Monday, September 3, 2012

Indycar Title Now Two Man Battle

Season points leader Will Power
It's hard for me to believe that it's already been four weeks since shooting the Indycar race at Mid Ohio Sports Car Course, and the season is now down to just one race with two drivers left standing toe to toe for the season championship:  Will Power and Ryan Hunter-Reay. The last four weeks have been a whirlwind for me as my new teaching job has turned out to be every bit the challenge I thought it would be - that  job started two days after we got back from Mid Ohio. As a result, I have had to satisfy my need for speed with the television and internet coverage of the two most recent Indycar races. Power's teammate at Penske, Ryan Brisoce, was gifted a win at Sonoma when Power got stuck in traffic during a late race yellow and gave up the lead in a race where it looked like he was going to run away and hide from the competition. Then Baltimore's unforgiving street circuit saw Hunter-Reay snooker Briscoe on a late restart to win and cut Power's points lead to just 17 with only the 500 miler at Fontana California's Auto Club Speedway left on the schedule.

Ryan Hunter-Reay wants the title
It now all comes down to September 15th on a 2-mile oval track, one on which Power has never raced. Not only has RHR won the last two Indycar oval races this year (Milwaukee and Iowa), he's got the hot hand right now heading to the finale. Before the season started, I had picked Scott Dixon to win the 2012 championship and a late season charge got him in contention but he's racing for second now. I also speculated that the team which came to grips the quickest with the new Dallara DW12 chassis would have the best chance for the season title. Power has been untouchable on road courses with multiple (and apparently easy) pole positions, so Penske knows how to get the job done. Hunter-Reay's Andretti Autosport team has also done a nice job when it counted, and owner Michael Andretti excitedly said "we're going to win this thing" after RHR's Baltimore victory, so they are brimming with confidence. Helio Castroneves is third in points currently but cannot win the title after a season of inconsistent results, but you can bet he will be doing all he can to help Power at Fontana.

Will Power has excelled on Indycar road courses
The track at Fontana is the site of the all time fastest Indycar race in history so it will be interesting to see if the new turbo powered cars can set a new standard. They will need to run caution free to do it. Fontana was originally built and owned by Roger Penske and is modeled after Michigan International Speedway, although the banking is not quite as high at Fontana. Will the Captain have a few tricks up his sleeve to vault Power to his first Indycar championship after two heartbreaking near-misses? 

Ryan Hunter-Reay has been Indycar's king of ovals in 2012
Or will the Andretti onslaught continue and crown a new oval-meister for the 2012 season with Hunter-Reay? Who knows? But this is what makes the racing in the IZOD Indycar Series so exciting. Although I have not been able to shoot as many Indycar races this year as I would have liked, my heart is with them and all my friends at the racetracks whenever they race. The night of the Indycar finale, I will be shooting for ARCA at Salem Speedway, so I will have to rely on the dvr to capture the excitement for me to watch when I get home. It will be hear before you know, and it won't be long before my friends start hearing this from me:  "Is it May yet?" Stay tuned.
RHR greets fans at Mid Ohio
Will Power was all business at Mid Ohio