Baltimore, MD- The third annual Grand Prix of Baltimore will certainly go down as shaking things up for the title race.
Many of the contenders in the Izod IndyCar Series championship were caught up in incidents and left with bad days.
The only drivers who had good days were points leader Helio Castroneves as he opened his lead up to a wide margin with just three races to go in season and race-winner Simon Pagenaud who moved up to third in the standings leaving here.
Castroneves scored his 15th top 10 in 16 races this season with a ninth place finish Sunday afternoon. It wasn’t all rosy for the Brazilian though as he had a couple incidents of his own.
The three-time Indy 500 champion suffered a broken wing on the opening lap. He had to pit on Lap 1 and dropped to 21st place. After looking like it would be a long day for him several contenders dropped out which benefited him.
Dario Franchitti suffered brake issues very early on and finally dropped out of the race with a 21st place finish on Lap 27. He’s now seventh in the standings trailing Castroneves by 113 points.
From there third in the standings entering today Ryan Hunter-Reay had his struggle of a day come to an end with a stuck gear. He would finish 20th dropping him from third to fifth in the championship as the defending series champion now trails by 74 points.
After that his main threat for the title Scott Dixon was wrecked on two consecutive restarts once by Graham Rahal then by Catroneves’ teammate Will Power. Dixon and Power would finish 19th and 18th respectively opening Castroneves’ lead over Dixon who’s still in second by 51 points. He leads his teammate Power by 132 points leaving Baltimore as well.
That pretty much leaves Castroneves as the main title contenders with three to go. It’s his championship to lose as he’s searching for his first IndyCar title.
Eric Smith is the Lead Motorsports Writer. Follow him on Twitter @ericsportsguru
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