The race started off pretty nasty for Ganassi's Scott Dixon and Penske's Helio Castroneves, as the two were involved in an accident in the very first corner of the race due to a late braking from newcomer Takuma Sato. The Japanese called it a day, while the other two later resumed the race after their mechanics did some wonders in the garage.
Another huge incident happened in the rear of the field, where KV Technology's Mario Moraes “piggybacked” his car onto the one drove by Marco Andretti through the first chicane of the circuit. Eventually, it would take the race officials some minutes to extricate Andretti from the car, as neither of the two drivers were hurt in the accident.
With all of that happening in the very first lap, one would have definitely bet on an unforgettable race in Sao Paolo. And they would have won. HVM's rookie Simona de Silvestro emerged in the top spot by lap 21 – an IndyCar premiere to have a rookie female driver lead a race – while later overtook by Andretti Autosport's Ryan Hunter-Reay.
In the battle for the podium, Alex Tagliani's car was tapped from behind by Dan Wheldon and was eventually thrown into Tony Kanaan's, forcing the Canadian to call it a day.
As the rain started pouring down more aggressively, the race officials decided to halt it for about 45 minutes. Once the action resumed on the streets of Sao Paolo, it was the Team Penske duo Will Power and Ryan Briscoe to surge into the top spots in the race, as they quickly moved into 2nd and 3rd respectively, behind Hunter-Reay.
Briscoe started a dramatic battle for 1st place with the Andretti Autosport driver, during which he eventually caved and made acquaintance with the tire wall at the exit of Turn 5 (after braking late). Power then slowly moved to close the gap on Hunter-Reay and, with 4 minutes of action remaining, grabbed the lead at the end of the one-mile straight.
Completing the podium was AJ Foyt's Vitor Meira, ahead of Raphael Matos and Dan Wheldon.