Castroneves Climbs To Victory In Edmonton

| , RacinToday.com Sunday, July 22 2012

Helio Castroneves wins the race and climbs the fence in Edmonton on Sunday. (INDYCAR/LAT USA)


Team Penske’s Helio Castroneves held off Takuma Sato by .8367 of a second to win the caution-free IZOD IndyCar Series’ Edmonton Indy on the 13-turn, 2.224-mile temporary airport circuit on Sunday afternoon.

Will Power, who started 17th because of a 10-grid spot penalty for an unapproved engine change, charged to third and Graham Rahal tied his road/street course best finish of the season in fourth.

Alex Tagliani, who led a field-high 49 laps after starting fourth, finished fifth.

Castroneves had been the runner-up in three of the past four Edmonton races, and was leading late in the 2010 contest when he incurred a penalty for blocking. Scott Dixon went on to win the race and Castroneves was credited with 10th place.

On Sunday, Castroneves conserved his push-to-pass power until late and the race and kept hard-charging Sato behind him.

“Everybody knows Takuma,” the Brazilan driver said. “Certainly I had that on the back of my mind, so I didn’t want to give him a slight chance of opportunity. That’s why maybe I play something different. I knew where I need to be strong and where I need to take it easy. That’s what I was doing. Saving up ‘push to pass’ so I could defend myself. In the end, I just want to make sure I had enough to protect my position.

“That’s what we did. For the last 20 laps, I knew he was strong, especially on the infield. I knew my car was pretty good on both straightaways. With that, I was able to keep the lead and keep the position.”

The runner-up finish was a welcome one for Rahal/Letterman/Lanigan’s Sato.

“It is a fantastic result,” the native of Japan said. “I am very pleased for the team and very proud of our effort today. It wasn’t an easy race. Tagliani made a great start and I was in fourth but then I overtook Ryan (Briscoe) in the hairpin and settled in third which was great. The first and second stint was all about saving fuel but driving as fast as possible. It was a very controlled race for us. I had a great battle with Dario. I could see he was pushing really hard and sliding. You could slide. I had an opportunity and overtook him which was great.

“The last stint was very exciting. We had a battle with (Alex) Tagliani and then Helio. I had to go as fast as I could; I pushed as much as I could and tried to get an opportunity to pass Helio but it was just not quite there yet. I knew he had a little bit longer sequence of the push to pass. I used it bit by bit, but also he’s reacting all the time the last few laps and he used it every single straight. It was very difficult to catch him. Once we were very close, but it was not close enough to make a maneuver.”

The last Indy car street/road course caution-free race was Portland in 2007 under Champ Car sanction. The last caution-free oval race was 2011 at Texas Motor Speedway.

Castroneves, who celebrated with his signature fence climb,  gained one position in the championship standings with his 27th Indy car victory (second of the season) – 23 points behind Ryan Hunter-Reay, who finished seventh. Power is third in the standings (26 points back) heading to the Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio on Aug. 5.

“The fence was a little soft,” Castroneves said. “I have to say it was a little soft. I was going all the way, I was hanging on when I saw that thing bending. I would not let it go till the crowd stopped screaming. Everybody was really excited.

“I did not plan to climb the fence there. I realized when I was going to the Victory Circle lap that something snap out of it, Oh, I got to climb the fence. When I saw the crowd, it was just for the moment and I’m glad I did it right there.”

(This story will be updated shortly)

Results Sunday of the Edmonton Indy IZOD IndyCar Series event on the 2.224 mile Edmonton Airport Circuit 2, with order of finish, starting position in parentheses, driver, chassis-engine, laps completed and reason out (if any):

1. (5) Helio Castroneves, Dallara-Chevy, 75, Running

2. (3) Takuma Sato, Dallara-Honda, 75, Running

3. (17) Will Power, Dallara-Chevy, 75, Running

4. (8) Graham Rahal, Dallara-Honda, 75, Running

5. (4) Alex Tagliani, Dallara-Honda, 75, Running

6. (1) Dario Franchitti, Dallara-Honda, 75, Running

7. (11) Ryan Hunter-Reay, Dallara-Chevy, 75, Running

8. (2) Ryan Briscoe, Dallara-Chevy, 75, Running

9. (10) Justin Wilson, Dallara-Honda, 75, Running

10. (18) Scott Dixon, Dallara-Honda, 75, Running

11. (23) Mike Conway, Dallara-Honda, 75, Running

12. (9) James Hinchcliffe, Dallara-Chevy, 75, Running

13. (7) Rubens Barrichello, Dallara-Chevy, 75, Running

14. (15) Marco Andretti, Dallara-Chevy, 75, Running

15. (12) Sebastien Bourdais, Dallara-Chevy, 75, Running

16. (16) EJ Viso, Dallara-Chevy, 75, Running

17. (13) Josef Newgarden, Dallara-Honda, 75, Running

18. (21) Tony Kanaan, Dallara-Chevy, 75, Running

19. (19) Charlie Kimball, Dallara-Honda, 75, Running

20. (6) Simon Pagenaud, Dallara-Honda, 74, Contact

21. (20) JR Hildebrand, Dallara-Chevy, 74, Running

22. (22) Ed Carpenter, Dallara-Chevy, 74, Running

23. (25) Simona de Silvestro, Dallara-Lotus, 73, Running

24. (24) Oriol Servia, Dallara-Chevy, 65, Mechanical

25. (14) James Jakes, Dallara-Honda, 43, Mechanical

Race Statistics

Winners average speed: 101.246

Time of Race: 01:38:50.9294

Margin of victory: 0.8367 of a second

Cautions: 0

Lead changes: 5 among 4 drivers

Lap Leaders:

Tagliani 1 – 25

Briscoe 26

Power 27

Tagliani 28 – 51

Power 52 – 53

Castroneves 54 – 75

Point Standings: Hunter-Reay 362, Castroneves 339, Power 336, Dixon 301, Hinchcliffe 286, Kanaan 279, Pagenaud 276, Franchitti 258, Briscoe 241, Rahal 237.

| , RacinToday.com Sunday, July 22 2012
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