2012 marked the seventeenth season for the IndyCar Series.
Fifteen rounds would be contested to determine titles for teams, engine manufacturers and drivers.
The season opened in late-March at Saint Petersburg, Florida and ended at Fontana, California in September. In between these two weekends, there were races held at Barber Motorsports Park, Long Beach, San Paulo, Brazil, Indianapolis, Detroit, Texas Motor Speedway, Milwaukee, Iowa, Toronto, Edmonton, Mid-Ohio, Sonoma and Baltimore.
On the driver front, there were two noteworthy stories. The first was the departure of Danica Patrick as she left IndyCar for NASCAR and the second saw Formula 1 veteran driver; Rubens Barrichello join the series.
But the biggest story may have been the new car and engine package. The Dallara IR-05 was replaced with the new DW12 – named in honour of Dan Weldon who had performed much of the development testing. In a continuing effort to keep costs down officials capped the price of the DW12 chassis at $349,000.
In 2012, the normally aspirated V8 Honda engines were replaced by a formula that required teams to use a 2.2-liter turbocharged V6 power plant. Supplying motors for the series were Chevrolet, Honda and Lotus.
The third event of the 2012 Izod IndyCar championship was held at the thirty-eighth edition of the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach. Competitors would race around the eleven-turn 1.968-mile street course for eighty-five laps.
Before the cars hit the track, there was controversy involving the Chevrolet engines. Eleven entries using Chevrolet motors were penalized ten grid positions for an unapproved engine change. Despite being the fastest in qualifying, the quickest Chevrolet entry started eleventh.
|When the final qualifying session ended, Will Power was the second fastest trailing his teammate and fellow Aussie, Ryan Briscoe by 0.0984-seconds. Like the other Chevrolet-powered drivers he was moved back ten grid positions and started twelfth. However, a steady drive and a pit strategy that required only two stops allowed Power to lead the race for fifteen laps and win by a margin of 0.8675-seconds.|
|Qualifying at the first two races was dominated by Team Penske drivers. This pattern continued but entries using Chevrolet powerplants were penalized for an unauthorised engine change. As a result, the pole went to the fastest Honda driver - Dario Franchitti. Franchitti led the first four laps but he was not comfortable with the new chassis and fell down the order during the race. At the finish, Franchitti was three laps behind the winner in fifteenth.|
|Josef Newgarden also benefitted from the Chevrolet penalty. Newgarden driving the Honda-powered Dallara for Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing turned the seventh fastest time in qualify but as the result of the penalty, he shared the front row with pole-sitter Dario Franchitti. Unfortunately, his race ended in the first corner when he hit the tire barrier and damaged the suspension. Newgarden was classified in twenty-sixth place.|
|At the end of qualifying, Ryan Briscoe was quickest but the Team Penske Dallaras were powered by Chevrolets. As a result of the engine penalty, Briscoe started on the sixth row in eleventh place. The 2011 Long Beach runner-up led five laps during the race but a poor pit-stop and a congested race track prevented him from moving into contention at the end of the contest. Briscoe was in seventh place at the checkered flag.|
|Another driver benefitting from the Chevrolet engine penalty was Simon Pagenaud who started fourth. A different race strategy than the other top runners allowed Pagenaud to lead twenty-six laps. But for the plan to be successful, the team needed a full course caution. That opportunity never transpired and he was forced to pit for fuel under green-flag conditions. Pagenaud surrendered first place but fought back to finish second.|
|Driving the No. 27 Chevrolet-powered Dallara for Andretti Autosport was Canadian, James Hinchcliffe. After the engine penalty had been issued, Hinchcliffe was relegated to the sixteenth starting position. He was able to move into contention and when his teammate, Ryan Hunter-Reay, incurred a 30-second penalty on the last lap, Hinchcliffe inherited the final spot on the podium.|
|On the restart, following Josef Newgarden’s incident, third place qualifier, Justin Wilson was able to beat pole-sitter Dario Franchitti to the first corner and take the lead. Wilson led laps five to nineteen before the top spot was taken by Takuma Sato. He appeared to be very competitive early in the contest but dropped out of contention as the race moved into the second half. Wilson was in the tenth position at the conclusion of the event.|
|KV Racing Technology entered Tony Kanaan in a Chevrolet-powered Dallara. Kanaan suffered the same consequence and the other Chevrolet teams and was moved back to the nineteenth grid position. During the race, he made significant progress and finished fourth. Kanaan and J.R. Hildebrand shared the distinction of gaining the most positions during the contest – fifteen-places. His results also moved him from twenty-sixth in the standings to eleventh.|
|Quickest of the three Andretti Autosport drivers was 2010 Toyota Grand of Long Beach winner, Ryan Hunter-Reay. Hunter-Reay was another driver who paid the price for the unauthorised Chevrolet engine change and was moved back to the thirteenth starting spot. He worked his way to the front of the race and led three laps. But an incident on the final lap with Takuma Sato was deemed avoidable contact and resulted in a penalty that dropped Hunter-Reay to a sixth place finish.|
|Scott Dixon drove the No. 9 Honda-powered Dallara for Chip Ganassi Racing. The Chevrolet motor issue promoted Dixon to the fifth position on the starting grid. Contributing to a miserable day for the Chip Ganassi Racing team, he retired with a mechanical issue on lap-27 and was classified with twenty-third place finish.|
|The podium finishers are taken for a lap to celebrate with the fans. On the left, is Andretti Autosport driver and third place finisher, James Hinchcliffe and runner-up Simon Pagenaud of Schmidt Hamilton Motorsports is on the right. In the center, is the new point’s leader, Will Power enjoying his second win of the season.|
|1||12||Will Power||Dallara DW12 / Chevrolet||Team Penske||85||-|
|2||4||Simon Pagenaud||Dallara DW12 / Honda||Schmidt Peterson Motorsports||85||-|
|3||16||James Hinchcliffe||Dallara DW12 / Chevrolet||Andretti Autosport||85||-|
|4||19||Tony Kanaan||Dallara DW12 / Chevrolet||KV Racing Technology||85||-|
|5||20||J.R. Hildebrand||Dallara DW12 / Chevrolet||Panther Racing||85||-|
|6||13||Ryan Hunter-Reay||Dallara DW12 / Chevrolet||Andretti Autosport||85||-|
|7||11||Ryan Briscoe||Dallara DW12 / Chevrolet||Team Penske||85||-|
|8||6||Takuma Sato||Dallara DW12 / Honda||Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing||84||-|
|9||22||Rubens Barrichello||Dallara DW12 / Chevrolet||KV Racing Technology||84||-|
|10||3||Justin Wilson||Dallara DW12 / Honda||Dale Coyne Racing||84||-|
|11||14||James Jakes||Dallara DW12 / Honda||Dale Coyne Racing||84||-|
|12||17||E.J. Viso||Dallara DW12 / Chevrolet||KV Racing Technology||84||-|
|13||4||Hélio Castroneves||Dallara DW12 / Chevrolet||Team Penske||84||-|
|14||24||Ed Carpenter||Dallara DW12 / Chevrolet||Ed Carpenter Racing||83||-|
|15||1||Dario Franchitti||Dallara DW12 / Honda||Chip Ganassi Racing||82||-|
|16||23||Oriol Servià||Dallara DW12 / Chevrolet||Panther/Dreyer & Reinbold Racing||82||-|
|17||25||Sébastien Bourdais||Dallara DW12 / Chevrolet||Dragon Racing||82||-|
|18||9||Charlie Kimball||Dallara DW12 / Honda||Chip Ganassi Racing||80||-|
|19||26||Katherine Legge||Dallara DW12 / Chevrolet||Dragon Racing||80||-|
|20||17||Simona de Silvestro||Dallara DW12 / Lotus||HVM Racing||74||Mechanical|
|21||10||Alex Tagliani||Dallara DW12 / Honda||Team Barracuda – BHA||46||Mechanical|
|22||7||Mike Conway||Dallara DW12 / Honda||A.J. Foyt Enterprises||41||Mechanical|
|23||5||Scott Dixon||Dallara DW12 / Honda||Chip Ganassi Racing||27||Mechanical|
|24||8||Graham Rahal||Dallara DW12 / Honda||Chip Ganassi Racing||23||Contact|
|25||21||Marco Andretti||Dallara DW12 / Chevrolet||Andretti Autosport||22||Contact|
|26||2||Josef Newgarden||Dallara DW12 / Honda||Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing||Contact|
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