Castroneves Wins Texas, Is Lone Star In Points
Helio Castroneves dominated the Firestone 550 at Texas Motor Speedway on Saturday night.
In getting the victory, the Team Penske driver, who started the evening tied with Marco Andretti, took sole possession of first place in the IZOD IndyCar Series championship standings.
Driving the Chevrolet-powered No. 3 AAA Insurance car, Castroneves led 132 of 228 laps on the 1.5-mile, high-banked quad-oval and won by 4.6919 seconds over reigning series champion Ryan Hunter-Reay in the No. 1 DHL car for Andretti Autosport.
Castroneves is the seventh different winner in eight races this season, and the first to win four IZOD IndyCar Series races at Texas Motor Speedway. It was his first win on an oval since 2010 at Twin Ring Motegi.
“It was just the setup; we did a lot of homework. Awesome job everyone,” said Castroneves, who broke a tie with Johnny Rutherford for 12th on the all-time Indy car list with his 28th victory.
Castroneves broke a tie with Marco Andretti, who led 57 laps early and placed fifth, to move 22 points clear heading to the Milwaukee IndyFest on June 15 at the Milwaukee Mile.
It was the first victory of the season for Team Penske and the sixth different team to hoist a trophy in Victory Circle.
“Helio drove a flawless race and a key victory in our season based on where we were in the standings,” team owner Roger Penske said. “It probably was the best execution we’ve had in a long time. Helio now leads the points and that’s critical as we are in this stretch of oval races.”
Tony Kanaan, who started 13th in the No. 11 Sunoco “Turbo” car, finished third and Ed Carpenter posted his best finish of fourth at the track.
Hunter-Reay said the race was a bit nerve wracking for him.
“That No. 1 DHL Chevy was great,” he said. “We made the most of it, and we kind of lost it a little bit there when that yellow when came out. Our strategy was such that we needed that yellow not come out. You know we had a good shot at winning it today though. That was just an interesting race. It was hard to even get by some of that traffic. I was searching everywhere for grip; I had so many catches out there that I thought were on the wall. It’s going to be tough to go to sleep tonight.”
Kanaan, third in points, said he was hoping for better.
“It was pretty good, but we obviously we went off strategy,” the Brazilian native said. “I’m really happy. We did a great job as a team. It’s the first race with the Sunoco Turbo car, so I hope they’re happy because I promised them a good race. I think third place as far as the championship goes is pretty strong so we’ll take it.”
Results Saturday of the Firestone 550 IZOD IndyCar Series event on the 1.455-mile Texas Motor Speedway, with order of finish, starting position in parentheses, driver, chassis-engine, laps completed and reason out (if any):
1. (6) Helio Castroneves, Dallara-Chevy, 228, Running
2. (3) Ryan Hunter-Reay, Dallara-Chevy, 228, Running
3. (13) Tony Kanaan, Dallara-Chevy, 228, Running
4. (9) Ed Carpenter, Dallara-Chevy, 228, Running
5. (2) Marco Andretti, Dallara-Chevy, 228, Running
6. (4) Dario Franchitti, Dallara-Honda, 227, Running
7. (1) Will Power, Dallara-Chevy, 227, Running
8. (7) Josef Newgarden, Dallara-Honda, 227, Running
9. (12) James Hinchcliffe, Dallara-Chevy, 227, Running
10. (5) EJ Viso, Dallara-Chevy, 227, Running
11. (21) Takuma Sato, Dallara-Honda, 227, Running
12. (10) James Jakes, Dallara-Honda, 227, Running
13. (23) Simon Pagenaud, Dallara-Honda, 226, Running
14. (18) Sebastian Saavedra, Dallara-Chevy, 226, Running
15. (20) Justin Wilson, Dallara-Honda, 226, Running
16. (22) Simona De Silvestro, Dallara-Chevy, 226, Running
17. (8) Charlie Kimball, Dallara-Honda, 226, Running
18. (24) Tristan Vautier, Dallara-Honda, 225, Running
19. (16) Oriol Servia, Dallara-Chevy, 225, Running
20. (15) Sebastien Bourdais, Dallara-Chevy, 224, Running
21. (17) Graham Rahal, Dallara-Honda, 223, Running
22. (14) Alex Tagliani, Dallara-Honda, 223, Running
23. (11) Scott Dixon, Dallara-Honda, 61, Mechanical
24. (19) Pippa Mann, Dallara-Honda, 2, Mechanical
Winners average speed: 177.257
Time of Race: 01:52:17.4594
Margin of victory: 4.6919
Cautions: 3 for 27
Lead changes: 4 among 5 drivers
Andretti 1 – 53
Power 54 – 57
Hunter-Reay 58 – 92
Andretti 93 – 96
Castroneves 97 – 228
Point Standings: Castroneves 259, Andretti 237, Hunter-Reay 232, Kanaan 195, Sato 194, Pagenaud 194, Dixon 193, Wilson 184, Hinchcliffe 176, Franchitti 168.No Comment