IMSA 2014: Battle at the Brickyard – Barbosa/Fittipaldi!
Yesterday’s Battle of the Brickyard at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway started with the HPD ARX-03b Hondas of Scott Sharp/Ryan Dalziel and Ed Brown/Johannes van Overbeek in 1st and 2nd, continuing a trend of strong LMP2 performances in qualifying. The cars ran strongly throughout the opening stint race (which was punctuated by a trio of cautions, including a long, 30-minute yellow to repair damage to the circuit’s safety features), but it was not be. The race belonged to the Daytona-winning Corvette DP of Joao Barbosa and Christian Fittipaldi.
“I’m really happy,” Fittipaldi said, “and we are back in the championship hunt. We have three more races to go to get it done.”
Barbosa, Fittipaldi and the Action Express Corvette DP won the Battle at the Brickyard IMSA/TUDOR race by keeping an eye on tires- but also by running a smart, conservative race that put fuel savings at the forefront of their victory. “I was very conservative,” Barbosa said. “I kept asking the team how we were on fuel. We knew it was going to be tight but I saved as much fuel as I could.” Clearly, it was enough, and Barbosa crossed the line nearly 49 seconds ahead of the second place EcoBoost Ford Riley of Sage Karem and Scott Pruett.
After showing so much promise in qualifying, however, you really have to feel for the Honda team. Ryan Dalziel, driver of the no. 1 Patrón sponsored HPD ARX-03b Honda was clearly upset by the outcome. “We were faster than the leaders (in the DP class),” he said. “But it was impossible to overtake them. It was a very frustrating race … when it comes to race pace, the DPs definitely managed to stretch their fuel and run better in traffic. It is a hard one to take today, but we’ll regroup and go on to Road America.”
Further back in the field, the SRT Dodge Viper of Jonathan Bomarito and Kuno Wittmer took a rare win in the GTLM class, beating the Ferrari F458 Italia of Pierre Kaffer and former Formula 1 driver Giancarlo Fisichella. “It was an amazing day. The whole SRT crew did a great job,” Bomarito said after the race, which was one of those weird ones where the Corvettes couldn’t manage better than 4th, despite dominating the class, elsewhere.
You can sort of tell I’m a Chevy guy when I write these IMSA posts, can’t you? Well, too bad- here’s hoping the NASCAR Chevy teams good luck throughout this weekend’s Brickyard 400 events, which happen to correspond with a major NASCAR SprintCup + ethanol milestone that we’ll be reporting on later, and that can watch live on ESPN tomorrow at 1PM EST. Until then, you can geek out on IMSA’s unofficial race result chart, below. Enjoy!