EDMONTON, Canada July 25, 2010--When the going gets tough, the tough get going. Vitor Meira and the ABC Supply team did just that in the Honda Indy Edmonton Sunday afternoon to bring the No. 14 home in 16th place and retain their 12th place in the...
EDMONTON, Canada July 25, 2010--When the going gets tough, the tough get going. Vitor Meira and the ABC Supply team did just that in the Honda Indy Edmonton Sunday afternoon to bring the No. 14 home in 16th place and retain their 12th place in the IZOD IndyCar Series standings.
From the outset, the team struggled to find the sweet spot on the No. 14 car. A combination of a very rough, bumpy track and several broken shocks kept the team scrambling as the broken shocks weren't figured out until after qualifying. In the three preceding practice sessions, the team made wholesale changes to the car with little effect on the performance. Meira started 23rd in the 25-car field.
Frustration ran high but the team regrouped Saturday evening and came up with a plan for race day.
In the morning warm-up, Meira said the car was a different car-much better - but there was no time left to focus on the one area that still needed work -- the high-speed corners in turns 9 and 13. Those corners proved to be the car's Achilles' heel in the 95-lap race.
Starting on the black primary tires, Meira was running 22nd in the early stages when he was asked how the car was handling. Meira radioed back, "Very loose in the high-speed corners."
He made it to the first pit stop on lap 32, and the team put on the red-rimmed alternate tires and took out two turns of front wing to correct the loose condition in less than eight seconds. By the time of his second stop on lap 47 during a full course yellow, he was in 18th. Switching back to the primary tires, they adjusted the front wing again.
Two more restarts were followed by two more full-course yellows on laps 50 and 53 respectively. Meira went from 17th to 14th in the lap 53 scramble going through turn 3. When Marco Andretti passed him 10 laps later, he radioed in that the car was still loose in turn 9. As teams started making their final pit stops, Meira cycled up to 12th on lap 72. On lap 73 he spun off the track in turn 2 and came back on in turn 5, losing track position and five positions on the scorecard.
When he radioed in "something was really wrong with the car" on lap 74, the team told him to pit. They put on another set of the red alternate tires and sent him out again in eight seconds flat with Foyt telling him to feel it out. Soon after, the team radioed him that they found his left rear tire was flat.
"You had a tire going down which probably caused you to spin," Foyt said. "It should be fine now."
Meira finished the final 20 laps of the 95-lap race without incident.
"Every change we made in the race was in the right direction," Meira said afterwards. "But after qualifying, we just had the morning warm-up to fix the car because it changed completely after we found the damper problem. From that point on, the weekend started all over. As competitive as everybody is, it's tough to come back and be as competitive as we want with just half an hour of warm-up.
"It was a very hard weekend for the ABC/Foyt Racing team. I'm glad we survived the race because it was definitely a tough race, a lot of people had problems. There were a select number of fast cars and definitely we have to study what needs to be done here. Tough weekend, what can I say?"
Scott Dixon was given the checkered flag when Helio Castroneves, who crossed the line first, was penalized for blocking teammate Will Power on a lap 92 restart. Castroneves ignored the black flag (and the radio command to do a drive-through the pits) on the final three laps of the race. Officials placed him 10th, the final car on the lead lap. Second through fifth were Power, Dario Franchitti, Ryan Briscoe and Ryan Hunter-Reay.
The series returns to action the weekend of August 8th at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course.