MoveThatBlock.com Indy 225
Indy Car racing returned to New Hampshire’s Magic Mile for the first time in 13 years and the results were as unpredictable as the weather. Threatening skies forced the start of the MoveThatBlock.com Indy 225 to be, MovedUpBya Halfhour. Still, rain played a major role in the outcome and the controversy.
Polesitter Dario Franchitti was dominating the race, which saw six yellow flag cautions for accidents and moisture. The records will state the race was shortened by five laps, but the report has more story lines than laps. Franchitti led virtually every lap up until just past halfway, when on a restart Takuma Sato made contact with Franchitit’s right rear wheel, spinning the points leader into the wall just past start/finish.
This placed Will Power in a great position to make up ground on Franchitti in the Championship chase. Power was actually running in first for 12 laps, until pitting for fuel on lap 178, handing the lead to Takuma Sato. When Sato pulled into the pits on lap 191, Ryan Hunter-Reay took over the lead. His Andretti Autosport car was developing a vibration, about halfway on tire runs, but his team urged him to fight through it and not give up the lead.
Besides the Franchitti crash, which also collected JR Hildebrand, there was a first lap crash, when Mike Conway spun and collected Graham Rahal. Helio Castroneves spun on lap eight, but was able to rejoin, but finished 13 laps down, the last car still running.
Tomas Scheckter was thrilling the crowd, running the high groove and making multiple passes. He filled in for Justin Wilson with Dreyer & Reinbold Racing, in an entry sponsored by the event title sponsor. But when Scheckter approached Marco Andretti, who was running a lap down, as he went for the outside pass, Tony Kanaan was attempting to get by on the bottom of the Team All Natural Snapple No. 26 and the three wide run down the back stretch resulted in all three out, with Kanaan’s No. 82 GEICO KV Racing Technology Lotus landing upside down in the tire barrier.
On lap 206 the caution came out for moisture, but the rain was now heavier than the earlier caution period. Everybody thought that the race would end under yellow with the cars following the pace car to the checkers; everybody except Brain Barnhart in Race Control. Despite multiple drivers communicating over team radios that it was too wet for a restart, the call from Race Control was to go green on lap 217; big mistake. Danica Patrick got on the throttle exiting turn four and spun, collecting multiple cars. Race Control admitted the mistake and called it an aborted restart. The finishing order was reverted back to lap 215.
Oriol Servia finished in second and Scott Dixon was classified third. The calamity and controversy of the finish marred the outcome and caused drivers and teams to question the Race Control leadership, with some calling for Brian Barnhart’s removal. Will Power, who was one of the five drivers taken out on the, “aborted restart” thought that his opportunity to make up ground on Franchitti was erased in the melee, flipped the double bird in the direction of race control.
Lost in the controversy was the outstanding weekend of Newman Haas rookie James Hinchcliffe, who finished fourth. He was one of the few drivers to top 170 mph during the weekend. There were a lot of upset drivers at the finish, which was ant-climatic and confusing. Oriol Servia was leading when the yellow came out for the “aborted restart” and thought that he should have won. But there was one happy driver in New Hampshire at 6 PM on Sunday; his name is Ryan Hunter-Reay. One driver with many sponsors on his No. 28 Team DHL/Circle K/Sun Drop Soda Andretti Autosport Dallara Honda. In the time that it takes to say the name of Hunter-Reay's car, he could run a lap at NHMS!