Edmonton Indy Race Report

Circuit:City Centre Airport (2.556-mile temporary circuit) Edmonton, Alb., Canada
2011 Winner:Will Power (Team Penske Honda) 90.949 mph average
Weather:Sunny, warm, 78 degrees F

Top 10 Race Results:

Fn. St. Driver Team Engine Chassis Laps Average Speed/Notes
1. 5. Helio Castroneves Team Penske Chevrolet Dallara 75 101.246 mph avg.; led 22 laps
2. 3. Takuma Sato Rahal Letterman Lanigan Honda Dallara 75 -0.8367 seconds
3. 17. Will Power Team Penske Chevrolet Dallara 75 -5.3697 seconds; led 3 laps
4. 8. Graham Rahal Chip Ganassi Racing Honda Dallara 75 -6.9481 seconds
5. 4. Alex Tagliani Bryan Herta Autosport Honda Dallara 75 -15.2358 seconds; led 49 laps
6. 1. Dario Franchitti Target Chip Ganassi Honda Dallara 75 -15.8757 seconds
7. 11. Ryan Hunter-Reay Andretti Autosport Chevrolet Dallara 75

-21.5357 seconds

8. 2. Ryan Briscoe Team Penske Chevrolet Dallara 75 -23.5311 seconds; led 1 lap
9. 10. Justin Wilson Dale Coyne Racing Honda Dallara 75 -26.3280 seconds
10. 18. Scott Dixon Target Chip Ganassi Honda Dallara 75 -26.6481 seconds

Other Honda-powered Results:
11. 23. Mike Conway A.J. Foyt Racing Honda Dallara 75 -27.0458 seconds
17. 13. Josef Newgarden-R Sarah Fisher Hartman Honda Dallara 75 -56.0449 seconds
19. 19. Charlie Kimball Chip Ganassi Racing Honda Dallara 75 Penalized for contact
20. 6. Simon Pagenaud-R Schmidt Hamilton Racing Honda Dallara 74 Did not finish-contact
25. 14. James Jakes Dale Coyne Racing Honda Dallara 43 Did not finish-suspension

R – IndyCar Series Rookie

Sato Second in Thrilling Edmonton Finish

In his strongest IZOD IndyCar Series performance since May's Indianapolis 500, Takuma Sato chased eventual race winner Helio Castroneves throughout the final 20 laps at Sunday's Edmonton Indy, finishing  less than one second behind for the best result of his IndyCar career.

Starting third, Sato joined early race leader Alex Tagliani and Indianapolis 500 winner Dario Franchitti in a 1-2-3 Honda train at the front of the 25-car field, through the first round of pit stops.  By half-distance in the 75-lap race, Castroneves had joined the lead pack, while Tagliani went on to lead a race-high 49 laps. 

The final round of pit stops saw Castroneves, Tagliani and Sato all running nose-to-tail, but Tagliani ultimately faded to a fifth-place finish.  Over the final laps, it was Sato challenging Castroneves several times during every tour of the 2.5-mile temporary airport circuit.  But Castoneves, with a bit more of his "push-to-pass" options in reserve for the finish, was able to hold off Sato's advances by just over eight-tenths of a second at the checkers.

Graham Rahal came on strong in the second half of the contest to pass both fellow Chip Ganassi Racing driver Franchitti and Tagliani in the closing laps and finish fourth, his third top-four result of the season.  Tagliani held on for fifth, his best result of the season as the Bryan Herta Autosport team continues to improve after a mid-season switch to Honda power.

Franchitti battled handling issues to finish sixth, with Texas race winner Justin Wilson ninth for Dale Coyne Racing and Scott Dixon overcoming an early race electronics problem to round out the top 10 for Honda and Target Chip Ganassi Racing.

Its two-race Canadian swing now complete, the IZOD IndyCar Series takes a one-week break before returning to the U.S. for the balance of the 2012 season, starting with the August 5 Honda Indy 200 at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course.

IZOD IndyCar Series Drivers' Championship (after 11 races):

1. Ryan Hunter-Reay 362 points (3 wins) 6. Tony Kanaan 279
2. Helio Castroneves 339 (2 wins) 7. Simon Pagenaud 276
3. Will Power 336 (3 wins) 8. Dario Franchitti 258
4. Scott Dixon 301 (1 win) 9. Ryan Briscoe 241
5. James Hinchcliffe 286 10. Graham Rahal 237

Manufacturers' Championship: Rookie of the Year:
1. Chevrolet 90 1. Simon Pagenaud 276
2. Honda 75 2. Josef Newgarden 156
3. Lotus 44 3. Katherine Legge 103

Takuma Sato (#15 Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing Honda) started 3rd, finished 2nd, his second podium finish of 2012 and best IndyCar career result: "I really enjoyed it.  I would have enjoyed it a little more if I could overtake [eventual winner Helio Castroneves] at the end, but you know we were not quite there.  Helio, obviously, did a great job and made no mistakes at all.  I could see he was sliding around, and his tires were starting to degrade a little bit, but we were sliding, too.  I used my 'push-to-pass' bit by bit, but he had more ['push-to-pass' time] left at the end.  Once or twice, I got very close, but not quite close enough to attempt a pass."

Alex Tagliani (#98 Barracuda Bryan Herta Autosport Honda) started 4th, finished 5th, led a race-high 49 laps: "I'm very, very proud of our team; it was a fantastic job today.  On the opening lap, I knew our car was very strong, and it remained that way through the first half of the race.  But when we put on our final set of tires, they were a little old and I don't think we had as much speed as some of the other guys in the final laps.  The team is doing a great job.  Ever since we came over to Honda [at Indianapolis], we have demonstrated that we have the speed.  We're competitive and I cannot ask for anything more.  If we keep doing it every race, then I will be happy."

Roger Griffiths (Technical Director, Honda Performance Development) on today's race:  "Early in the race, several Honda teams demonstrated their strength as we ran 1-2-3, and it was great to see Alex [Tagliani] leading in front of his home-country crowd.  So, once again we were quite quick, but unfortunately unable to convert that speed into a race victory, and that is disappointing.  Taku [Sato] demonstrated great maturity throughout the race today, especially in the way he attacked Helio [Castroneves] during the final laps without taking unnecessary risks.  It also was interesting to see how the 'push-to-pass' strategies all played out today, and it was a trouble-free weekend from a reliability standpoint.  Now, we head to one of our most important races of the year, the Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio, and we're looking forward to producing a strong performance for our many associates who will be there." 

For photographs from today's race, go to:
http://www.sportssystems.com/hosting/display.cfm?key=101635

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