There were bumper cars in Baltimore on Sunday. There weren’t many drivers that were able to avoid contact in this race, but the ones that did had a nice result. Simon Pagenaud had some contact throughout the day, but he was able to hold on and capture his second win of the season. It was a wild race that had plenty of drivers and team owners fuming after the checkered flag.
Josef Newgarden had a strong weekend and finished in 2nd place, earning his first ever trip to the podium. Joining Pagenaud and Newgarden on the podium was Sebastien Bourdais, who had an eventful day. Justin Wilson and Simona de Silvestro rounded out the top five. Simona started in 17th position and earned her best career finish on her 25th birthday.
The retirements started early, with the Hondas of Takuma Sato, James Jakes, Dario Franchitti, and Luca Filippi all failing. The real trouble began on lap 44, when defending race winner and series champion Ryan Hunter-Reay had a mechanical issue that ended his day. It was a huge hit for him in the championship standings.
The biggest issue in the race came on a restart with 23 laps to go. Scott Dixon was on the outside of Will Power, ready to make a pass, when he was chopped and put into the wall. Power claimed he did not know that Dixon was there, but there were plenty of people with steam coming out of their ears. The Ganassi/Penske battle has been going on for years, but it has definitely reached a new boiling point over the past two weeks.
Points leader Helio Castroneves had a rough day, but with the unfortunate luck of Dixon and Hunter-Reay, he was able to escape Baltimore with a 9th place finish, and actually gained 10 points on Dixon. Helio has a 49 point lead heading into the next race weekend in Houston.
Pagenaud moved from 5th to 3rd in the championship standings with his win today. He is 70 points behind Helio, and Marco Andretti is 71 points behind Helio in 4th place. Hunter-Reay dropped into 5th place with just 3 races remaining this season.
There are just 2 race weekends left in the 2013 season. Unfortunately the next race is more than a month away. The double-header event in Houston will be run on October 5th and 6th. Saturday’s Shell and Pennzoil Grand Prix of Houston will begin at 3 PM ET, and race 2 on Sunday will start at 1 PM ET, with both races airing on the NBC Sports Network.