Everything about the Itaipava Sao Paulo Indy 300 says it should be a great event. The street circuit is among the best around right now with Will Power singing the praises of Tony Cotman, who led the effort in creating the circuit and subsequently adjusting it to fix the surface’s bumps. The atmosphere is one of a kind with the passionate Brazilian fans dripping with enthusiasm; this atmosphere is reflected in the written commitment from Rio Grande du Sol Governor Tarso Genro and Porte Alegre Mayor Jose Fortunati to host an event there in 2012, a second INDYCAR event in the country of Brazil.
Nothing could possibly dampen the weekend in Sao Paulo. That is, nothing except for the one element that can’t be planned for: mother nature. Unfortunately, in its first two years of running, the timing of the Sao Paulo event doesn’t seem to mesh very well with the yearly climate. For the second year in a row, the race was interrupted and halted due to a torrential downpour (the 2010 version being much shorter, though still intense).
Remembering the adage “Once is an accident, twice is a trend…,” it would appear that the timing of the event may need to be changed. Simply put, it is becoming noticeable that the months of March and April can bring heavy rain showers to the Sao Paulo area, with the predictability of them very difficult.
Rain tends to make a race more exciting by adding a touch of the unexpected; it levels the playing field, as many say. Monday’s race was no different. However, the problem is that it was run on a Monday, with Sunday a total wash (no pun intended).
As mentioned in the title, rain is an element that one can’t always prepare for. However, there is one avenue that could be pursued: potentially moving the race date. We know that the Twin Ring Motegi oval in Japan will not be on the schedule after this season, leaving an open void in the mid/late-September portion of the calendar. It may be necessary to move the Sao Paulo date into that gap, with the event at Rio Grande du Sol possibly following the next weekend. Regardless, it seems appropriate to review the race date. Remember, twice is a trend.
Rahal Happy to Get the Monkey Off His Back
Graham Rahal is among a number of drivers who have endured a very difficult opening to the 2011 IZOD IndyCar Series campaign. Finishes of 17, 18, and 13, placed him 21st in the standings heading this weekend. What’s more, a spin while running in the top five made it seem he was destined to continue the string of misfortune.
But, as a credit to him and the still young Service Central team, they regrouped, capitalized on the chance to go off strategy, and ended the day a nice second.
“Today, we were lucky that we were quick enough at the end and we were able to keep up with Will (Power) but not let Ryan (Briscoe) close in,” said Rahal, who finally shook off the dark cloud that had followed him in the prior three races. “We had to save a lot of fuel. I'm really proud of the Service Central guys."
Rahal added in an interview with Versus’ Kevin Lee, “To leave Brazil, in conditions like this, with a second place heading into Indy, I can promise you nothing feels better.”
Rebounding with a second will serve as a great confidence booster heading the month of May for the 100th anniversary of the Indianapolis 500. “Obviously, Indy is the most important thing,” he told Lee. “(Going there) will feel good coming off this.”
Rahal will head to Indianapolis looking to build on the momentum from this weekend as well as seeking to improve at Indianapolis, where he has crashed twice and a best finish of only P12 (last year).
Practice for the 100th anniversary Indianapolis 500 (the 95th running of the great race) will commence on Saturday, May 14.