Dissecting Baltimore

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The Baltimore Grand Prix was needless to say a contrast from the typical street race. Instead of it being the typical parade that is associated with most street races, it had a little bit of everything: passing, drama, collisions and controversy.

The hottest of topics remains the contact between Will Power and Scott Dixon. The contact resulted in Dixon being taken out of the race and further dampening his championship hopes after a courageous charge in the last few races. Dixon’s comments towards race director Beaux Barfield and Penske Racing president Tim Cindric have been harsh, to say the least.

He stated that Barfield should be fired and that Cindric is a piece of (censored).

Very shocking comments from the man that has been nicknamed the Iceman.

Dixon’s frustration is understandable, his championship hopes have taken a hit and his sister in law recently passed away very tragically.

Dixon has yet to be fined for his comments, which is a bit questionable being that 2 years ago Power was given a $30,000 fine for his now infamous “Double Birds” directed at former INDYCAR race director Brian Barnhart. Helio Castroneves was also assessed a penalty for calling Barnhart a circus clown later in the season.

Had it been any other series, Dixon would most certainly have been fined. He crossed the line and should be punished.

On to the accident itself, the blame rests with Power although it wasn’t intentional. Power did have a run on Sebastien Bourdais, but he should have easily looked in his rear view mirror before he made his move. Dixon certainly was racing aggressive and was on his push to pass when the two collided, but Power messed up.

An issue that Power brought up during his post race is double file restarts on street courses. His does make a valid point for this race, being that the chicane on the front straightaway made it hard to get formed up and most restarts it was only the first 6 rows that could get aligned and with turn 1 being so tight and was where a majority of the accidents occurred.

The Dixon vs Penske and Barfield wasn’t the only rivalry throughout the race. Graham Rahal and Tony Kanaan got together on lap 68, which put an end to Rahal’s promising race.

“I got a really good restart and I got by Kanaan,” he said. “I don’t even know how far back he was but I looked in Turn 2 and couldn’t even see him. The next thing I knew, I was trying to line those guys up for the exit and he just drove absolutely square into the side of me. I really don’t get that and I’m definitely going to have some words with him.”

After the race, Graham’s boss and father Bobby Rahal engaged in a mild Twitter war with the elder Rahal calling the incident a punk move by Kanaan. Rahal also said he lost respect for the 2013 Indianapolis 500 winner. Kanaan tweeted back, “Hey Bob this is my twitter handle. Just in case u need it.”

Afterwards, Rahal responded back saying: “TONY my Lebanese bro. I love you and I do respect you but geez. Lets go have some great Lebanese wine and great Lebanese food. I’ll buy.” Kanaan replied: “Deal. Sounds good to me.”

All negativity aside, there were plenty of feel good stories.

Josef Newgarden really flexed his muscle throughout the weekend and proves that he is a rising start. Driving for a small team in Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing that does not have a large budget, Newgarden has shown some spots of greatness this year, especially darn near winning at Sao Paulo. At Baltimore he overcame a transmission gremlin, getting caught up in an accident and flat out drove the wheels off the car and had it not been for bad brakes at the end he could have made a charge at Pagenaud.

Sebastien Bourdais also looks like he is returning to his old form. Boudais was quickest in morning warmup and started in 22nd and with help of good strategy found his way to the front of the pack. Despite being spun by Oriol Servia, Bourdais stayed competitve and the duel with Pagenaud was entertaining. Sebastian Saavedra also picked up his career best finish with an 8th place run, making it the first time both Dragon Racing cars finished in the top 10 together.

Simona de Silvestro, like Bourdais, started back in the field wound up with a top 5 finish. She was off the pace during practice, but during the race she showed what she is made of. She moved up through the field and hung around the top 10 for much of the day and despite catching the tail end of the accident on lap 57, with the help of 4 new tires stayed in contention. She fought hard with teammate Tony Kanaan among others and was reeling in Justin Wilson for 4th place by the time the checkered flag fell. A 5th place for de Silvestro is well deserved being that she came thru the field and made a few bold moves in doing so.

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