Bruno Junqueira’s 19th-place finish in his first IZOD IndyCar Series race in two years at the Grand Prix of Baltimore may have had enough drama to hold him over for another two years.
Driving for Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing in the No. 67 SFHR Dallara/Honda/Firestone car, Junqueira encountered wet and dry track conditions, sustained contact from other drivers and witnessed eight on-track incidents for 17 caution laps.
“It was a crazy race with conditions that were dry, wet and then dry again,” Junqueira said.
While rain loomed in the initial stint of the race and teams contemplated switching to wet tires, the No. 20 car driven by Ed Carpenter sustained contact on the front straight that brought out the first caution of the day. On the resulting restart, Junqueira’s No. 67 car received contact from the No. 4 car driven by JR Hildebrand.
“I was hit from behind early on in the race and lost a lap to the leaders when I spun and couldn’t restart the car,” Junqueira said.
Junqueira dug in and began ticking off solid lap times as a plethora of caution flags slowed the race.
“When the track dried and I got back on slick tires I was able to set a good pace and had several good laps,” he said.
However, the tide turned for Junqueira and SFHR on lap 66 of 75.
“Unfortunately near the end of the race, I brushed the wall after going through the chicane. My left rear suspension was broken and we couldn’t continue on in the race. I felt very sorry and frustrated because I had been making up distance all afternoon,” Junqueira said.
While Junqueira’s 19th-place finish was not what he had hoped for in his IZOD IndyCar Series return, he was happy with the work of the SFHR team.
“I have to thank the entire SFHR team,” he said. “They gave me a great opportunity in a fast race car this weekend.”
Ryan Hunter-Reay of Andretti Autosport led 13 laps to capture his fourth win of the 2012 season at the Grand Prix of Baltimore.
Ryan Briscoe of Team Penske and Simon Pagenaud of Sam Schmidt Motorsports rounded out the podium with second and third-place finishes.
The race was slowed by nine caution periods for a total of 24 laps, and had an average speed of 71.136 mph.
Will Power sits atop the 2012 championship standings with 453 points, but Ryan Hunter-Reay is nipping at his heels with 436 points.
The championship will be decided at the MavTV American Real 500 at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, Calif. on Sept. 15.