2011 IndyCar Series season

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2011 IndyCar season
Season
Races 17
Start date March 27
End date October 16
Awards
Drivers' champion United Kingdom Dario Franchitti
Teams' champion United States Chip Ganassi Racing
Rookie of the Year Canada James Hinchcliffe
Indianapolis 500 winner United Kingdom Dan Wheldon
Discipline champions
Oval champion New Zealand Scott Dixon
Road course champion Australia Will Power
Chronology
Previous season Next season
2010 2012
Dario Franchitti defended his series championship in 2011, clinching his fourth series title, and his third straight.

The 2011 Izod IndyCar Series season was the 100th recognized season of American open wheel motor racing. The season was sanctioned by IndyCar and was part of the Mazda Road to Indy. The season began in March and concluded in October, consisting of seventeen events.

It was the final season running the IR–05 Dallara spec cars, which has been the series' sole chassis supplier since 2007. The events took place in twelve states of the United States, as well Canada, Brazil, and Japan. The schedule featured ten street/road courses and eight on oval tracks. The premier event was the 95th Indianapolis 500, won by Dan Wheldon.

Dario Franchitti claimed his fourth IndyCar title. Franchitti went into the final race of the season leading Will Power by 18 points. The race, and the season, was marred by a 15-car pile-up early in the race that claimed the life of two-time Indy 500 winner and 2005 champion Dan Wheldon. The race was canceled, and the final points total reverted to the previous event, with Franchitti claiming the title.

Rookie of the Year honors went to Canadian James Hinchcliffe, who led American J. R. Hildebrand in the rookie standings by 6 points going into the final race. Hildebrand's season was highlighted by a nearly winning the Indianapolis 500. His second place finish at Indy earned him top rookie honors for that event.

Series news[edit]

  • The 95th Indianapolis 500 marked the third race of the three-year long Centennial era, celebrating the 100th anniversary of the opening of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and the 100th anniversary of the first Indianapolis 500-mile race.
  • Sunoco would become the official fuel of the series starting in 2011 and running through 2014. Sunoco would work with APEX–Brasil and UNICA to provide ethanol for the series.[1]
  • On January 11, the series made several announcements with regards to the upcoming season:
    • The governing body adopted the doing business as name of INDYCAR (all capital letters). The legal entity remains Indy Racing League, LLC, and is specifically mentioned in the INDYCAR Rule Book.
    • The "restart zone" on ovals were moved from turn 3 to just before the start/finish line.
    • Restart procedures would mimic those of NASCAR, including double-file restarts, separate pitting for lead lap and non-lead lap cars, and the waving around of lapped cars that did not pit. The "free pass" rule would not be implemented.
    • Pit stall selection for each race would be determined by the qualifying order of the previous round at the track of the same type (e.g., road course or oval). Exceptions to this will be the season opener at St. Petersburg, which would be set by final entrants' points from 2010, and the Indy 500, which carries its own pit selection process.
  • On March 6, the series announced that the maximum field size for every IndyCar event this season would be limited to 26 cars, except for the Indianapolis 500 (which remains at the traditional 33) and the Las Vegas finale (34 cars).[2]
  • Firestone has signed an extension to remain as the series' sole tire supplier through 2013.[3]

2011 IndyCar Series schedule[edit]

  • The series schedule was announced on September 10, 2010, with the season finale and start times released on February 22.
Rnd Date Race name Track Location Time (ET) TV
1 March 27 United States Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg Streets of St. Petersburg St. Petersburg, Florida 12:30 p.m. ABC
2 April 10 United States Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama presented by Legacy Credit Union Barber Motorsports Park Birmingham, Alabama 3:00 p.m. Versus
3 April 17 United States Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach Streets of Long Beach Long Beach, California 3:30 p.m. Versus
4 May 1
May 2
Brazil Itaipava São Paulo Indy 300 presented by Nestlé Streets of São Paulo São Paulo, Brazil 12:00 p.m.
8:00 a.m.
Versus
5 May 29 United States 95th Indianapolis 500 Indianapolis Motor Speedway Speedway, Indiana 11:00 a.m. ABC
6 June 11 United States Firestone Twin 275s Texas Motor Speedway Fort Worth, Texas 8:00 p.m. Versus
7 June 19 United States The Milwaukee 225 Milwaukee Mile West Allis, Wisconsin 3:30 p.m. ABC
8 June 25 United States Iowa Corn Indy 250 Presented by Pioneer Iowa Speedway Newton, Iowa 8:00 p.m. Versus
9 July 10 Canada Honda Indy Toronto Exhibition Place Toronto, Ontario 2:00 p.m. Versus
10 July 24 Canada Edmonton Indy Edmonton City Centre Airport Edmonton, Alberta 2:00 p.m. Versus
11 August 7 United States Honda 200 at Mid-Ohio presented by Westfield Insurance Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course Lexington, Ohio 2:00 p.m. Versus
12 August 14 United States MoveThatBlock.com Indy 225 New Hampshire Motor Speedway Loudon, New Hampshire 3:30 p.m. ABC
13 August 28 United States Indy Grand Prix of Sonoma Infineon Raceway Sonoma, California 4:00 p.m. Versus
14 September 4 United States Grand Prix of Baltimore Streets of Baltimore Baltimore, Maryland 2:00 p.m. Versus
15 September 18 Japan Indy Japan: The Final Twin Ring Motegi (Road Course) Motegi, Japan 11:00 p.m. Versus
16 October 2 United States Kentucky Indy 300 Kentucky Speedway Sparta, Kentucky 2:00 p.m. Versus
17 October 16 United States IZOD IndyCar World Championship Presented by Honda Las Vegas Motor Speedway Las Vegas, Nevada 3:30 p.m. ABC
  Oval/Speedway
  Road Course/Street Circuit

Schedule development[edit]

Existing contracts[edit]

  • The São Paulo Indy 300 has a contract through 2019.[6]
  • The Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg will continue through 2013.[7] City officials look to extend the contract through 2014.[8]
  • Iowa Speedway has been finalized a two-year extension through 2011.[9]
  • Infineon Raceway signed an extension through the 2011 season.
  • An agreement has been signed with the city of Long Beach to extend the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach to 2015 with an option through 2020.[10]
  • Barber Motorsports Park signed a three-year deal through 2012.[11]
  • Mid-Ohio has a contract through 2011.[12]
  • The Octane Racing Group, who promotes the Formula 1 Grand Prix of Canada and the NASCAR Nationwide race at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, will take over as promoters of the Honda Edmonton Indy, having agreed a three-year extension. The race was announced as "canceled" on November 3, 2010 due to an impasse in negotiations between the race promoters and the city of Edmonton.[13] However, negotiations to revive the race restarted the next week.[14] On November 26, 2010, the Edmonton, Alberta city council voted to restore the Honda Edmonton Indy using extra funding from private sources and new parking revenue.[15] INDYCAR officially announced the race's return to the schedule on January 11, 2011.[16]

New or returning races[edit]

Discontinued races[edit]

Team and driver chart[edit]

  • This chart reflects confirmed participants only. All drivers competed in Honda-powered, Firestone-shod, Dallara chassis. (R) reflects an IZOD IndyCar Series rookie.
Team # Drivers Sponsor(s) Notes
United States Chip Ganassi Racing 9 New Zealand Scott Dixon Target
10 United Kingdom Dario Franchitti Target
38 United States Graham Rahal Service Central
83 United States Charlie Kimball (R) Novo Nordisk
United States Team Penske 3 Brazil Hélio Castroneves Shell/AAA/Penske Truck Rental/Cerveja Itaipava/GuidePoint Systems/Hitachi
6 Australia Ryan Briscoe Izod/PPG/Penske Truck Rental/GuidePoint Systems/Hitachi/Transitions Optical
12 Australia Will Power Verizon Wireless
United States Andretti Autosport 7 United States Danica Patrick GoDaddy.com
26 United States Marco Andretti Venom Energy Drink/Dr. Pepper
27 United Kingdom Mike Conway Buffalo Wild Wings/Dr. Pepper/7-Eleven/GoDaddy.com/DHL
28 United States Ryan Hunter-Reay DHL/Sun Drop/Circle K/GoDaddy.com
43 United States John Andretti Window World Indy 500 only; in conjunction with Richard Petty Motorsports
United States Panther Racing 4 United States J. R. Hildebrand (R) U.S. National Guard
44 United States Buddy Rice Fuzzy's Vodka 3 races: Indy 500, Kentucky, and Las Vegas only[23]
United States Dreyer & Reinbold Racing 11 United States Davey Hamilton Hewlett Packard 3 races: Indy 500, Texas and Las Vegas only[24]
22 United Kingdom Justin Wilson Z-Line Designs/Dad's Root Beer/Walmart Wilson suffered a season-ending back injury during practice at Mid-Ohio.
France Simon Pagenaud (R) Roll Coater Replaced Wilson at Mid-Ohio.
South Africa Tomas Scheckter MoveThatBlock.com Replaced Wilson at Loudon.
Italy Giorgio Pantano (R) Tran Systems/Z-Line Designs/Dad's Root Beer/WIX Filters Replaced Wilson at Infineon, Baltimore, and Motegi.[25]
United States Townsend Bell Valspar/Dad's Root Beer Replacing Wilson at Kentucky and Las Vegas.[26]
23 Canada Paul Tracy WIX Filters Indy 500 only[27]
24 Brazil Ana Beatriz (R) Petroleo Ipiranga/Lubrizol Pagenaud filled in for Beatriz at Barber due to a wrist injury.
France Simon Pagenaud (R) Team Ipiranga/BlazeMaster
United States A. J. Foyt Enterprises 14 Brazil Vitor Meira ABC Supply Company / DHL
41 Brazil Bruno Junqueira Indy 500 only—Junqueira qualified car, replaced by Hunter-Reay after negotiations with Andretti Autosport.
United States Ryan Hunter-Reay
United States Sam Schmidt Motorsports 17 United Kingdom Martin Plowman (R) Snowball Express/Magnum Boots/Advantica/Freem/K.E.P. 3 races: Mid-Ohio, Sonoma and Baltimore; in conjunction with AFS Racing and Kingdom Racing
Japan Hideki Mutoh Formula Dream Motegi only; in conjunction with AFS Racing
New Zealand Wade Cunningham (R) Creatherm Kentucky and Las Vegas only; in conjunction with AFS Racing
77 Canada Alex Tagliani Bowers & Wilkins All races except Kentucky and Las Vegas
United Kingdom Dan Wheldon 2 races: Kentucky[28] and Las Vegas only
88 United Kingdom Jay Howard Service Central 2 races: Indy 500 and Texas only; in conjunction with Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing
99 United States Townsend Bell Herbalife/Schmidt Pelfrey Racing Indy 500 only
New Zealand Wade Cunningham (R) Creatherm Texas only
United States HVM Racing 78 Switzerland Simona de Silvestro Entergy/Purdue University Missed Sonoma.
France Simon Pagenaud (R) Replaced de Silvestro at Sonoma.
United States KV Racing TechnologyLotus 5 Japan Takuma Sato Lotus Cars/Panasonic/MonaVie
59 Venezuela E. J. Viso Lotus Cars/PDVSA
82 Brazil Tony Kanaan Lotus Cars/GEICO/Cerveja Itaipava
United States Dale Coyne Racing 18 United Kingdom James Jakes (R) Acorn Stairlifts/Boy Scouts of America
19 France Sébastien Bourdais Boy Scouts of America Road & Street courses only
United Kingdom Alex Lloyd Ovals only
United States Newman/Haas Racing 2 Spain Oriol Servià Telemundo/CDW Used the #02 at St. Petersburg only
06 Canada James Hinchcliffe (R) Eric Sprott & Sprott Inc. All races except St. Petersburg
United States Conquest Racing 34 Colombia Sebastián Saavedra (R) Bogotá es Mundial All races except Motegi and Kentucky
Brazil João Paulo de Oliveira (R) Ceremony Group Motegi only
United Kingdom Dillon Battistini (R) Michelangelo Search/KCMG Kentucky only[29]
36 United Kingdom Pippa Mann (R) Loctite/Armando Montelongo Indy 500 only
Part-time entries
United States AFS Racing 17 Brazil Raphael Matos Automatic Fire Sprinklers 5 races: St. Petersburg, Barber, Long Beach, São Paulo and Indy 500 only
United States Sarah Fisher Racing 57 South Africa Tomas Scheckter Angie's List Las Vegas only[30]
67 United States Ed Carpenter Dollar General 10 races: Indy 500, Texas, Milwaukee, Iowa, Mid-Ohio, Loudon, Sonoma, Baltimore, Kentucky and Las Vegas only
United States Dragon Racing 8 Canada Paul Tracy Ralphs/Motegi Wheels/Make-A-Wish Foundation/ARMA Energy SNX 5 races: Long Beach, Texas, Toronto, Edmonton and Las Vegas only
China Ho-Pin Tung (R) Mouser Electronics Indy 500 only; in conjunction with Sam Schmidt Motorsports
20 United States Scott Speed (R) Fuzzy's Vodka/Vizio Indy 500 only
Carpentier attempted to qualify the #20 at the Indy 500 after Speed couldn't get the car up to speed in time for Pole Day.
Canada Patrick Carpentier
88 China Ho-Pin Tung (R) Mouser Electronics Sonoma only; in conjunction with Sam Schmidt Motorsports
United States SH Racing 07 South Africa Tomas Scheckter REDLINE Xtreme Energy Drink 2 races: Indy 500 and Baltimore only; in conjunction with KV Racing TechnologyLotus at Indy and with Dreyer & Reinbold Racing at Baltimore.
United States Bryan Herta Autosport 98 United Kingdom Dan Wheldon William Rast/Curb Records Indy 500 only
Canada Alex Tagliani Las Vegas only
United States Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing 15 United Kingdom Jay Howard Service Central Las Vegas only
30 Belgium Bertrand Baguette Royal Automobile Club of Belgium Indy 500 only
United Kingdom Pippa Mann (R) National Tire and Battery/Big O Tires 3 races: Loudon, Kentucky and Las Vegas only

Team and driver movements[edit]

Race results[edit]

Rd. Race Pole position Fastest lap Most laps led Winning driver Winning team Report
1 United States St. Petersburg Australia Will Power Brazil Hélio Castroneves United Kingdom Dario Franchitti United Kingdom Dario Franchitti United States Chip Ganassi Racing Report
2 United States Barber Australia Will Power New Zealand Scott Dixon Australia Will Power Australia Will Power United States Team Penske Report
3 United States Long Beach Australia Will Power United Kingdom Dario Franchitti Australia Ryan Briscoe United Kingdom Mike Conway United States Andretti Autosport Report
4 Brazil São Paulo Australia Will Power Switzerland Simona de Silvestro Australia Will Power Australia Will Power United States Team Penske Report
5 United States Indianapolis Canada Alex Tagliani United Kingdom Dario Franchitti New Zealand Scott Dixon United Kingdom Dan Wheldon United States Bryan Herta Autosport Report
6A United States Texas Canada Alex Tagliani Venezuela E. J. Viso United Kingdom Dario Franchitti United Kingdom Dario Franchitti United States Chip Ganassi Racing Report
6B United States Texas Brazil Tony Kanaan New Zealand Scott Dixon Australia Will Power Australia Will Power United States Team Penske
7 United States Milwaukee United Kingdom Dario Franchitti United Kingdom Dario Franchitti United Kingdom Dario Franchitti United Kingdom Dario Franchitti United States Chip Ganassi Racing Report
8 United States Iowa Japan Takuma Sato Canada Alex Tagliani United Kingdom Dario Franchitti United States Marco Andretti United States Andretti Autosport Report
9 Canada Toronto Australia Will Power United Kingdom Justin Wilson Australia Will Power United Kingdom Dario Franchitti United States Chip Ganassi Racing Report
10 Canada Edmonton Japan Takuma Sato France Sébastien Bourdais Australia Will Power Australia Will Power United States Team Penske Report
11 United States Mid-Ohio New Zealand Scott Dixon New Zealand Scott Dixon New Zealand Scott Dixon New Zealand Scott Dixon United States Chip Ganassi Racing Report
12 United States New Hampshire United Kingdom Dario Franchitti New Zealand Scott Dixon United Kingdom Dario Franchitti United States Ryan Hunter-Reay United States Andretti Autosport Report
13 United States Sonoma Australia Will Power Australia Will Power Australia Will Power Australia Will Power United States Team Penske Report
14 United States Baltimore Australia Will Power Australia Will Power Australia Will Power Australia Will Power United States Team Penske Report
15 Japan Motegi New Zealand Scott Dixon Italy Giorgio Pantano New Zealand Scott Dixon New Zealand Scott Dixon United States Chip Ganassi Racing Report
16 United States Kentucky Australia Will Power United States Ed Carpenter United Kingdom Dario Franchitti United States Ed Carpenter United States Sarah Fisher Racing Report
17 United States Las Vegas Brazil Tony Kanaan Abandoned after 12 laps Report

Race summaries[edit]

Round 1: Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg[edit]

Podium Finishers
Pos Grid No. Driver Team Laps Time Led
1 2 10 United Kingdom Dario Franchitti Chip Ganassi Racing 100 2:00:59.6886 94
2 1 12 Australia Will Power Team Penske 100 +7.1612 6
3 8 82 Brazil Tony Kanaan KV Racing TechnologyLotus 100 +16.1045 0
Race average speed: 89.260 mph (143.650 km/h)
Lead changes: 3 between 2 drivers
Cautions: 5 for 13 laps

Round 2: Indy Grand Prix of Alabama presented by Legacy[edit]

Podium Finishers
Pos Grid No. Driver Team Laps Time Led
1 1 12 Australia Will Power Team Penske 90 2:14:42.9523 90
2 3 9 New Zealand Scott Dixon Chip Ganassi Racing 90 +3.3828 0
3 7 10 United Kingdom Dario Franchitti Chip Ganassi Racing 90 +15.5243 0
Race average speed: 92.194 mph (148.372 km/h)
Lead changes: None
Cautions: 6 for 20 laps

Round 3: Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach[edit]

Podium Finishers
Pos Grid No. Driver Team Laps Time Led
1 3 27 United Kingdom Mike Conway Andretti Autosport 85 1:53:11.1000 14
2 12 6 Australia Ryan Briscoe Team Penske 85 +6.3203 35
3 7 10 United Kingdom Dario Franchitti Chip Ganassi Racing 85 +6.7163 0
Race average speed: 88.676 mph (142.710 km/h)
Lead changes: 7 between 6 drivers
Cautions: 3 for 12 laps

Round 4: Itaipava São Paulo Indy 300 presented by Nestle[edit]

  • Sunday May 1, 2011 – 1:20 p.m. BRT (12:20 p.m. EDT) & Monday May 2, 2011 – 9:05 a.m. BRT (8:05 a.m. EDT)[4]
  • Streets of São PauloSão Paulo, Brazil; Temporary street circuit, 2.536 miles (4.081 km)
  • Distance: 75 laps / 190.200 miles (306.097 km); reduced to 55 laps / 139.480 miles (224.471 km) due to rain and two-hour time limit.
  • Race weather: 93 °F (34 °C), scattered showers (Sunday); 79 °F (26 °C), scattered clouds (Monday)
  • Television: Versus (Bob Jenkins, Jon Beekhuis, Wally Dallenbach, Jr., Robin Miller(May 1), Davey Hamilton(May 2nd), Kevin Lee
  • Nielsen ratings:
  • Attendance: 41,000 (Sunday)
  • Pole position winner: #12 Will Power, 1:21.8958 sec, 111.478 mph (179.406 km/h)
  • Most laps led: #12 Will Power, 32
  • Summary:
  • Race Report: 2011 São Paulo Indy 300
  • Summary: Rain forced a postponement of the race after 15 laps. On Monday morning, the race resumed. Leader Will Power pitted for fuel on lap 36, giving the lead to Takuma Sato. With rain soaking the course, Sato's team hoped to stretch out their fuel window in hopes of a caution, and the possibility of leading the race when the time limit expired. Sato was forced to pit on lap 48, and Power retook the lead. The race ended after 55 laps with Power the victor.
Podium Finishers
Pos Grid No. Driver Team Laps Time Led
1 1 12 Australia Will Power Team Penske 55 2:04:05.2964 32
2 5 38 United States Graham Rahal Chip Ganassi Racing 55 +4.6723 0
3 4 6 Australia Ryan Briscoe Team Penske 55 +7.9037 0
Race average speed: 67.442 mph (108.537 km/h)
Lead changes: 2 between 2 drivers
Cautions: 6 for 21 laps

Round 5: 95th Indianapolis 500[edit]

Top Three Finishers
Fin.
Pos
St.
Pos
Car
No.
Driver Team Laps Time Laps
Led
1 6 98 United Kingdom Dan Wheldon Bryan Herta Autosport 200 2:56:11.7267 1
2 12 4 United States J. R. Hildebrand Panther Racing 200 +2.1086 7
3 29 38 United States Graham Rahal Chip Ganassi Racing 200 +5.5949 6
Race average speed: 170.265 mph (274.015 km/h)
Lead changes: 23 between 10 drivers
Cautions: 7 for 40 laps

Round 6: Firestone Twin 275s[edit]

  • Saturday June 11, 2011 – 7:45 p.m. CDT (8:45 p.m. EDT)
  • Texas Motor SpeedwayFort Worth, Texas; Permanent racing facility, 1.455 miles (2.342 km)
  • Distance: 2 races of 114 laps / 165.870 miles (266.942 km)
  • Race weather: 91 °F (33 °C), clear skies (Race 1); 87 °F (31 °C), clear skies (Race 2)
  • Television: Versus (Bob Jenkins, Jon Beekhuis, Dan Wheldon, Lindy Thackston, Robbie Floyd, Kevin Lee, Robin Miller)
  • Nielsen ratings: 0.55 rating,[79] (0.38 overnight)[80]
  • Attendance: 73,000 (announced crowd)[81]
  • Pole position winner: #77 Alex Tagliani, 48.6834 sec, 215.186 mph (346.308 km/h) (Race 1, 2-lap qualifying); #82 Tony Kanaan (Race 2, draw)
  • Most laps led: #10 Dario Franchitti, 110 (Race 1); #12 Will Power, 68 (Race 2)
  • Race Report: 2011 Firestone Twin 275s
  • Summary: The popular "twin race" format from the 1970s and early 1980s returned to Indy car racing at Texas. Dario Franchitti dominated the first race, which saw only one caution. Wade Cunningham and Charlie Kimball crashed on lap 92, with Cunningham crashing Dan Wheldon's Indy 500 winning car from two weeks prior. At halftime, the drivers chose their starting positions for race #2 by a blind draw on a stage on the frontstretch. Tony Kanaan was the lucky driver who picked position number 1. Will Power picked starting position #3, but the winner of the first race, Franchitti, was mired back in 28th starting position. Controversy followed the race, as many in the paddock believed the blind draw was an unfair method to select the starting positions (many thought they should have simply inverted the field). The second race went without a caution, and Power went on to win. Franchitti was not a factor, but charged all the way to 7th at the finish.