LIVE BLOG: Houston, Sunday

IndyCar, IndyCar commentary — By on October 6, 2013 8:11 am

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Greeting from trackside at the Shell and Pennzoil Grand Prix of Houston! More Front Wing co-editor Steph Wallcraft and contributor John Lingle will be providing live updates all weekend long. On this page, you’ll find the full live blog for Sunday’s events. The most recent updates are at the top, so if this is your first visit then please start at the bottom and work your way up. Feedback is always welcome — please leave it in the comments or email

For time sheets, session notes and other race weekend statistics, please visit our Shell and Pennzoil Grand Prix of Houston Event Summary.

Click here to access More Front Wing’s Shell and Pennzoil Grand Prix of Houston live blog from Friday.

Click here to access More Front Wing’s Shell and Pennzoil Grand Prix of Houston live blog from Saturday.

6:42 PM CT (Steph): It looks like the flow of information has stopped here for the day, so here are some final links before I head out.

Power wins race 2 at Houston; Dixon takes Series points lead (official INDYCAR race report)

Mazda Road to Indy, Houston day 2: Official race reports

Shell and Pennzoil Grand Prix of Houston Event Summary

More Front Wing’s first impressions of the race and the weekend

With that, we’ll call it a weekend. Thanks very much for your support of our work here at the Shell and Pennzoil Grand Prix of Houston. One final reminder: our coverage this weekend has been in support of the Dyslexia Institute of Indiana. If you enjoyed it, please consider making a donation at

We’ll see you all at Fontana and in the meantime here at


5:20 PM CT (Steph): More complete updates will follow, but we can offer these official statements on the status of the injuries to Dario Franchitti, an IndyCar official, and 13 fans in a last-lap incident at the Shell and Pennzoil Grand Prix of Houston.

Medical update from Dr. Michael Olinger, INDYCAR director of medical services:

IZOD IndyCar Series driver Dario Franchitti was admitted awake and alert to Memorial Hermann Texas Medical Center in Houston for a concussion, spinal fracture that will require no surgery and a fracture to the right ankle. He will be kept overnight.

Franchitti was injured in a last-lap collision with Takuma Sato on Sunday in Race 2 of the Shell & Pennzoil Grand Prix of Houston.

Joint Statement from Mi-Jack Promotions, promoter of the Grand Prix of Houston, Reliant Park, and INDYCAR:

“Following an accident that occurred on-track at the Grand Prix of Houston this afternoon our greatest concern is for our fans and participants.

An INDYCAR official and INDYCAR driver, Dario Franchitti, along with two fans were transferred to an area hospital for evaluation. Eleven fans were additionally evaluated on site.

Officials are investigating the incident and currently do not have further information at this time. Fan and driver safety are always a primary concern and we will provide further details as they are available.”


10:50 AM CT (John): Justin Wilson gave his thoughts on the decision not to contest qualifying here at the Shell and Pennzoil Grand Prix of Houston, in spite of the fact that the feeder series raced in those conditions this morning.

JUSTIN WILSON (No. 19 Dale Coyne Racing Honda, third place in Race 1 Saturday): “I would have liked to go out for qualifying, but I think ultimately it was a smart decision with such a short time between qualifying and the race. In such difficult conditions, with the pooling of the water. This track doesn’t seem to drain too much – there’s not a lot of camber in the road – so it’s just pooling up, and you’ve got a couple of really big puddles. And with an open-wheel car, that’s not so wise. I think it’s a smart decision. I’m disappointed not to get a shot at pole, but we’ll move on now and work toward the race.”


10:35 AM (John): Big shakeup to the grid coming soon. It has just been announced that per the IndyCar rulebook, the entrant points used for qualifying must be those entering the weekend, so the grid is due for another shakeup. We will post it to the More Front Wing Shell and Pennzoil Grand Prix of Houston Event Summary as soon as we receive it from IndyCar officials.


9:34 AM CT (Steph): We’ve been posting pictures on Twitter and Instagram all morning. Hope you’re following us!

We’ve just learned that the rain has caused qualifying to be scrubbed and the grid for race 2 will be set by entrant points. Now, this makes things interesting because the leader in the entrant points is currently Scott Dixon because the #3 car was penalized after the race win at Texas. It still puts Castroneves on the front row, which is great news for him as it’s reasonable to conclude based on his performance this weekend that such a result would have been difficult for him to procure on track. But we also saw yesterday how Dixon can take off if he gets a chance to get away (and he doesn’t need much of one). To say this start will be interesting in terms of championship implications would be an understatement.

The weather has also created an update on the tweet-up. If it keeps raining like this, it’s possible the location will be moved. Please keep an eye on Twitter for updates.


8:54 AM (John): Pro Mazda Race/Championship Update:

Matthew Brabham swept the double header at the Grand Prix of Houston to pad his already insurmountable points lead and close out a fantastic 2013 campaign. A stop and start session  for two caution periods finished just before the skies opened up, but Brabham was untouchable despite the restarts. Matt said that closing out the year strong was a goal coming into this weekend, knowing that he already had the 2013 Pro Mazda Championship in the bag.

“I wanted to finish out the season strong for all of my supporters and the guys at Andretti as well,” Brabham said. “I wanted to finish this last round, I didn’t want to bail out on it.”

“I wanted to represent everybody that’s supported me this year since it’s been a great year, a wonderful year. I can’t thank Mazda and Andretti Autosport enough. Every single session we’ve been 100% on top of our game, and it’s translated into results.  Yancy, my engineer, Fred, my mechanic, and Scott, I can’t thank them enough. It’s a great bunch of guys, and we’ve all been having a great time. They’re pretty much family to me.”


8:21 AM CT (Steph): A couple more quick notes before I head out for a bit.

First, we learned last night that today’s race will feature a standing start, same as yesterday’s. The original plan was a rolling start, but it’s become obvious as the weekend has gone on that sending cars through that ground-down area of the frontstretch two-wide is not going to end well. Let’s hope it goes better than yesterday.

Second, don’t miss today’s tweet-up! We’re getting together at the entrance to the IndyCar Fan Village (in the infield area behind Reliant Arena) at 10:45 this morning. Pippa Mann will be there as well — and you know those signs she’s been making and posting pictures of herself with in a campaign to win IndyCar’s Most Popular Driver award? She wants you to bring signs to the tweet-up to help her cause, and she’s promised to post the best ones on Twitter and Instagram. If you’re in the area, please come on by, get a picture with Pippa, and meet some great tweeps!


8:14 AM CT (Steph): We have landed for day three of our coverage of the Shell and Pennzoil Grand Prix of Houston!

It feels terribly whiny to say this after the heat from the last couple of days, but dang, is it ever cold out there this morning! I felt like I needed a jacket walking across the track grounds. It’s completely bizarre. Add in the fact that I was just shown a radar image with a great big blob of yellow (read: rain) headed this way and track conditions could be very different today from anything we’ve seen so far this weekend.

I walked across the track to get to my car last night and got my first up-close look at the section of the track that needed grinding. The sections circled in red that had pieces of rebar in them that needed to be flattened were particularly interesting. I’m not sure how they could ever fully flatten it; it seems to have a pretty heavy crest to it. But I’m also not sure how they could configure that portion of the track differently because it’s right at pit out where the real estate needed is the widest. I suppose I’ll leave that part to the professionals.

If you’re looking for info from earlier in the weekend, you can find it in the links just above the banner at the top of this page: our Event Summary is already fully populated with the results, post-race points and stat reports from race 1, and the links to our day 1 and day 2 live blogs are up there as well.

And speaking of that banner, please don’t forget that our coverage this weekend is in support of the Dyslexia Institute of Indiana. If you’ve enjoyed it, we’d greatly appreciate your support in the form of a donation. You can access DII’s website by clicking the banner at the top of the page.

We’ll be back with more info on this page all day long from here at the Shell and Pennzoil Grand Prix of Houston!