Memorial Day Motorsports Recap

By Brandon Turkus

May 28, 2013

(photo credit: John Cote)
Generally, the weekend means racing. The last weekend of May is always home to a special combination of racing, though.
Two legs of motorsport’s Triple Crown take place on the last Sunday of May—the Indianapolis 500 and the Formula 1 Grand Prix of Monaco. Naturally, we parked ourselves in front of the TV for a healthy portion of Sunday, and watched some racing.
2013 Grand Prix Of Monaco
In the past, Monaco has either been a very loud, expensive parade or a destruction derby. For 2013, it was the latter. Nico Rosberg, son of Monaco winner Keke Rosberg, took his second victory ever, after dominating the practice sessions, taking pole, and surviving a race that saw a pair of appearances by the safety car and a full red flag.
The chaos started when the front-left suspension on Felipe Massa’s Ferrari decided it wasn’t interested in working anymore, which resulted in the Brazilian losing control and suffering a hard slide into the tire wall.
After a spot of pit lane drama that saw Lewis Hamilton drop from second to fourth, Rosberg was in the unenviable position of having both Sebastien Vettel and Mark Webber running behind him.
While the last four positions remained unchanged, all hell was breaking loose behind the leaders. Pastor Maldonado had a run in with Max Chilton at Tabac, which transformed the Venezuelan’s front wing into a ramp, and launched his car into the Armco. The nasty crash brought out the red flags, while the stewards handed out a drive-through penalty to the relatively undamaged Marussia.
The second safety car arrived after Romain Grosjean hit the Toro Rosso of Daniel Ricciardo while exiting the tunnel section. After this, Sergio Perez made a rather poor decision, and tried to squeeze in on Kimi Raikkonen while entering the chicanes of turns 10 and 11. The Finn shut the door, and punctured a tire on his own car in the process. After being stuck between the Lotus of Raikkonen and the Armco, Perez continued on until suspension damage from the incident forced him to stop.
Rosberg ran a relatively flawless race, which we’re sure Mercedes is looking to duplicate in Montreal. Taking second and third place were the Red Bulls of Sebastien Vettel and Mark Webber, respectively.

2013 Indianapolis 500
In Indianapolis, Tony Kanaan took the checkered flag at the 97th Indy 500, winning for the first time in 12 attempts. The Brazilian took part in a wild race that saw 68 lead changes during the 200 laps, more than double the number of the 2012 race. That number is made more remarkable by the fact that of the 33-car field, 14 drivers led the race. When nearly 50-percent of the drivers leads a mere 500-mile race, we’re talking about some good competition.
The race started with hometown favorite, Ed Carpenter, on the pole, and although he led the first few laps, it wasn’t long before he was supplanted by the eventual winner.

This was hardly a sure thing for Kanaan, though. Starting on the outside of row four, the Brazilian had some tough drivers to get past (including a pair of three-time winners in Helio Castroneves and Dario Franchitti), but squeaked up five spots just on the first lap.
Sebastian Saavedra brought out a second yellow flag after a disagreement with the wall on lap 29. Takuma Sato, as he’s wont to do, also had a spin on lap 57. From there on, the race was startlingly clean, with the field running for 133 laps before another caution came out.
With just eight laps to go, Graham Rahal brought out a yellow, which lasted four laps. At the restart, Kanaan and Indy 500 rookie Carlos Munoz tore past the leading car of Ryan Hunter-Reay. Then, with perhaps the most fortunate timing, Dario Franchitti, winner of last year’s race, lost control and brought out the final caution. The race ended under yellow, with Kanaan taking the checker.
Munoz had an excellent start to his Indy 500 career, finishing second.
On the manufacturer side, Chevrolet captured the first four positions, winning its first Indy 500 since reentering the sport in 2012. The top Honda finisher was Justin Wilson in fifth.