Sam Schmidt Motorsports driver Alex Tagliani, driving the No. 77 Bowers & Wilkins Honda/Dallara/Firestone car, bounced back from a mid-race accident to finish seventh in the inaugural Baltimore Grand Prix Sunday.
It was a grueling race for Tagliani and the rest of the IZOD IndyCar Series field as they battled each other and the new 2.4-mile, 12-turn Streets of Baltimore circuit under oppressive heat and humidity. Tagliani climbed from the car and displayed massive blisters on his palms and fingers after the race.
Though he qualified 21st, Tagliani started 19th after the 28-car grid was adjusted after a terrifying crash in the Sunday morning warm-up involving Penske Racing’s three-time Indianapolis 500 winner Helio Castroneves and KV Racing’s Tony Kanaan. A stuck throttle on Kanaan’s car launched the Brazlian over the top of Castroneves’ car at the fastest section of the track approaching turn one. Though both were visibly shaken from the accident, neither was injured and both started the race in back-up cars at the rear of the field.
Tagliani also had his share of drama today as he was involved in an IndyCar logjam in turn nine caused by a multi-car crash. The nose of the Bowers & Wilkins car was damaged and needed to be replaced after the incident. Under a normal yellow flag stop, the SSM crew changed all four tires, fueled the car with Ethanol and replaced the damaged nose.
“We did a good job, recovering from the incident and changing a nose,” said Tagliani. “The team just did a really good job in their pit stops today. We got slowed down early on by a couple of slower cars. That probably cost us the chance to be in the top five. I think the change in the set-up before the race and then the nose change in the race shows the determination of the team. It shows you can never give up in a racing and when we have a good car, we can run up front.”
SSM’s second team car this weekend, the No. 17 Snowball Express AFS/SSM Honda/Dallara/Firestone car driven by young British driver Martin Plowman, registered an encouraging 11th place finish. It was just the third IndyCar Series start for Plowman,
Will Power won the Baltimore Grand Prix from the pole today in dominating fashion and used the victory to climb within five points of series leader Dario Franchitti. It was Power’s sixth win of the season and the his 15th overall in the IndyCar Series
Newman/Haas Racing’s Oriol Servia held off an aggressive Kanaan in the closing laps to finish second. Kanaan followed in third, while Franchitti and his Ganassi Racing teammate Scott Dixon rounded out the top-five, while Danica Patrick, Tagliani, Ryan Hunter-Reay, Vitor Meira and Graham Rahal comprised the remainder of the top-10.
There was two caution periods for a total of 16 laps, and there were seven lead changes among five drivers. Seven drivers failed to finish the 75-lap race.
With 14 of the 17 IndyCar Series races in the books, Franchitti leads the points championship with 507. Power is second with 502, while Dixon is third with 430.
With his seventh place finish, Tagliani climbed four spots to twelfth in the standings.
Next up for the IZOD IndyCar Series is the Indy Japan 300 in Motegi, Japan. The race broadcast for the Motegi race starts at 11:30 p.m. EDT with TV coverage provided by Versus.
Date: Sept. 4, 2011
Event: Baltimore Grand Prix (Round 14 of 17)
Series: IZOD IndyCar Series
Location: Streets of Baltimore (2.4-mile, 12-turn road course)
Start/Finish: 19th/7th (Running, completed 75 of 75 laps)
Winner: Will Power of Penske Racing