We all knew going into Sunday’s race that we were struggling with performance. Lotus-powered drivers Simona de Silvestro (#78 – Lotus HVM Racing) and rookie Jean Alesi (#64 – Lotus Fan Force United) did all that they could to stay with the pack, but after nine laps of the 2.5 mile Brickyard the race director called them into the pits to retire.
Both cars had made the cut in qualifying, but by lapping outside 105 percent of the leader’s pace in the race – 10-12mph shy – they were black-flagged. Simona’s top speed was 205.938mph, Jean’s 203.839.
The Indianapolis Motor Speedway, which hosted 400,000 fans sweltering in 91 degree heat, was the first oval race on the 2012 IZOD IndyCar calendar, a layout which highlighted the power gap between the three manufacturers. Despite performance improvements at each of the four previous rounds, it was galling for everyone involved not to have a stab at the full 500 miles today.