Barrichello finishes 17th on IndyCar debut
26 March 2012 – Rubens Barrichello came home 17th as the 2012 IndyCar season began in St. Petersburg on Sunday. The Brazilian, dropped by Williams in Formula 1 earlier this year, competed with KV Racing for the first time as compatriot Helio Castroneves won and dedicated victory to the late Dan Wheldon, who was killed last year.
Australian Will Power led the opening stages of the race, with former Toyota F1 test driver Ryan Briscoe second from Ryan Hunter-Reay. The first caution period, caused by Katherine Legge, caused a number of tactical re-thinks. Power made an early stop, while Briscoe chose to remain on-track and inherited the lead. Soon after the race restarted, Britain’s James Jakes put his car into the tyre wall, resulted in a quick pit visit for Briscoe before Dixon quickly followed suit.
Takuma Sato led the race until the next caution, which came after a spin for Ed Carpenter in the pit lane entrance; a dangerous situation ensued as marshals were still busy working in the spot when a selection of drivers intended to visit the pits. After the stops, Dixon headed the pack from Hunter-Reay and Penske's Castroneves; the order remained the same until Dixon’s next stop, with Castroneves coming in a lap later. J.R. Hildebrand – who narrowly lost victory to Wheldon in last year’s Indianapolis 500 – had a moment in the lead as Castroneves crucially passed Dixon at Turn 1. Te three-time Indy 500 winner was then unchallenged until the chequered flag.
In an emotional tribute to Wheldon, who was tragically killed in the multiple-car accident of last October’s Las Vegas finale, Castroneves scaled the fences of newly-named Dan Wheldon Way. He duly dedicated the win to his friend.
- Castroneves' victory celebrations can be viewed at GPUpdate TV
The 2012 IndyCar Series continues at the Barber Motorsports Park next weekend