, EJ Viso ... yeah, he's still shiny side up, Marco, and Power

We are now running laps at 197mph because this is the longest GREEN Flag session in the race at over 43 laps

Wilson takes over P2 from Hinchcliffe and now sets sail for Dixon who is ahead of him by .888 seconds

Marco's car is not working ... Hinchcliffe is also in and the Andretti Autosport teams are at a loss as to why their cars are going off

Marco is out of the car!

LAP 120 and 108 LAPS remain  - Pitstops on GREEN Flag and the order begins to shuffle

Justin Wilson assumes the lead as Dixon and many others come into the pits - Helio has four pitstops but still in the hunt – Marco Andretti’s car is back out on the track

Wilson gets ready to come in - in the pits - for pitstop number three - good stop

LAP 130 of 228 - field set with Dixon, Hinchcliffe, Carpenter, Power (looking strong), Wilson, Castroneves, WOW-EJ Viso, Briscoe, and OOPS!

YELLOW Flag for #5 KVRT's EJ Viso - go figger! The car just stopped so the body work is … OMG! intact!

Scott Dixon come into the pits originally by himself ... then followed by P6 Power on back after only 15 laps on the tires

Helio gets balked by Newgarden who stops in Helio's pit - loses places

Breakthrough Racing @breakthruracing
RT @curtcavin: No contact between Helio and Newgarden. I think Newgarden was in his way. He nearly lost a lap. #indycar

EJ Viso in interview - the electronics went off and the car stopped – I want to thank the team for a competitive car

LAP 138 - Restart - GREEN Flag - Hinch leads the field but Dixon in P4 starts to move along with the Penske cars of Power and Briscoe just behind

LAP 142 - Dixon takes the lead from Hinch, Power all over Hinch and Briscoe and takes over P2

LAP 146 - Briscoe and Kanaan are now taking their shots at the Andretti Autosport Go Daddy car, Both get by on now LAP 149

LAP 150 – Top 9 has Dixon, Power, Briscoe, Kanaan, Hinchtown, Carpenter, Wilson, JR, and Rahal - TIRES ... a fresh set of Firestone TIRES just may decide who wins in the end ... pitstop timing and TIRES

Justin Wilson driving the red & white Sonny's BBQ Honda-powered DW12 side-by-side with the Go Daddy Chevrolet-powered DW12 of James Hinchcliffe under the lights at Texas Motor Speedway Saturday night. Image Credit: AP

Scott Dixon has been the class of the field - Kanaan is the only non-Penske/Ganassi car to have anything for the field so far

LAP 162 - Hinchcliffe  comes in on a GREEN Flag - Ed Carpenter is expected to be next

We are now 32 laps on the tires and are going around at 203mph - new tires go 213mph

LAP 170 - Will Power gets past Dixon for the lead -  Dixon had to check up on another lapped car

YELLOW Flag - Scott Dixon hits the wall and brings out the fourth caution of the race - spun because of dirty air - WICKERBILLS kill moving the mushroom off of the track and helps to cause single car spins

NOTE: PENSKE Racing occupy three of the top four positions

LAP 177 - pitstops are over - teams calculate to stay on the same tires to the end but they will be just hanging on at the end

Top 10 in the field is Power, Briscoe, Kanaan, Castroneves, Wilson, Rahal, Hildebrand, Hinchcliffe, Pagenaud, and Carpenter

Interview with Dixon (paraphrased) - traffic really unsettles the car so one has to work with the weight jacker and keep chasing the set-up. Power passed me and then the car just got away

LAP 184 of 228 - Restart - GREEN Flag

Briscoe and Power side-by-side and Kanaan gets cut out - Castroneves giving problems with Kanaan

Kanaan has a hurt wing and he comes in for a second replacement with Barrichello's wing

LAP 190 - its Power, Briscoe, Castroneves, Rahal, and Wilson at the top

Wilson is the only team with a new set of sticker Blacks in the pits

Will Power gets a BLACK Flag penalty for blocking [on Kanaan] and has to drive through - field now Briscoe, Rahal, Castroneves, Wilson, Hinchcliffe, Hildebrand, Pagenaud, Will Power a lap down, Tagliani, and Jakes

LAP 200 - Rahal passes Briscoe and now Wilson shags Briscoe all at the same time that Power tries to get his lap back ... on the track - he gets shut out

Hinchtown passes Castroneves while Marco Andretti who is six laps down clogs Helio's line

Rahal, Briscoe, and Wilson are the strength of the field all within 100's of each other on lap times

LAP 210 of 228 - Top three cars are with 2.5 seconds of each other at 206mph - Rahal is using the middle groove and washing up and down in the corners to maintain speed - Graham Rahal is looking strong for these last now 15 laps

Wilson is getting racy and takes the position from Briscoe - P2

Justin Wilson is about 2.5 seconds behind Graham Rahal and tracking him down

LAP 218 of 228 - Ten laps to go - Ganassi Racing's Rahal in a strong lead - tires may go away but right now Rahal is going 2mph per lap faster than P2 Wilson

LAP 222 – encounters lapped traffic but Wilson is back up to 212mph but may not have enough race left to catch him

Two laps remain - Rahal scraps the wall - car slows  - Dale Coyne Racing's Wilson passes Rahal – now on his WHITE Flag lap - Got a break on lap 226

Justin Wilson's Sonny's BBQ Honda-powered DW12 is viewed as not being able to win on ovals takes the Firestone550 with a steady drive

Finishing top 10 - Wilson, Rahal, Briscoe, Hinchcliffe, Hildebrand, Pagenaud (last on lead lap), Castroneves, Power, Pole-Sitter Tagliani, and James Jakes

The top 10 was bookended by the Brits!

Justin Wilson celebrates his first oval track win on the front stretch at Texas Motor Speedway. Image Credit: AP

10 gallon hats off to Justin Wilson and the Dale Coyne Racing Sonny's BBQ sponsored, Honda-Powered, wickerbilled DW12

Colin Warnock @justin_wilsonPR
RT @SkyIndyCar Huge congratulations to @justin_wilson everyone at Sky IndyCar so happy for him. #ovalexpertnow #indycar

Heather Thomas Leo @HeatherTLeo
“@CrashGladys: A BBQ car wins in Texas - how appropriate!!! #indycar @TXMotorSpeedway @IndyCar @IndyCarPR Congrats @justin_wilson!!!”

Christopher C. Dyson @ChrisDyson16
Will and Tony were pretty gracious, all things considered.

Christopher Estrada @estradawriting
2-Briscoe: "It was tough out there tonight, and it was exactly what we asked for. No complaints." #IndyCar #Firestone550

Edmund Jenks @TheEDJE
Pageneaud has 100 points over Rubens and Newgarden - Honest question, is the rookie of the year battle in #IndyCar already over? #Firestone550

Bill Zahren @pressdog
Too bad we had the freak out about "pack racing" at Texas months before we had anything but supposition to go on.

Allen Wedge @AllenWedge
Will Power "that was the best racing I have ever had at an oval"

Female Racing News @FemaleRacing
Totes agree Will Power.. great racing!!!

GEICO Racing 11 @GEICORacing11
Checkered flag waves here @TXMotorSpeedway & @TonyKanaan is relegated to a disappointing 11th place finish. Tough night. #Firestone550

Mario Andretti @MarioAndretti
Congratulations @justin_wilson and @DaleCoyneRacing. Great job!

Allen Wedge @AllenWedge
Seriously, I don't care about aerokits anymore, This new package has given us 5 great races so far this year! #indycar

Tony DiZinno @tonydizinno
Bummed to miss end of #IndyCar race. Congrats @justin_wilson that's awesome!

Panther Racing @PantherRacing
.@JRHildebrand: "The setup is still an engineering project, but as a driver it's super nice to have a lot more input into what's going on."

Pippa Mann @PippaMann
Really hope #Indycar goes back to Texas next year after the race today!! #WhetherImJustAFanOrADriver And that says a lot!!!

Holly Wheldon @hollywheldon
@GrahamRahal Great job today Graham xxx

Gustavo Yacaman @GustavoYacaman
Agree with @TonyKanaan 100% stupid moves like that are simple dangerous at those speeds.

SpeedFreaks @SpeedFreaks
@AJDinger @justin_wilson Soooo true!!! Justin is winning the coolest hardware in 2012! #Rolex24 & #Firestone550 Watches, Cowboy hats & guns!

Nytewynd18 @Nytewynd18
@RyanLewisRacing @alex_lloyd @cjeffduncan I agree with Hinch, I'd rather worry about the cars being in one piece than worry about the driver

Panther Racing @PantherRacing
A stellar fifth-place finish by @JRHildebrand and the @PantherRacing crew after being a lap down TWICE and starting 23rd. Impressive.

Erica Gordon @erica_g
Soooo #IndyCar racing is pretty awesome. Can't wait til @MKE_IndyFest next weekend! #IndyFest

Road course expert, Justin Wilson takes his first oval track win at Texas Motor Speedway in the Firestone 550. Image Credit: IICS


Pos.       Driver   Laps       Running / Reason Out
1              Justin Wilson                     228         Running
2              Graham Rahal                    228         Running
3              Ryan Briscoe                      228         Running
4              James Hinchcliffe            228         Running
5              J.R. Hildebrand                                 228         Running

6              Simon Pagenaud              228         Running
7              Helio Castroneves           227         Running
8              Will Power                         227         Running
9              Alex Tagliani                      227         Running
10           James Jakes                       227         Running

11           Tony Kanaan                      227         Running
12           Ed Carpenter                     227         Running
13           Josef Newgarden            226         Running
14           Dario Franchitti                                225         Running
15           Katherine Legge               224         Running

16           Mike Conway                    224         Running
17           Marco Andretti                                 222         Running
18           Scott Dixon                         173         Contact
19           E.J. Viso                               129         Mechanical
20           Oriol Servia                        89           Mechanical

21           Ryan Hunter-Reay           66           Mechanical
22           Takuma Sato                      63           Contact
23           Charlie Kimball                                 29           Contact
24           Rubens Barrichello         0              DNS
25           Simona de Silvestro       0              DNS

Allen Wedge @AllenWedge
IndyCar fans need to send HUGE thank you to @NBCSN went commercial free for final 30ish laps, and ran late to get us proper interviews

Tony @PopOffValve
I think @justin_wilson won because I had barbecued pork ribs for dinner. #yeahiwillgowiththat

Tony @PopOffValve
Going to sign off and savor this race evening. Kudos to @IndyCar, @RBINDYCAR, @justin_wilson, and @eddiegossage.

… notes from The EDJE

** Article first published as Firestone 550 At 1.5-Mile Texas Motor Speedway, Tweet-By-Tweet on Technorati  **

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