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Sports Auto Racing

Saying goodbye to Baltimore once again

Welcome back to the final installment of my blog for The Baltimore Sun surrounding the Grand Prix of Baltimore. I hope you were able to get to the race and enjoy yourself while you were here. I met a lot of people who were doing just that.

It was a crazy race, for sure. There was a lot of bumping and banging and running into other people. I took us out of the race early when I got the No. 20 Ed Carpenter Racing Fuzzy’s Ultra Premium Vodka Chevrolet into the tire barrier on Lap 11 and we lost a lap to the leaders. We were on our own lap most of the race after that.

Even though I put us in a bad situation early, the race was so crazy with all the yellow flags and crashing that we were able to make up some spots and get a 14th-place finish for some points. After losing a lap early in a street race, you generally don’t come back and finish that well, so I’m pleased somewhat that it turned out that way.

It was a wild, hot, physical race. We expect that in Baltimore because it is a challenging track. It’s fast and bumpy and narrow, and when guys get aggressive like they did, you see what can happen.

It would’ve been nice if we didn’t have quite as many caution laps for the fans. A third of the race (25 of 75 laps) was under caution, but that’s the way street racing goes sometimes.

We had a good pace after the early mistake, but we couldn’t get the lap back. We put on a new front wing that helped, but that one mistake hurt us throughout the race. For a while, we stayed out a long time on some older Firestone reds (the softer tires) at the end, and I was just holding on. I tried to race with E.J. Viso for position, but the tires were down to the cords and I couldn’t challenge him.

It was really extreme out there. It’s near the end of the season and drivers are fighting for the championship, so sometimes they were taking wild chances. We knew there could be carnage on the restarts, and that’s what happened. But we’ll take the points and work toward the final three races.

I thought the crowd was really good again considering how uncomfortable it was to sit out there and watch the action. It was hot in the car, and I know it was hot in the stands. If you were out in it, you have my appreciation. Racing is always fun to experience as a fan, but on days like Sunday, it can be tough to enjoy it.

The race could have been so much more physical for the drivers, but all the cautions made it less taxing. I was spent a little at the end, but we got lucky with the yellow flags. If we’d gone longer periods under green, it would have been far more difficult for the drivers.

So, even though it was hot and not a spectacular performance, I thought it was another successful event for the city of Baltimore and the IZOD IndyCar Series. I always enjoy coming here. It’s a wonderful city with friendly fans who make us feel welcome.

I look forward to racing in Baltimore again next year. In fact, I can’t wait to get back.

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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