2011 IndyCar Rd.15--Bridgestone Grand Prix of Japan

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2011 IndyCar Rd.15--Bridgestone Grand Prix of Japan

Post by mlittle » Sat Sep 17, 2011 10:17 am


Race 16 of 18

Race - Indy Japan- The Final

Location - Twin Ring Motegi (Road Course) - Motegi, Tochigi, Japan

--Date - Sunday, September 18th - 12:00 AM
--Time & TV Schedule - Pre-Race Show-Saturday, September 17th - 11:00PM , Green Flag - 12:00AM (Sunday, Sept.18th) - Versus
--Course Type - 2.98 Mile Road Course
--Distance - 63 Laps / 187.74 Miles

--Practice Sessions -
Thursday, September 15th - 2:00PM -3:15PM Eastern
Friday, September 16th - 8:00AM-9:00AM & 11:00AM-12:00PM Eastern
Saturday, September 17th -Warm Up Session - 8:00AM - 8:30AM Eastern
--Qualifications - Friday, September 16th - 2:00PM -3:20PM Eastern
--2010 Pole Sitter - #3 Helio Castroneves 54.1803(Time) / 201.992 mph (On Oval Course)
--2010 Winner - #3 Helio Castroneves

**Note - All times listed in Eastern Time, Motegi, Japan is 13 hours ahead.
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Post by mlittle » Sat Sep 17, 2011 10:18 am

TrackMap, Twin Ring Motegi Road Course

Bridgestone Grand Prix of Japan Entry List
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Dixon Leads Friday Practice At Motegi

Post by mlittle » Sun Sep 18, 2011 12:55 pm


---Teams spent most of Saturday morning on the 2.9-mile, 14-turn Motegi road course working through race setups, and after a relatively slow start to their weekend on Friday, Target Chip Ganassi Racing drivers Scott Dixon and Dario Franchitti comfortably out-paced their rivals at Team Penske.

Franchitti led for almost the entire session, but a hot lap by Dixon--just as the checkered flag waved--put the Kiwi on top of the charts with a 1:38.771, appreciably faster than the 1:39.4745 set by Will Power on Friday.

Setting his best lap on Lap 3, Franchitti ended the session with a quick time of 1:39.168. Team Penske's Power close behind in third with a lap of 1:39.309.

With a Ganassi 1-2 in place, Ryan Briscoe made it a Penske 3-4, completing the session a scant .083 seconds behind his teammate.

Hideki Mutoh, driving for the Sam Schmidt Motorsports/AFS Racing outfit, impressed yet again by running fifth with a lap of 1:39.493.

Of the remaining drivers, Oriol Servia improved from a dismal showing on Friday to run seventh, Mike Conway led the Andretti Autosport team in ninth, and E.J. Viso finished 10th, the first of the three KV Racing entries.

Viso's teammates, Tony Kanaan (24th) and Takuma Sato (26th), looked lost, and have one more hour of practice at 12:00 p.m. to prepare for today's 3:00 p.m. qualifying session.

Rank, Driver , Gap, Best Lap
1 Scott Dixon 0.0000 1:38.7710
2 Dario Franchitti 0.3976 1:39.1686
3 Will Power 0.5380 1:39.3090
4 Ryan Briscoe 0.6218 1:39.3928
5 Hideki Mutoh 0.7222 1:39.4932
6 Sebastien Bourdais 0.7666 1:39.5376
7 Oriol Servia 0.7901 1:39.5611
8 Graham Rahal 0.7926 1:39.5636
9 Mike Conway 0.8077 1:39.5787
10 EJ Viso 0.8355 1:39.6065
11 Charlie Kimball 0.9619 1:39.7329
12 James Hinchcliffe 1.0649 1:39.8359
13 Vitor Meira 1.0664 1:39.8374
14 Giorgio Pantano 1.1268 1:39.8978
15 Joao Paulo de Oliveira 1.1536 1:39.9246
16 JR Hildebrand 1.1711 1:39.9421
17 Ryan Hunter-Reay 1.2133 1:39.9843
18 Helio Castroneves 1.2150 1:39.9860
19 Simona de Silvestro 1.2336 1:40.0046
20 Alex Tagliani 1.2457 1:40.0167
21 James Jakes 1.2803 1:40.0513
22 Marco Andretti 1.3034 1:40.0744
23 Ana Beatriz 1.4281 1:40.1991
24 Tony Kanaan 1.4438 1:40.2148
25 Danica Patrick 1.5804 1:40.3514
26 Takuma Sato 1.6643 1:40.4353
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Dixon Takes Pole At Motegi

Post by mlittle » Sun Sep 18, 2011 12:57 pm


---Target Chip Ganassi Racing's Scott Dixon set pole for Sunday's Indy Japan The Final, leading Team Penske's Will Power by just .0276 seconds.

Power's quest to earn the one-point on offer for pole--to cut his championship deficit from five points to four--hit a snag when Dixon found his groove in the Firestone Fast Six and denied Power his eighth pole of the year.

Dixon, who was untouchable on the Mid-Ohio road course in August, looked equally as determined on Motegi's winding circuit, posting a lap of 1:38.3918 to stave off Team Penske's three-pronged attack.

"To be honest I was up on my quick lap from Q1 by two or three tenths but then I kept losing it in the last section here in Turns 12, 13 and 14," said Dixon, who believes the gap to Power could have been closer to a quarter-second. "It was a bit frustrating but we just got it. I think it was by a few hundredths or a few thousandths of a second. We’re on the pole and that’s what counts. It feels very special to be on the pole for the last race here at Motegi."

Power used four laps to Dixon's five, starting the session later than the rest as he sought clear space to run his laps. He came close to Dixon, but the Kiwi bettered his pole lap on his final tour, cementing pole for the Ganassi team.

“We were struggling for sure in the second practice today, but we were able to get back on track and to wind up qualifying second is great," said Power. "I’m really kind of disappointed that we weren’t able to put that last lap together and make a good run for pole. I didn’t do what I needed to do in the last few turns, but it’s still a good result.”

Behind Power, another Ganassi car looked strong in the Fast Six, but it wasn't Dixon's teammate, Dario Franchitti. Fresh off a front row start at Baltimore, Graham Rahal followed his second starting spot on the street course with a top 3 run qualifying at Motegi.

"I'm really happy with the way the No. 38 Service Central car is performing and really happy to be starting in the top three for the second consecutive race," he said. "Hopefully, we can put it all together and finish right up there because a lot of the guys we're fighting in points are starting further back than us, so it would be nice to gain a lot of good points tomorrow."

Although he missed out on the pole, Power will have plenty of support tomorrow with teammate Ryan Briscoe (fourth) and Helio Castroneves (sixth) adding a nice Penske buffer between the Aussie and Franchitti.

"It was another huge performance by Team Penske today,” said Briscoe. “Here on a brand new circuit in Motegi, this really shows how much preparation and hard work our engineers have done back home. Qualifying fourth is really good for us on the Hitachi Team Penske car. I was really looking for a little bit more in the Fast Six, but our tires were just going away at the end there. It was another good effort by the No. 6 car guys to get into the Fast Six. We've really been working hard on our road course setups and it definitely shows in our results."

The final member of the Fast Six, Newman/Haas Racing rookie James Hinchcliffe, ran fifth on Saturday and continues to make his mark as one of the most talented drivers--regardless of age or experience--in the field.

"Starting up front is always important in these races and I think being on the inside is going to be important for the start," he said. "I would probably rather be fifth than fourth to be honest so we’ll see how it all plays out in the first lap. It looks like its going to be a tough track to pass but a good starting position helps and you are running up there with the pros so there is less likelihood of incidents. We’re just looking forward to a good consistent race, no mistakes and we will just try to bring it home a good result.”
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Dixon Leads Motegi Warmup

Post by mlittle » Sun Sep 18, 2011 12:58 pm


---Polesitter Scott Dixon led the 30-minute Sunday morning warmup ahead of today's 63-lap Indy Japan The Final event.

Dixon headed Team Penske's Helio Castroneves and Dario Franchitti, who ended the session just .059 seconds behind his teammate.

James Jakes continued his impressive march in Motegi, backing up his eighth-place qualifying position with the fourth-fastest time in warmup.

Sebastien Bourdais, Jakes' Dale Coyne Racing teammate, rounded out the top 5.

Rank, Driver, Gap, Best Lap

1 Scott Dixon 0.0000 1:39.8282
2 Helio Castroneves 0.0153 1:39.8435
3 Dario Franchitti 0.0593 1:39.8875
4 James Jakes 0.2329 1:40.0611
5 Sebastien Bourdais 0.2532 1:40.0814
6 Ryan Briscoe 0.3073 1:40.1355
7 Charlie Kimball 0.3595 1:40.1877
8 Ryan Hunter-Reay 0.3844 1:40.2126
9 Graham Rahal 0.4313 1:40.2595
10 Will Power 0.4516 1:40.2798
11 Joao Paulo de Oliveira 0.4647 1:40.2929
12 Giorgio Pantano 0.4830 1:40.3112
13 Marco Andretti 0.6099 1:40.4381
14 Hideki Mutoh 0.6293 1:40.4575
15 Alex Tagliani 0.6799 1:40.5081
16 Mike Conway 0.6907 1:40.5189
17 James Hinchcliffe 0.7894 1:40.6176
18 EJ Viso 0.8087 1:40.6369
19 Oriol Servia 0.8181 1:40.6463
20 Takuma Sato 0.9189 1:40.7471
21 Tony Kanaan 1.0698 1:40.8980
22 Ana Beatriz 1.1723 1:41.0005
23 JR Hildebrand 1.3858 1:41.2140
24 Danica Patrick 1.3901 1:41.2183
25 Simona de Silvestro 1.6285 1:41.4567
26 Vitor Meira 1.8421 1:41.6703
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Dixon Dominates Motegi Finale

Post by mlittle » Wed Sep 28, 2011 4:21 pm

(from 17-18 Sept. 2011)

----On Lap 1, the gap to Will Power was .918 seconds. On Lap 10 it was 1.4 seconds. By Lap 45 it was an even 2.0 seconds, and on Lap 55 it was 4.5 seconds. By Lap 57, the final green lap before a yellow came out for Ryan Hunter-Reay spin, the gap was out to 6.2 seconds.

Simply put, Target Chip Ganassi Racing’s Scott Dixon had Power and the rest of the field covered during Sunday’s Indy Japan The Final on the Motegi road course.

The Kiwi, who also won in convincing style at the Mid-Ohio road course race in August, led the 63-lap Motegi race at will, keeping Power at bay, despite intense pressure from the Aussie on two restarts.

The measure of Dixon's advantage was revealed on the final restart, where Power, with an almighty charge down the inside, was held in place as Dixon took the long way around the outside of the right-hand corner. At a place where most cars spun, Dixon's car stuck to the track and marched away from Power.

"I have to give a lot of credit to Team Target; they gave me a fantastic car," said Dixon. "In some sections of the race I was just cruising trying to save fuel. Great pit stops and fuel strategy, and everything was flawless. [Will Power] was a real handful, especially at the end. [I’m] just happy we had a fantastic weekend.”

Dixon crossed the finish line 3.4 seconds ahead of Power, who took control of the championship after Dixon’s teammate, Dario Franchitti, finished a distant eighth.

Five points arrears coming into Motegi, Power pulled ahead by 11 points on Sunday and also earned his second consecutive Mario Andretti Road Course trophy.

“At no point in time was I settling for second," said Power of his determined effort. "I was giving it everything I got. If we can finish second today and win the championship, that’s alright by me.”

It wasn't exciting to watch, but for a driver who was doing all he could to bridge the gap to second in the championship, Dixon maximized his points haul by earning pole, leading the most laps and winning the race. He now sits 48 points behind Franchitti.

Franchitti's day took a turn for the worse when he caused a mess in Turn 1 on the Lap 25 restart when he tipped Team Penske's Ryan Briscoe into a spin, who then nudged Franchitti's teammate Graham Rahal into a spin of his own.

The Ganassi team wasn't done suffering quite yet, as Charlie Kimball was forced onto the dirt while taking avoiding action.

With Rahal, Kimball and Franchitti running inside the top 6 at the time, the Scot's costly error would ruin the chances of Rahal who finished 13th, Briscoe who finished 21st and Kimball who came home 22nd after running as high as fourth.

"The incident was totally my mistake, totally my mistake," admitted Franchitti. "I did a lot hard work to get from ninth to fifth, and I'd been saving fuel the whole first stint. I made risky move on the restart. I thought there was a gap and Ryan [Briscoe] was going wide on the entry and that was that. It was just a stupid move and we had a great fight back from 25th. Great job by the guys in the pits and I drove as hard as I knew how. I shouldn't have put us in that position. We still have it all to play for, but I keep making it more difficult."

After the cars running third through sixth suffered a setback, the entire field shifted forward, giving a few drivers who had been slightly out of the frame a chance to shine.

Marco Andretti, who was impressively fast on the slower Firestone Blacks while he was surrounded by drivers on Reds, soldiered home to finish third, his best result since winning at Iowa.

"It was a good day for the Venom crew - they did a great job in the pits," he said. "We had to do our part today and push when we had to push. We made a bit of a gamble with the tire choice and I think it paid off. We were able to be on the reds when it counted and were able to push when we needed."

Prior to the race's final caution period on Lap 57, Andretti had fallen more than 20 seconds behind Dixon and Power, and after the Lap 61 restart, the third-generation driver held off a determined Alex Tagliani. Tagliani's fourth-place finish matched his best result of the season at the first Texas race, and after starting 15th, the French-Canadian looked more competitive than he's been in quite some time.

Oriol Servia, who marched from 16th to run as high as third, faded on the final restart but still salvaged a solid fifth-place finish.

"To finish fifth after starting 16th is a great result for the Telemundo team," he said. "It was important for the point standings because everyone we are fighting for the top-five had a bad race. On the last restart we were fourth to Marco and I really wanted a podium but in trying to get third I fell back to fifth so I am just a little mad with myself because I didn't get it. I almost had it!"

Sebastien Bourdais, making his final IndyCar start of the season, registered his fourth sixth-place finish of the year, despite barging Hunter-Reay off the road and bringing out the yellow on Lap 57.

Bourdais' Dale Coyne Racing teammate, rookie driver James Jakes, had his most competitive outing of the year. As the biggest beneficiary of Franchitti's mistake, the Brit looked comfortable running fourth, but gave away what would have been the best finish of his career after stalling during a pit stop on Lap 42. He was eventually credited with 13th.

Helio Castroneves was originally listed in seventh, but INDYCAR officials penalized the Brazilian for passing JR Hildebrand under a standing yellow on the final lap, dropping the three-time Indy 500 winner to 22nd, the last car on the lead lap.

After the race, Castroneves came unhinged, using Twitter to vent his raw feelings toward the series.

"It is sad to see one person being responsible for bringing down an entire series," he wrote. "Brian Banhart is inconsistent and even changes rule book when is convenient for him, and his own personal interests. In the same race in International television he penalizes some but not others. Making the famous @paultracy 's words mine : Brian Barnhart is a circus clown! Very disappointed for finishing 7th. and being put to 22nd. This is just ABSURD !!! Just expressing my feelings right now!"

Although Castroneves' outburst was done via social media, rather than in public and on television like Edmonton in 2009, the veteran driver will likely be writing the series a check for his transgression.

Castroneves' penalty promoted Hildebrand to seventh, giving the Rookie of the Year leader his best road or street course result of 2011.

"We all worked together this weekend to get a car that wasn't necessarily the fastest in the field, but one that was easy to sit back and rip off some laps," he said. "And for today's race, that's what you needed. The National Guard boys gave me a good car and we were able to be smart about where we were at on the track and pick points to be aggressive."

Although Franchitti made a lot of extra work for himself at Motegi, he put on the drive of the race after INDYCAR moved him to 25th--the back of the line--on the Lap 29 restart.

At a track he reckoned passing would be a challenge, Franchitti carved his way through the field, passing one car per lap during stretches of the race. Attrition and alternate fuel strategies by some of his rivals helped his cause, but his move from 25th to eighth came from hard work and a need to minimize the damage done to his championship aspirations.

Andretti Autosport's Mike Conway moved from 20th to ninth, and Japanese hero Takuma Sato completed the top 10.

With the series moving to ovals for the final two rounds, and with Power sitting on a slim 11-point championship lead, the race to winning the IZOD IndyCar Series title is far from over.

As Power proved last year, and as Franchitti reaffirmed at Motegi, one small misstep is all it takes for control of the championship to change hands.

Power is much stronger on ovals in 2011, but is he good enough to keep Franchitti in his place?

The first answer to that question will arrive in two weeks at Kentucky.

Results Sunday of the Indy Japan The Final IZOD IndyCar Series event on the 2.983 mile Twin Ring Motegi Road Course, with order of finish, starting position in parentheses, driver, chassis-engine, laps completed and reason out (if any):

1. (1) Scott Dixon, Dallara-Honda, 63, Running
2. (2) Will Power, Dallara-Honda, 63, Running
3. (10) Marco Andretti, Dallara-Honda, 63, Running
4. (15) Alex Tagliani, Dallara-Honda, 63, Running
5. (16) Oriol Servia, Dallara-Honda, 63, Running
6. (14) Sebastien Bourdais, Dallara-Honda, 63, Running
7. (19) JR Hildebrand, Dallara-Honda, 63, Running
8. (9) Dario Franchitti, Dallara-Honda, 63, Running
9. (20) Mike Conway, Dallara-Honda, 63, Running
10. (11) Takuma Sato, Dallara-Honda, 63, Running
11. (23) Danica Patrick, Dallara-Honda, 63, Running
12. (3) Graham Rahal, Dallara-Honda, 63, Running
13. (8) James Jakes, Dallara-Honda, 63, Running
14. (26) Simona de Silvestro, Dallara-Honda, 63, Running
15. (5) James Hinchcliffe, Dallara-Honda, 63, Running
16. (18) Giorgio Pantano, Dallara-Honda, 63, Running
17. (25) Tony Kanaan, Dallara-Honda, 63, Running
18. (22) Hideki Mutoh, Dallara-Honda, 63, Running
19. (21) Ana Beatriz, Dallara-Honda, 63, Running
20. (4) Ryan Briscoe, Dallara-Honda, 63, Running
21. (13) EJ Viso, Dallara-Honda, 63, Running
22. (6) Helio Castroneves, Dallara-Honda, 63, Running
23. (7) Charlie Kimball, Dallara-Honda, 62, Off Course
24. (17) Ryan Hunter-Reay, Dallara-Honda, 62, Running
25. (24) Vitor Meira, Dallara-Honda, 61, Off Course
26. (12) Joao Paulo de Oliveira, Dallara-Honda, 19, Mechanical

Race Statistics
Winners average speed: 96.635
Time of Race: 01:56:41.0107
Margin of victory: 3.4375 seconds
Cautions: 3 for 8 laps
Lead changes: 2 among 2 drivers
Lap Leaders:
Dixon 1-20, Power 21, Dixon 22-63
Point Standings: Power 542, Franchitti 531, Dixon 483, Servia 397, Kanaan 353, Briscoe 340, Andretti 327, Hunter-Reay 317, Rahal 302, Castroneves 302.
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