IZOD IndyCar Series - Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama Preview

From The Sports Network

DATE: Sunday, April 1st
SITE: Barber Motorsports Park (2003) -- Birmingham, Alabama
TRACK: 2.38-mile, 17-turn - (1,400 ft, Frontstraight; 1,100 ft Backstraight)
TELEVISION: NBC Sports Network
ANNOUNCERS: Bob Jenkins, Jon Beekhuis, Wally Dallenbach
RADIO: IMS Radio Network/SIRIUS XM Satellite
START TIME: 2 p.m. (ET)
RUNNER-UP: Scott Dixon
POLE WINNER: Will Power (Finished 1st)
LAPS: 90
MILES: 214.20
QUALIFYING RECORD: Will Power, 2010 (118.057 m.p.h.)
RACE RECORD: Helio Castroneves, 2010 (106.436 m.p.h.)
2011 Finish
1Will Power16Tony Kanaan24
2Scott Dixon37Helio Castroneves4
3Dario Franchitti78Simon Pagenaud23
4Marco Andretti99Simona de Silvestro13
5Oriol Servia610Charlie Kimball21
2011 Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama Facts and Figures
AVERAGE SPEED: 92.194 m.p.h.
TIME OF RACE: 2 hours, 14 minutes, 42.9523 seconds
MARGIN OF VICTORY: 3.3828 seconds
CAUTION FLAGS: 6 for 20 laps
LEAD CHANGES: 0 among 1 driver (Will Power 1-90)
POLE WINNER: Will Power (115.878 m.p.h.)
FASTEST LAP: Scott Dixon, 112.094 m.p.h., Lap 73
Past Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama Winners (Starting Position) Car -- Speed
2011 -- Will Power (1st) -- Dallara-Honda -- 92.194 m.p.h.
2010 -- Helio Castroneves (3rd) -- Dallara-Honda -- 106.436 m.p.h.
Past Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama Pole Winners (Finish)
2011 -- Will Power -- 1st
2010 -- Will Power -- 3rd
Last Race Results
RACE: Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg (March 25th)
SITE: Streets of St. Petersburg -- St. Petersburg, Florida
MILES: 180.6
LAPS: 100
WINNER: Helio Castroneves
RUNNER-UP: Scott Dixon
THIRD: Ryan Hunter-Reay
FOURTH: James Hinchcliffe
FIFTH: Ryan Briscoe
POLE WINNER: Will Power (Finished 7th)
TIME OF RACE: 1 hour, 59 minutes, 50.9863 seconds
AVERAGE SPEED: 90.113 m.p.h.
MARGIN OF VICTORY: 5.5292 seconds
CAUTION FLAGS: 3 for 15 laps
LEAD CHANGES: 9 among 7 drivers
LAP LEADERS: Will Power 1-11; Ryan Briscoe 12-20; Scott Dixon 21-36; Takuma
Sato 37-46; Dario Franchitti 47; Scott Dixon 48-68; Helio
Castroneves 69-70; Sato 71; J.R. Hildebrand 72-74; Castroneves
Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama Entry List
CarDriver, HometownCar/Name
2Ryan Briscoe (Sydney, Australia)IZOD/Team Penske
3Helio Castroneves (Sao Paulo, Brz)Shell V-Power/Team Penske
4J.R. Hildebrand (Sausalito, CA)U.S. National Guard/Panther Racing
5E.J. Viso (Caracas, Venezuela)Citgo/KV Racing Technology
6Katherine Legge (Guildford, England)Lotus Cars/Truecar/Lotus-Dragon Rac.
7Sebastien Bourdais (Le Mans,France)Lotus Cars/Lotus-Dragon Racing
8Rubens Barrichello (Sao Paulo, Brz)Brasil Maquinas/KV Racing Technology
9Scott Dixon (Auckland, New Zealand)Target/Chip Ganassi Racing
10Dario Franchitti (Scotland)Target/Chip Ganassi Racing
11Tony Kanaan (Salvador, Brazil)GEICO/KV Racing Technology
12 *Will Power (Toowoomba, Australia)Verizon Wireless/Team Penske
14Mike Conway (Bromley, England)ABC Supply Co./AJ Foyt Enterprises
15Takuma Sato (Tokyo, Japan)Interush/Rahal-Letterman-Lanigan Rac
18Justin Wilson (Sheffield, England)Sonny's Bar B-Q/Dale Coyne Racing
19Jamie Jakes (Leeds, England)Acorn Stairlifts/Dale Coyne Racing
20Ed Carpenter (Indianapolis, IN)Fuzzy's Vodka/Ed Carpenter Racing
22Oriol Servia (Pals, Spain)Lotus Cars/Lotus-Dreyer & Reinbold
26Marco Andretti (Nazareth, PA)Royal Crown Cola/Andretti Autosport
27James Hinchcliffe (Toronto, Canada)GoDaddy.com/Andretti Autosport
28Ryan Hunter-Reay (Boca Raton, FL)DHL/Sun Drop/Andretti Autosport
38Graham Rahal (New Albany, OH)TBC Retail Group/Chip Ganassi Racing
67Josef Newgarden (Nashville, TN)Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing
77Simon Pagenaud (Poitiers, France)Hewlett-Packard/Schmidt Hamilton
78Simona de Silvestro (Switzerland)Entergy/Lotus Cars/Lotus-HVM Racing
83Charlie Kimball (Camarillo, CA)Novo Nordisk/Chip Ganassi Racing
98Alex Tagliani (Lachenaie, Canada)Lotus Cars/Team Barracuda-BHA
* - defending champion.
Leading Contenders (Finish the last two years)
Will Power4thWon
Scott Dixon2nd2nd
Dario Franchitti3rd3rd
Marco Andretti5th4th
Oriol Servia---5th
Tony Kanaan8th6th
Helio CastronevesWon7th
Simon Pagenaud---8th
Simona de Silvestro21st9th
Ryan Hunter-Reay12th14th
Alex Tagliani10th15th
Graham Rahal17th18th
Ryan Briscoe6th21st
James Hinchcliffe---24th
Rubens Barrichello------
Mover of the Week
Charlie Kimball - Started in 22nd position on the grid and finished 9th
Sports Network Selections
Pick to Win - Will Power
Darkhorse - Alex Tagliani
Last Week's Pick to Win (Will Power) - Finished 7th
Last Week's Darkhorse (Oriol Servia) - Finished 16th
Anytime you lead from start to finish, that means you dominated the race.

That was certainly the case last year, as Will Power started and finished first in the Honda Grand Prix of Alabama.

Power started on the pole and led all 90 laps for his seventh career IZOD IndyCar Series win and his 10th overall in major open-wheel racing. He became the first driver to lead wire-to-wire in an IndyCar race since Dario Franchitti did it in August 2009 at Sonoma, CA.

Although he finished runner-up to Franchitti in points for the second straight year. Power recorded a series-high six victories and 11 poles last season. He also posted 12 top-10 finishes in 17 starts.

In last weekend's season-opener in St. Petersburg, FL, Power started on the pole but finished seventh after an early-race pit strategy did not work in his favor.

The IndyCar Series made its inaugural visit to Barber Motorsports Park in Birmingham, AL in 2010, as Helio Castroneves clipped Scott Dixon by less than a second for the win.

Castroneves conserved enough fuel and then held off Dixon during a two-lap shootout to the finish, 0.5702 of a second ahead. Marco Andretti dominated by leading 58 of 90 laps, but Andretti had to make his third and final pit stop with eight laps remaining and therefore handed the lead over to Castroneves, who made just two stops during the race.

A caution for an incident involving rookie Simona de Silvestro set up the green-white-checkered finish. Castroneves won for the 17th time in his IndyCar career. Power, who started on the pole, placed fourth.

Castroneves, who struggled last year with an 11th-place finish in points, got off to a great start this season, picking up the win in St. Petersburg.

Opening in 2003, Barber Motorsports Park has hosted the Grand-Am Sports Car Series and the AMA Superbike Championship. The 2.38-mile road course has 17 flowing turns and features 80 feet of elevation change that challenge drivers and engineers. A 45-foot-wide racing ribbon also makes for patient overtaking opportunities.

No driver has ever won at Barber Motorsports Park and then captured the IndyCar championship in the same season. Only four drivers have won the second race of the season and gone on to claim the series title. They include: Buddy Lazier (2000, Phoenix), Sam Hornish Jr. (2001, Homestead, FL), Tony Kanaan (2004, Phoenix) and Dario Franchitti (2009, Long Beach, CA).

The IZOD IndyCar Series heads west to Long Beach for the April 15 Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach. Mike Conway scored his first IndyCar victory there last year.

03/27 10:55:15 ET

As of March 27, 2012, at 10:55 AM ET
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