Loudon "Loop The Loop" and Decisions for the Good of the Game
Graham Rahal and Mike Conway come together before completeing one lap at the MoveThatBlock.com Indy 225. Image Credit: Bret Kelley via IZOD IndyCar Series
Race 13 of 18 at the paperclip "oval" in New Hampshire looked to be like a phone it in affair through warm-ups and qualifications, all of the way to the drop of the Green Flag!
Dario Franchitti - in his new Nikon liveried Dallara from Target Chip Ganassi gained an extra point for capturing the pole position, bringing his IndyCar Series (ICS) championship points lead over his closest rival, Will Power, to 64 with every expectation of greatly increasing the season points lead by the end of the day. Will could only muster a P13 in qualifications and that put him way down in a very racy field.
Other notable drivers in the MoveThatBlock.com Indy 225 grid have positions 2-10 filled with Oriol Servia - Newman/Haas, Tony Kanaan - KVRT-Lotus, James Hinchcliff - Newman/Haas, Ryan Hunter-Reay - Andretti Autosport, Ryan Briscoe - Penske Racing, Takuma Sato - KVRT-Lotus, Helio Castroneves - Penske Racing, and Charlie Kimball - Ganassi Racing.
The quick reading on this stacking is that if everyone stayed out of trouble, it would be a long way to get up front on a tight one mile oval especially when last year's oval track champion (Franchitti) was out in front.
It was at this point a proposed title of most any posting would read - "Franchitti Closes Door On Challengers At New Hampshire Motor Speedway's Paper-Clip".
The loop the loop action began very early at the very beginning of the race when Service Central Ganassi Racing's Graham Rahal car took a spin and was out aided by Andretti Autosport's Mike Conway in the first lap (pictured above). This was notable because Graham was consistently one of the top two or three fastest cars all weekend in practice and pre-race warm-up but had to start from P23 due to a bauble and save during qualifications.
With this chance of a great car and driver looking to make some noise ... out of the running so early, it set the tone of the race that would end up having as many Yellow Flag cautions as maybe Toronto ... with almost as many retirements between the top drivers as anyone could expect.
Helio Castroneves spins on lap 6 bringing out another Yellow Flag caution.
By Lap 18 of 225, Franchitti was already catching up to the back of the field to begin to lap cars. First there was the Swiss Miss, Simona de Silvestra, then Ed Carpenter, Sebasttian Saavedra, and Ana Beatriz.Continued on the next page