judgMENt calls – thE BEautIful aNd BIzaRRE…
I’ve got a lot to talk about this month. It’s been quite a journey since my last column for RACER, so let’s get started.
First, the Baltimore Grand Prix was
remarkable. For a first-time event, it
was a big success. The crowd was great,
with plenty of enthusiasm. It’s always
fun to race in front of big, eager crowds.
We had a very scary moment there,
though. During morning practice on
race day, my friend Tony Kanaan lost his
brakes while going 160mph. He hit my
Shell-Pennzoil Team Penske car to slow
down his car, flew over me and crashed
hard into the tire barrier. It wasn’t very
pretty from where I sat, so my first
thought was that he was hurt. I didn’t
know what to expect, but I was worried
about my friend.
I jumped out of my car and ran to him
to try to help him. But when I saw him,
to my surprise, he wasn’t worried about
himself. He was concerned about my
car. He was apologetic for crashing into
me. I was like, “Dude, forget about my
car!” Honestly, I’m glad I was there. It
would have been much worse if he
hadn’t been able to use my car to help him slow down a little
bit before he hit the tires.
“we need clarity regarding
what the rules are and
what the penalties will be”
Dan R. Boyd/LAT
after Kanaan used Helio’s car as a brake in Sunday morning warm-up’s cary accident in Baltimore, the pair had to start from the back of the grid.
contestants based on many attributes.
Miss Angola was a deserving winner,
although they were all deserving. It was
a difficult choice, but I enjoyed every
minute of it [That’s a real surprise…Ed.] and it
was awesome to have my hometown of
Sao Paulo host such a terrific event.
Then, with my bags packed for Japan,
I flew to Zurich and hopped on a flight
for Tokyo. I arrived Thursday, so there
wasn’t much chance to adjust to the
You’ve probably already seen my
comments after the race in Japan. In
the last few races, we’ve had some
challenging situations that were handled
differently and, I felt, inconsistently by
Race Control. Baltimore was another
example of this as we were the only ones
to lose a lap to the leaders simply
because we drew the short straw and
were restarted last when many other
cars were in the same situation.
At Motegi, we’d worked hard to battle
back into the top 10 after a couple of
incidents early in the race. We made some
great decisions and worked our way back
toward the front. I was extremely proud
of our effort as a team at that point.
On the last lap, there were two cars
off track at different places right after a
restart. There were local yellow flags at
both places, so we knew we weren’t
allowed to pass in those areas. At the
time, I was chasing JR Hildebrand, and
I mean I was right behind him heading
into one of the local yellows. When
you’re that close, you don’t see anything
but the gearbox in front of you.
He bobbled just slightly so,
instinctively, I completed the pass.
There wasn’t much I could do. It was
either slam on the brakes to avoid
passing him, which would have created
an incident for JR and Dario Franchitti,
who was also behind me, or complete
the pass under local yellow and give the
position back when I had a chance.
But after I made the pass, there was
no good place to give the position back.
I saw Dario there, right behind
Hildebrand, and realized I couldn’t
safely let JR back by me without also
letting Dario go, so I decided to just hold