Verizon IndyCar Series Race Report - Iowa

July 11, 2016

Track:   Iowa Speedway, Newton, Iowa (.894-mile oval)
Race:    Iowa Corn 300
Date:     July 10, 2016

No. 2 DeVilbiss Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet – Juan Pablo Montoya

Start:  11th
Finish: 20th
Status: Mechanical
Laps Completed: 179/300
Laps Led: 0
Points Position (behind leader):  11th (-140 pts.)

RECAP: Juan Pablo Montoya started 11th in Sunday's Iowa Corn 300 at Iowa Speedway and charged forward to eventually run inside the top five. He began to challenge the leaders before the DeVilbiss Chevrolet encountered mechanical trouble and Montoya was forced to retire shortly after the halfway point of Sunday's race. It marked the third consecutive time that Montoya was not able to finish a race at Iowa Speedway, ending competitive bids in each result. A disappointing qualifying effort Saturday left him starting on the inside of the sixth row, but Montoya raced up to fifth place by Lap 68. A fast pit stop by the No. 2 Team Penske crew helped Montoya gain one more position on Lap 118. On Lap 175, he moved past teammate Helio Castroneves into third place, but four laps later his day ended with a puff of smoke as the car was forced to pit lane and out of the race.

QUOTE: "The DeVilbiss Chevy was running so well today. We struggled a little bit in qualifying because we couldn't get a clear assessment on the assimilations there, but we knew that we had a strong car for today's race and I really thought we had a shot at the win. As we adjusted the car, it was getting better and better. So, obviously I'm disappointed with how things ended.  Again, I just want to thank DeVilbiss, Chevrolet and Verizon for supporting us and we'll look ahead to better results in Toronto."

No. 3 Hitachi Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet – Helio Castroneves

Start:  3rd
Finish: 13th 
Status: Running
Laps Completed:  298/300
Laps Led:  0
Points Position: 5th (-91 pts.)

RECAP: Helio Castroneves ran competitively and his Hitachi Chevrolet was one of the fastest cars on the track Sunday until a pair of ill-timed caution periods caught him shortly after pit stops under the green flag and dropped him back into the pack. Unable to make up lost laps due to the costly cautions, Castroneves was relegated to a 13th-place finish. As a result, he is currently ranked fifth in the Verizon IndyCar Series standings, 91 points behind teammate Simon Pagenaud, who has led the championship standings for most of the season. Castroneves qualified third, narrowly missing his second consecutive pole win at Iowa Speedway after posting the fastest qualifying lap a season ago. Castroneves raced among the top three for most of the first half of the race. Just prior to the halfway point, he began to pressure Pagenaud for the second position. On Lap 175, however, teammate Juan Pablo Montoya passed a slowing Castroneves for third place which sent Castroneves to pit road for new tires and fuel. Unfortunately, Montoya experienced a mechanical problem just four laps later, which put Castroneves two laps down to the leaders. After working back through the field, a similar circumstance happened again on the final caution of the race, with about 50 laps remaining, which proved too much to overcome. Sunday's finish interrupted a strong run over the past five weeks for Castroneves. In his previous three races, he twice finished inside the top five.

QUOTE: "The Hitachi Chevrolet was a top-five car here at Iowa Speedway, especially after we made some changes in the third pit stop.  However, we got caught under the caution, unfortunately. We couldn't catch a break and we tried everything to stay out and every time we stopped, the caution came out. It was not a good day for us after that, but we can't give up.

We have to move on and look forward to Toronto."

No. 12 Verizon Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet – Will Power

Start:  8th
Finish: 2nd
Status: Running
Laps Completed:  300/300
Laps Led:  0
Points Position: 3rd (-75 pts.)

RECAP: Will Power and the Verizon Chevrolet charged through the field -- passing two cars in the final six laps -- to finish second Sunday in the Iowa Corn 300 at Iowa Speedway. The result was Power's best in eight races at Iowa; his previous best finish at the short track was fifth in 2010. Power began his charge almost immediately, moving from his eighth-place starting position to fifth in the first 12 laps. After his first pit stop on Lap 57, Power dropped back to ninth place, then began again to rally. After pitting under caution on Lap 182, Power emerged in fourth place. On Lap 296 of the 300-lap race, Power passed his teammate Simon Pagenaud for third place and just two laps later, he moved by Scott Dixon for second place. The runner-up effort improved Power's position in the drivers' championship, moving him up to third place, within 75 points of Pagenaud, who finished fourth Sunday to maintain his lead in the title chase. Power's surge in the standings comes despite missing the season opener at St. Petersburg, Fla., due of illness. Sunday's result marked the third straight podium finish for the Aussie after winning two weeks ago at Road America and the second of two races at the Chevrolet Dual in Detroit presented by Quicken Loans on June 5.

QUOTE: "It was a really good run – I think the No. 12 Verizon Chevrolet was a very good long run car. We had people come back to us at the end of the stint so I was very happy that it went full green there at the end. That allowed us to get up to second – just stoked to finish well at Iowa. It was tight racing because those two guys I was racing against are two at the top of the standings. It was tight out there, but I was comfortable making the passes and really wanted to get by them – they're very trustworthy drivers and very good to race with. I have a ton of respect for both of them."

No. 22 Menards Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet – Simon Pagenaud

Start:  1st
Finish:  4th 
Status:  Running
Laps Completed:  300/300
Laps Led:  Three times for 11 laps
Points Position:  1st (73 pts. ahead of Josef Newgarden)

RECAP: Simon Pagenaud started from the pole position in the Menards Chevrolet and challenged for the lead throughout the event on Sunday before securing a fourth-place finish that kept him in the lead in the Verizon IndyCar Series championship. On Saturday, Pagenaud captured the 500th overall pole position for Team Penske in its 50th year of competition when he recorded a two-lap time of 34.6334 seconds for an average speed of 185.855 mph. It was his fifth pole of the season and the seventh of his IndyCar career. Pagenaud was passed for the lead shortly after the start of Sunday's race by eventual winner Josef Newgarden, who proved to be the class of the field. It was the second top-five finish in the past three races for Pagenaud, who also challenged for the win two weeks ago at Road America in Elkhart Lake, Wis. Sunday's finish also marked the best result for Pagenaud in five career starts at Iowa. Pagenaud has held the top spot in the standings since the season's second race. Team Penske drivers occupy three of the top five positions in the championship standings: Pagenaud is first with 409 points, Power ranks third with 334 points while Castroneves is positioned fifth with 318 points.

QUOTE: "It was a great day overall for the Menards Chevy. We had a really good car at the start and unfortunately we ran an adjustment pretty quickly when the track changed with the Firestone rubber coming down halfway through the race. We ended up having to deal with what we had. We just didn't have enough pace at the end to contend for the win. So, fourth today I think is a great day, honestly. I'm very pleased with second in Phoenix and fourth here. Our short oval program has improved massively compared to last year. I'm proud of everyone at Team Penske and the 22 team did a fantastic job again."

Next Race: The Verizon IndyCar Series heads north of the border for the Honda Indy Toronto on Sunday, July 17 for a street-course battle. Race coverage begins at 2:30 p.m. ET on CNBC and the Advance Auto Parts INDYCAR Radio Network.