“It’s definitely one of the tracks where I’ve been the most consistent since my return to IndyCar to start my career,” Bourdais said. “It was one of the very hardest races I had in ’03. I just couldn’t get comfortable with the car. I didn’t figure out the whole thing with the patches and stuff. And then I came back in ’04 after looking at a bunch of video and camera data and stuff and I figured something out, and I got to point out what was the track, what was the car, and where you had to focus on to make the car good and quick around the track.
“It’s definitely a place that I’ve been putting on good, very strong performances and to be back on the top step in the way we have done it today pretty much like the “good ‘ole days” it’s very special.”
After a delay of nearly a day, the green flag waved for the first time to start the race but it didn’t wave for long after Luca Filippi ran into the back of Simon Pagenaud to trigger a multi-car crash that blocked the track and brought out the red flag to stop the race before a full lap was even completed. Other drivers involved in the crash included Carlos Munoz, Takuma Sato and Mike Conway. All drivers except Sato were able to continue in the race.
After a lengthy cleanup, the green flag flew to resume the race on lap four and the field was able to race cleanly. Hunter-Reay made a great pass to take second place away from Castroneves on that lap.
Pagenaud pitted on lap 10 after complaining there was “no speed” coming from his car.
Carlos Huertas stuffed his Honda in the tire barrier on lap 17. Filippi, who was running seventh, suffered a broken suspension so the yellow flag waved with Bourdais in front followed by Hunter-Reay and Castroneves. Power had moved up to 16th place one spot ahead of Montoya.
Castroneves passed Hunter-Reay for second on lap 33 and with the tires on Hunter-Reay’s car starting to lose grip Tony Kanaan attempted to pass for position. Hunter-Reay would pit on lap 34 along with many of the other contenders in the race.
During Power’s pit stop on lap 35 he pulled out of the pits and nearly ran over an air gun in the pit ahead of him.
Because of the shortened length of the race, every driver in the field had made their lone pit stop by lap 35. Pagenaud, who pitted on lap 10,was in the lead by eight seconds over Bourdais but Pagenaud would have to pit again.
Hunter-Reay on Red tires attempted to pass Kanaan for fifth place but the two drivers banged wheels and that sent Hunter-Reay’s Honda into the wall damaging his front wing and suspension. Hunter-Reay was a leading contender for the victory. Pagenaud and Bourdais ran through the debris that was left on the course and that forced Pagenaud to make his second pit stop.