Last year, Will Power won at Sao Paulo. That wasn't the surprise. It was his third straight win at the Brazil street circuit (he's still the track's only winner), and his third straight in the 2012 season.
The surprise is that he has not won since.
That's right, it's been a full year since the recent king of road and street circuits has seen Victory Lane. Going through each race has seen just a slight misfortune cost Power wins, and in the end the championship. This year that bad luck has mostly continued. The hex has shown up already this weekend, but it was very much by the team's design. In the first round of knockout qualifying, Penske didn't send Power's #12 out until late in the session. Before he could turn a hot lap, the red flag came out ending the session. Without a top lap, Power didn't advanced and thus will start way back in 22nd. It's going to take a special drive for Will to break his winless streak and win a fourth straight in Sao Paulo.
IndyCar has had a long history of great Brazilian drivers, currently led by longtime stalwarts Tony Kanaan and Helio Castroneves. TK has had a good weekend and will start 4th. Helio was also caught with his pants down by going out too late in qualifying, and is thus back in 18th. There's only one other Brazilian this year, Ana Beatriz. She's starting 16th, her best start of the year.
So far, this weekend has belonged to Andretti Autosport. They filled the front row, with Ryan Hunter-Reay taking the pole and EJ Viso surprising everyone by taking the 2nd spot. James Hinchcliffe also made the Fast Six and will start 5th, while Marco Andretti in 10th gives the team nothing but top ten starting spots. Filling out the Firestone Fast Six are the Ganassi boys: Dario Franchitti in 3rd and Scott Dixon in 6th.
As has been the norm so far this season, the field is very tight, with anywhere from 15 to 18 cars within a second of each other each practice session. In addition, the Sao Paulo circuit is arguably the most wide open street circuit in the world. It boasts multiple places to pass, most notably the one mile straight that leads to the hairpin final turn. The result is a race that will likely be action packed. It also boasts one of the coolest turn names in racing, the Esses of Samba, for the opening esses after the start/finish stripe.
Coverage starts on NBC Sports Network at 11 am, with the green flag at 11:40 am eastern. Timing and scoring can be found here, and More Front Wing's indispensable Event Summary can be found here.
Q it up here throughout the Itaipava Sao Paulo Indy 300.