Itaipava Sao Paulo Indy 300
Race Report: Itaipava Sao Paulo Indy 300
SAO PAULO, Brazil May 2, 2010 -- “It was not a very good day for the Brazilians,” said Vitor Meira after hearing that his 17th place finish earned him the honor of top-finishing Brazilian in the Itaipava Sao Paulo Indy 300 which concluded Monday morning after thunderstorms forced its postponement.
Unfortunately for Meira, the die was already cast when he ran over debris from Ryan Hunter-Reay’s rear wing after he smacked the wall amidst a sudden downpour in Sunday’s race. The debris cut Meira’s front brake line, giving him only rear wheel brakes which caused him to spin and hit the wall on the rain-soaked track. The race was red-flagged two laps later--too late for Meira but the ABC Supply team got to work to repair the right front and right rear suspension. The race was restarted over two hours later but after several laps under yellow, it was red-flagged again and postponed to Monday.
“It wasn’t the weekend we expected,” Meira said afterwards. “After we crashed, it became an exercise in patience. It was hard with cars all around you because it is so instinctive to race. You have to swallow your pride, brake early and let people by. It was a Buddhist exercise.”
Indeed, Meira set the fourth fastest lap of the race but with little chance of making up two laps, he raced smart and didn’t get in the way of the leaders—many of whom spun on course or brushed the wall but were able to continue without losing a lap.
Will Power won the race which was shortened to a timed event of two hours. Power pitted for fuel on lap 36 which proved to be the winning move as several drivers gambled there would be more cautions which never came. Takuma Sato and Marco Andretti both needed to dash in for a splash of fuel, ending their chance for victory. Graham Rahal spun while running in the top five but didn’t hit anything or get hit as the field filed around him, and he came back to finish second! Ryan Briscoe finished third and Dario Franchitti plowed into a tire barrier but didn’t damage his car and finished fourth ahead of Oriol Servia.
Meira slipped to 12th in the points.
The teams head to Indianapolis for the 100th Anniversary of the Indianapolis 500. Practice for the 500 begins on Saturday, May 14th with Pole Day set for May 21st. The race will be televised on ABC on Sunday, May 29th.
Itaipava Sao Paulo Indy 300 Conclusion Delayed by Rain Until Monday
SAO PAULO, Brazil May 1, 2011—Heavy and persistent rain storms delayed the completion of the Itaipava Sao Paulo Indy 300 until Monday morning.
Vitor Meira navigated his way through two multicar wrecks without a scratch only to be taken out (while running seventh) by a piece of debris that he ran over during a downpour in the rain-soaked Itaipava Sao Paulo Indy 300.
“Halfway through the longest straight on the lap that I crashed, I felt a bump,” said Meira, who started 14th in the ABC Supply Dallara/Honda. “I don’t know what I hit because I couldn’t see anything at all! And then I had no brakes at all. I tried to slow it down by downshifting but obviously I had no control. Later, we saw that whatever debris I hit, it cut the brake line.”
The accident occurred going down the 7/8 mile straight which leads into the hairpin. The debris snapped the right front brake line and with just rear brakes working, they locked up causing him to spin and hit the concrete barrier hard with the right rear. The team initially thought their day was finished, but the race was red-flagged two laps later because of the terrible conditions.
The ABC Supply crew got to work replacing the right front upright, front brake lines and right rear suspension. They were able to repair the car in time to make it to the grid to restart 21st due to the 2 hour, 23 minute delay.
“I have to really thank my ABC Supply crew for their quick and best effort in repairing the car and the team management for their decision to try,” said Meira. “The team basically rebuilt the right side of the car—it was a lot of work in very little time! To make it tougher, they didn’t have all of the tools they normally would have because when you travel overseas you are limited in what you can bring so they had to adapt what we had at our disposal. They did a great job!”
The race was re-started and run under caution for five laps as the drivers assessed the track and the puddles around it. It didn’t take long for the drivers to reach a decision as they radioed in to their respective teams.
“It was impossible to race,” said Meira. “Believe me, we tried. Everyone wanted to race today but we couldn’t.
“But we’ll get it done tomorrow…weather permitting.”
With a 9 a.m. start set for tomorrow morning, the cars will line up according to how they finished today which means Meira will be two laps down to leader Will Power.
“We are first going to try to get our laps back and then start gaining as many positions as we can,” said Meira.
The race will restart at 9 a.m. local time and will be carried live on Versus beginning at 8 a.m. ET. With 14 laps and 41 minutes of the two hour timed event completed, the race will be considered official when the leader reaches the halfway point (38 laps or one hour) either in laps or time if weather is again a factor tomorrow.
Qualifying Report - Itaipava Sao Paulo Indy 300
SAO PAULO, Brazil April 30, 2011—For the third time in the last four races Vitor Meira barely missed advancing into the top six of his group by less than a tenth of a second; this time, it was .064 of a second!
In the Itaipava Sao Paulo Indy 300 Meira will start in the seventh row but this time will line up in 14th position because he was in the second group of 12 to qualify. He posted a lap time of 1:23.31 for a speed of 109.573 mph around the 2.536 mile Sao Paulo street course.
“There was a time last year when we would have thought that this was okay but now we are at the point where we want more and believe we can get more,” the Brazilian said. “Our ABC Supply team has been evolving and I think we have evolved more than the others but it is definitely tougher this year—you just have to look at how close the times are. We are seventh in our group for three out of the first four races and it is a bittersweet feeling.”
Last year Meira qualified 16th for this race and finished third and that was without benefit of double file restarts! Race strategy and a strong drive by Meira in the closing laps proved to be the keys in that podium finish.
Will Power won his fourth straight pole position of the season and was the only driver to top 111 mph in qualifying. Ryan Hunter-Reay will start alongside him on the front row. Scott Dixon, Ryan Briscoe, Graham Rahal and Dario Franchitti rounded out the Firestone Fast Six.
The teams will get a final warm-up tomorrow morning from 8:30 to 9. Formula 1 and IndyCar champion Emerson Fittipaldi is scheduled to wave the green flag at 1:20pm local time. The 75-lap race will be broadcast on Versus starting at 12 noon E.T.
Notes & Quotes: Itaipava Sao Paulo Indy 300 Nestle
Vitor Meira and the ABC Supply team are in their third season together and making their second appearance in the Sao Paulo Indy 300. In the 2010 event, Meira finished 3rd for his best showing of the season. He was also the top-finishing Brazilian driver. This year, following his 9th place finish in the Long Beach Grand Prix, he is 10th in the IZOD IndyCar Series standings.
Congratulations to Vitor and Adrianna Meira on birth of their daughter Juliana! Adriana Schettini Meira gave birth to Juliana on April 24th (Easter Sunday) at 6:43 a.m. in a Miami hospital. The newborn weighed in at 6.6 lbs. and measured 19.3 inches in length. Juliana will have a big sister in Luiza, age 7, who is Adriana’s daughter by her first marriage.
Vitor on birth of his daughter: “What a unique experience! You think you know what it will mean to you but you really don’t until it happens. To try to put it into words, I really can’t. All I can say is that I highly recommend the experience because it is sooo cool.” Changed a diaper yet? “I tried to but I was interrupted because I was doing something wrong--but I will keep trying. Adriana’s mother is here for another week and my mother is staying until July, so we’ll have plenty of help.”
Meira on returning to Brazil: “Going back to Brazil, I’m excited to be in my home country and I have a lot of friends there, but I’m more excited about the team is moving forward in a good direction- everybody is so confident that we are doing things the right way and are moving in the right direction-that’s what excites me the most. We’ll be in the top 10 in the points with a strong car on the street courses. I’m sure we’ll have a very good showing in Brazil again.”
Challenges of racing in Brazil: “The track is a street course with very long straights so deciding on the level of downforce we put on the car will be very crucial. The track will be different from last year. The direction of the corners might be the same but it will be a different track – the curbs will be different and it’s been repaved. They also made turn 1 wider. It will be better than last year because they had more time to work on it.”
Key to Success: “Unload the car close to what you think is comfortable. We don’t have the Friday practices we just have two practices on Saturday, so there is not much time to go through the data before we have to qualify on the same day. I think the better the car is out of the box, the better we will do.”
Last year at Sao Paulo: Meira started 16th and finished 3rd. Meira’s early switch to slick tires following a downpour in the race proved to be a key factor in his podium finish.
Brad Eyes wins the Jim Greer Award of Excellence for the Grand Prix of Long Beach: Eyes won the award for working through several telemetry issues in the first two races of the year, resulting in a problem-free weekend at Long Beach. Eyes impressed “the Boss” with the contributions he has been able to make to the team through his analysis of the data he’s monitoring. Jim Greer, longtime friend of A.J. Foyt, created the award to recognize outstanding performance at race events among the Foyt team members. The recipient, determined by team manager Craig Baranouski and crew chief Tom Howatt, receives a monetary bonus and his name (along with the race) engraved on a plaque which hangs in the AJ Foyt Racing Showroom.
ABC Supply returns for its seventh year as primary sponsor of A.J. Foyt’s No. 14 with GAF signing on for another year on the car’s engine cover.
Continuing its patriotic red, white and blue livery, the No. 14 ABC Supply car is sporting a new design which is meant to evoke the scheme of A.J. Foyt’s 1961 Indy 500 winning car. This year marks the 50th anniversary of his first of four Indy 500 victories as a driver.
Headquartered in Beloit, Wis., ABC Supply was founded by Ken and Diane Hendricks in 1982. The company has more than 450 branches in 44 states and is dedicated exclusively to serving professional contractors. ABC Supply has distinguished itself by following a simple guiding principle – take care of contractors better than any other distributor. It accomplishes this by being a “people-first” company that treats its associates with respect and gives them the tools they need to succeed. As a five-time winner of the Gallup Great Workplace Award, ABC Supply is one of only a handful of companies in the world to have earned this honor every year since its inception in 2007. More information is available at www.abcsupply.com.
The Itaipava Sao Paulo Indy 300 will be televised live May 1st, Sunday afternoon starting at 12:00 p.m. ET on VERSUS.
For more information, please check our web site: www.ajfoytracing.com and our AJ Foyt Racing fan page on Facebook. Sponsor ABC Supply has launched a fan page: ABC Supply Racing. To view those pages, (search ‘AJ Foyt Racing’ or ‘ABC Supply Racing’), one must register for Facebook (which is free).