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.
After we crashed, it became an exercise in patience.
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, just three points shy of being in the top 10.
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.