1. Title contenders chasing Power not ready to give up: Will Power has built a 36-point lead in the IZOD IndyCar Series standings with two races to go, but the seven drivers chasing him aren't ready to concede the IZOD IndyCar Series championship to him.
Fortunately, Power's seven pursuers won't have to wait long to start their quest to chip away at Power's point advantage as this weekend's Grand Prix of Baltimore comes seven days following the Go Pro Grand Prix of Sonoma.
"It's frustrating to have had two races without the finish the DHL/Sun Drop team deserves, but we're going all-out to win the last two races," said Ryan Hunter-Reay, who has dropped 79 points to Power in the last two races.
Power has taken advantage of Hunter-Reay and Andretti Autosport's difficulties the last two events, finishing second at both Mid-Ohio and Sonoma while Hunter-Reay finished outside the top-15 in each event. Hunter-Reay's struggles have allowed Team Penske's Helio Castroneves to seize the opportunity to make up ground in the title race.
Castroneves overcame an early-race penalty at Sonoma to finish sixth, though he knew he had a car that could have challenged either Ryan Briscoe or Power for the win.
"First of all I'm very, very happy with the result of finishing sixth especially after the circumstances that we had," he said. "It was an amazing result for the Penske Truck Rental guys. I'm extremely happy being able to collect more points, but not so happy with the early race incident. I did not want to ruin my race and especially anyone else's race.
"But at the end of the day you need to just keep pushing. I felt that we had a better car than sixth, but again today's sixth was like a victory."
And while some drivers such as James Hinchcliffe and Tony Kanaan, may see their chances for the championship starting to fade, both want to win races and know the tight and twisting streets of the Baltimore course can be a wildcard in the title fight.
"Sonoma was a tough weekend and now we are all focused on doing what we can as a team to give Ryan (Hunter-Reay) the best shot at bringing home the championship title," Hinchcliffe said. "The biggest thing for us is that we want to finish the season in the same fashion we started, and that's up front."
And that mindset is a comfort to Hunter-Reay, who may have unfinished business in the final two races of the season.
"In my mind, the championship is wide open, and we're focused on one thing: winning," Hunter-Reay said. "I'm going to push hard and treat every lap like a qualifying lap. We'll do all we can to end the weekend in Victory Lane."
2. Franchitti to carry Lexar Media colors at Baltimore: Dario Franchitti's No. 10 Target Chip Ganassi Raicng Indy car will carry the Lexar Media livery for the second time in 2012 during the Grand Prix of Baltimore.
Franchitti debuted the Lexar car during the Sao Paulo Indy 300, where he started on the front row and finished fifth.
"Partnering with Chip Ganassi Racing offers the Lexar brand a unique opportunity to get in front of an audience who appreciates and understands the need for high speeds, reliability, and superior performance," said Saul Matthews, worldwide marketing director, Lexar. "We're excited to once again join forces with Target Chip Ganassi Racing, and cheer on Dario as he nears the end of another successful season."
Added Steve Lauletta, president, Chip Ganassi Racing Teams: "Lexar has been a great partner with Ganassi for over 10 years and we couldn't be more proud to have their colors on the No. 10 for a second time this season. Dario scored one of his series-best eight front-row starts in Brazil with Lexar on the car and we hope to add to that and more in Baltimore."
Source: IZOD IndyCar Series