Make us your home page

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

How the 2012 Grand Prix of St. Petersburg unfolded

Everyone makes it through the day's first turn smoothly, avoiding a repeat of the multicar crash that commenced the 2011 race. "I think everybody was pretty kind to each other," early leader Scott Dixon said, "which was a big shock." Pole sitter Will Power builds a 2.8-second lead on Ryan Briscoe after 10 laps but surrenders it two laps later to take on four black tires. Contact is essentially absent until Dixon's driver's side twitches Ryan Hunter-Reay at the outset of Lap 18. Two laps later, James Jakes takes a poor angle on Turn 10 and goes into the wall. During the ensuing caution, Tony Kanaan's battery dies, ending an endurance streak of sorts. In his seven previous starts at St. Petersburg, Kanaan had completed every lap. Similarly, the race's two female entrants, Katherine Legge and Simona de Silvestro, endure early mechanical issues. Legge completes 59 laps, de Silvestro 22.

Dixon and Hunter-Reay are a second apart on Lap 30 before Hunter-Reay pits for tires and fuel on Lap 34. Dixon and Helio Castroneves, running 1-2, make pit stops on Lap 37. That propels Takuma Sato, who started 14th, to the front. At one point, his lead grows to four seconds over Mike Conway, who started 11th. A caution flag comes out when Ed Carpenter, appearing to enter the pit area, is hit from behind by Castroneves on Lap 45. A brief officials review yields no penalty for Castroneves. "Nobody said he was going to pit. Nobody gave me any signal," Castroneves said. "If he was pitting, I don't know … something happened because he slowed down in the area where we actually accelerate." When Sato and the other leaders pit on Lap 46, Dixon — who doesn't — takes the lead.

Dixon and Castroneves, running first and second, respectively, make their final pit stops on Laps 69 and 70. Sato takes the lead but pits at Lap 72, making JR Hildebrand the day's sixth leader. With a pit stop looming for Hildebrand (on Lap 75), Castroneves and Dixon find themselves in prime position. On Lap 73, Castroneves gets far outside, breaks as deeply as he can and passes Dixon on Turn 1 for second. "It was awesome because the car (stuck), and I was like, 'Yesss!' " said Castroneves, who soon after passes Hildebrand.

By Lap 80, Castroneves' lead on Dixon grows to more than five seconds. Hunter-Reay, in third, falls seven seconds behind Castroneves as his crew implores him to conserve fuel. E.J. Viso, on the brink of dehydration following an overnight bout of food poisoning, is fifth — seven places ahead of his starting spot — 93 laps into the race before a final pit stop ultimately drops him to eighth. His lead edging closer to insurmountable, Castroneves drives conservatively on the last dozen or so laps and wins by 5.5292 seconds.

How the 2012 Grand Prix of St. Petersburg unfolded 03/25/12 [Last modified: Sunday, March 25, 2012 10:25pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Kids still playing for all the marbles — literally

    Human Interest

    In this world of pompous athletes, overbearing coaches, money-grubbing owners and a win-at-all-costs mindset, it's easy to become jaded.

    Eli Murphy, right, leans in to give Sierra Ricci the traditional king and queen kiss at the National Marbles Championship in Wildwood, N.J. Both of Allegheny County Pa., they won the girls and boys championship of the 94th annual National Marbles Tournament. [Associated Press]
  2. Lightning takes defenseman Cal Foote with top pick in draft

    Lightning Strikes

    CHICAGO — Former Avalanche defenseman Adam Foote said his son Cal lived in the locker room.

    Cal Foote, second from left, is welcomed to the Lightning by GM Steve Yzerman, far left.
  3. It's Rays' turn to pound Orioles pitching (w/video)

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG - Ah, the fantastic four.

    The Rays smashed the reeling Orioles 15-5 on Friday, scoring a season-high in runs, to climb four games above .500 for the first time since July 1, 2015.

    Rays third baseman Evan Longoria scores on a triple by Logan Morrison during the first inning against the Orioles.
  4. Lightning journal: Plans set for 25th anniversary season

    Lightning Strikes

    CHICAGO — The Lightning revealed some of its plans for its 25th anniversary season Friday, including a ceremony to honor the 2004 Stanley Cup team.

    fit test: Top draft pick Cal Foote puts on his Lightning jersey.
  5. Rays designate catcher Derek Norris for assignment

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — C Derek Norris tied a career-high with three hits in Friday's 15-5 win against the Orioles then was designated for assignment after the game to make room on the 25-man roster for C Wilson Ramos.

    Matt Duffy is expected to resume his baseball activities once the stitches heal.