Somehow, in the blink of an eye, we have reached the quarter-way mark of this IZOD IndyCar Series season. Sunday's race in Sao Paulo was the fourth race of the year, and for the fourth time this season, Roger Penske's driver won. Will Power has now won the last three races--this one in a more dominant fashion than the previous two.
Aside from the familiar victor, the Sao Paulo race did not quite proceed as anticipated. Despite an extremely ominous weather forecast, the race itself never saw enough precipitation to warrant rain tires. The actual race itself seemed to lag a bit from the great race we had at Long Beach, but part of that could be the challenges of working a Band-TV feed from a studio in Indianapolis.
Here are some other notes and thoughts from the Itaipava Sao Paulo Indy 300:
-Let's just take a minute and acknowledge that Will Power is on as dominant a run as we'll see in the sport? At various times Sunday, he made it look easy at times against competition such as Dario Franchitti and Ryan Hunter-Reay. Of course, Power will be the first to tell you it's nothing of the sort, but right now it appears to be Will Power's world--we're all just living in it.
-Ryan Hunter-Reay's podium was a nice coda to his INDYCAR 36 appearance, and his second appearance in the Top 3 this season. RHR's performing at a high level this season, and if anyone is going to catch Power in one of these race, it seems as if he'd be a prime candidate to do it.
-One race after seeing a P3 dashed on the closing lap, Takuma Sato finally grabbed his first IICS podium with a tremendous move to pass Helio Castroneves on the late restart. After early-season mechanical woes, Sato has looked quite sharp, and one of Honda's best hopes for the rest of the season.
-Ed Carpenter again did not qualify well for a street course. However, during the race itself, Carpenter drove exceedingly well, laying down some solid lap times and running as high as the Top 10 before being spun by Ana Beatriz. The results won't show it, but Ed Carpenter Racing's hard work in this area has begun to pay off.
-Ana Beatriz also had a nice race, but ran into a late pile-up and was penalized heavily for avoidable contact. It was a rough ending to a race where Bia gave the home crowd plenty to cheer for.
(On that note, Helio was the top-finishing Brazilian in P4, and Rubens Barrichello worked his way back up to P10).
-Congrats to Eric Hall of anotherindycarblog, who ended up winning our Last Driver Standing competition by choosing Ryan Hunter-Reay to finish in the Top 10. With the late pile-up dooming the chances of Tony Kanaan and Simon Pagenaud to do the same, Eric emerges a champion of the INDYCAR bloggerati.
-Other Notes: Oriol Servia gave Lotus a solid send-off from Dreyer and Reinbold, persevering through a brutal weekend for a P11. It will, of course, be the last Lotus-powered DRR entry of the year...our Engine Power Rankings have been updated, and Chevy continues to lengthen its lead...Josef Newgarden has been beaten around the track like a punching bag the next two weeks, but his performance so far still makes this team one to watch while transitioning to ovals like Indy...
With Sao Paulo complete, it's time to change gears in a big way for the Indianapolis 500. Between the Michael Shank Racing situation, two teams changing engines, and the chance of plenty of drama right around the corner, we're not going to have any shortage of items to discuss. I don't know about you, but I am definitely ready for May to begin.