The 2013 Grand Prix of Baltimore will go down as the wildest race of the 2013 IndyCar season thus far. The win went to Simon Pagenaud, who piloted his No. 77 Schmidt-Hamilton HP Motorsports Chevy through a number of crashes to claim the top spot on the podium.
It was the second career win for Pagenaud, both coming this year. The 29-year-old Frenchman became the third driver to win in three years on the bumpy, challenging street course that runs along Baltimore’s Inner Harbor.
Joining him on the podium were Josef Newgarden, who was second for the best finish of his career, and Sebastien Bourdais, who took third.
The story of the day was the heat and the crazy driving that cost two teams challenging for the IndyCar title valuable points. For the second race in a row, it was a battle between Scott Dixon and Will Power that dominated the post-race conversation. This was a carryover from last week’s race at Senoma that Powers won.
Last week, the race leader Dixon pulled in for his final pit stop with victory nearly in his grasp. When he left a few seconds later, two members of Will Power’s crew were sprawled on the asphalt, a tire bouncing wildly in his wake.
That set up this battle in Baltimore. On lap 53, Power cut in front of Dixon, causing him to crash into the wall. At the same time, Dixon clipped the rear of Power’s car and the result was both cars being pushed way back in the field.
There were words exchanged by both drivers in the pits, but neither wanted to go on the record with what they said to each other. The drivers finished with Power taking the 18th spot and Dixon getting 19th place.
Points leader Helio Castroneveves stayed out of trouble most of the day, finishing ninth and increasing his lead to 49 points over Dixon and to 70 points over the hard-charging Pagenaud with just three races left in the season.
The final three races will feature a double-header on the streets of Houston coming up October 5 and 6, then the season closes with an oval race race on October 19 in Fontana, California. There is plenty of racing yet to be done, but you have to like Castroneveves to win the title.