SAO PAULO, Brazil (Sunday, April 29, 2012) – Will Power hopes a shower of April victories can lead to a quart of milk in May.

The Team Penske driver won the Itaipava Sao Paulo Indy 300 presented by Nestle to score his third consecutive victory of the season and the third in a row at the Anhembi circuit.

Power, driving the No. 12 Verizon Team Penske car, held off Hunter-Reay on a Lap 71 restart and won by 0.9045 of a second. Takuma Sato, who started 25th because of an unapproved Honda engine change and overcame a Lap 12 pit lane speed violation penalty, earned his first IZOD IndyCar Series podium finish.

Power is the first driver since Scott Dixon in 2007 to win three consecutive races (Watkins Glen, Nashville, Mid-Ohio).

Power inherited the point when Dixon pitted under caution on Lap 64, held off Hunter-Reay on the Lap 67 restart, which quickly turned into a Turn 1 parking lot that collected, among others, Dixon. Recognizing possibly his final opportunity to overtake Power, Hunter-Reay moved to the outside in Turn 1 of the Lap 71 green flag.

Helio Castroneves overtook front-row starter Dario Franchitti on that restart to finish fourth. Franchitti’s No. 10 Lexar Media car for Target Chip Ganassi Racing was bumped from behind on a Lap 26 restart in Turn 1 to drop to 22nd.

James Hinchcliffe, JR Hildebrand and Charlie Kimball — rookies in 2011 — finished ahead of E.J. Viso in ninth and Barrichello in 10th.

Qualifying lap times for the No. 18 Sonny’s BBQ car have been voided by INDYCAR following post-race technical inspection on April 28.

Pursuant to Rule 14.4.13.3 of the 2012 IZOD IndyCar Series rulebook: As requested by INDYCAR each Car must run either the cameras or dummy equipment as supplied by BSI/INDYCAR.

Justin Wilson, who had qualified sixth for the Itaipava São Paulo Indy 300 presented by Nestle in the Dale Coyne Racing car, will start from the rear of the 26-car field April 29.

Advertisements

INDIANAPOLIS (April 17, 2012) – INDYCAR officials have placed IZOD IndyCar Series driver Graham Rahal on probation through the next six race events for blocking and initiating avoidable contact during the race on the Long Beach temporary street circuit April 15.

On Lap 22 of 85-lap race, Rahal made contact with the No. 26 car driven by Marco Andretti in Turn 8, which launched Andretti’s car into the air before it made contact with the tire barrier. Andretti climbed from the car without assistance from the Holmatro Safety Team.

“Due to the inability of the No. 38 car to continue the race, a review of the on-track actions of Graham Rahal became a post-race issue,” said Beaux Barfield, INDYCAR president of competition and IZOD IndyCar Series Race Director.  “All stewards have reviewed the incident and have decided that the on-track actions of Graham warranted probation because of driving that endangers on-track safety and adversely affects competition.”

The probation period will end following the IZOD IndyCar Series event June 23 at Iowa Speedway. If the improvements are not met, INDYCAR may impose other penalties at its discretions.

Per Rule 9.3.2 of the IZOD IndyCar Series rulebook, a driver must not alter his/her racing line based on the actions of pursuing drivers to inhibit or prevent passing. Blocking will result in a minimum of a black flag “drive through” penalty.

Rule 9.3.3 states a competitor must not initiate or attempt to initiate avoidable contact that results in the interruption of another competitor’s lap time or track position.

The probation penalty may be protested pursuant to the rulebook.

* Press Release from INDYCAR

FONTANA, Calif. (Tuesday, April 17, 2012) – Tristan Vautier entered the Firestone Indy Lights test at Auto Club Speedway knowing he had a lot to learn.

The Sam Schmidt Motorsports driver got his first lesson on his first oval lap around the 2-mile oval.

“The first time I got out there, I could hear the wind in my helmet and my helmet was moving around because I didn’t know you had to have a wicker on,” said Vautier, driver of the No. 77 Mazda Road to Indy/Sam Schmidt Motorsports car. “(Auto Club Speedway is) a really big oval and it’s easier to drive a Firestone Indy Lights car on an oval than a (Star) Mazda. It’s more stable and doesn’t move around as much. It was good. I need to keep learning a lot of things.”

Vautier was one of eight rookies to participate in the one-day test at the track which will host the Firestone Indy Lights season-finale in September.  Carlos Munoz of Andretti Autosport led the test with a lap of 38.0635 seconds, 189.158 mph, set in the morning session in the No. 26 Team Dialy-Ser car. His teammate Sebastian Saavedra led the afternoon session with a lap of 38.4536 seconds, 187.239 mph in the No. 27 Team AFS car.

Firestone Indy Lights race director Tony Cotman came away impressed with the rookies and the veterans who turned more than 800 total laps.

“For the rookies, it was a bit of a difficult learning curve, particularly for those who had minimal oval experience,” said Cotman, who will decide the oval status of the rookie drivers following the Indianapolis Open Test on May 11. “Today was all about seat time and all in all I hope they came away with good experience and they understand what they need to do. When we get to Indianapolis, that will be the test to see what they’ve learned.”

There was one incident in the test as rookie Darryl Wills, who turned 83 laps in the morning session, saw his test cut short when he hit the SAFER Barrier in Turn 4 with the right side of his car. Wills was uninjured in the crash.

“It’s a shame, really,” he said. The car was doing great and it was going around almost by itself. It just cut loose going into the corner.”

Still it was a good learning day for Wills and the other rookies.

“It was different from anything I’ve done,” Wills said. “This track is really easy to drive and the ovals are a lot of fun. You have to be very precise with your line and I enjoyed bringing the car in with the (anti-roll) bars. That was the first time I’ve really done that. Seeing what that does and watching the lap times improve was a lot of fun.”