Verizon IndyCar Series Race Report - Pocono

August 22, 2016

Track: Pocono Raceway
Race: ABC Supply 500
Date: August 22, 2016

No. 2 hum by Verizon Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet – Juan Pablo Montoya

Start:  15th
Finish: 8th
Status: Running
Laps Completed: 200/200
Laps Led: 0
Points Position: 13th (-174)

Recap: The song remained the same for Juan Pablo Montoya in the ABC Supply 500 at Pocono Raceway in Long Pond, Pennsylvania. The two-time Indy 500 champion has battled bad luck all season and it continued with a Saturday practice crash. He recovered to secure a top-10 finish after starting 15th on the grid in his No. 2 hum by Verizon Chevy. The scheduled Sunday race date was postponed to Monday due to inclement weather. Under a mostly sunny sky Monday afternoon, Montoya quickly worked his way into the top 10 and was able to stay there throughout much of the race. He reached the second position while teams cycled through green-flag stops in the early going and moved up to third as teammate Will Power claimed the race lead. Looking for additional downforce throughout the race due to breezy conditions, Montoya asked for wing adjustments at virtually every pit stop. The changes were enough to score an eighth-place finish. It was his eighth top-10 finish of the season.

Quote: "The hum by Verizon Chevrolet ran well for most of the race. We had some problems with understeer and that made for a tough day. Things didn't turn out the way we would have liked it to, as we definitely hoped for better results. I'm very proud of the team and how they pulled together the whole weekend and throughout today. We will continue to hold our heads up and look towards the next race in Texas."

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

Start: 4th
Finish: 19th 
Status: Contact
Laps Completed:  63/200
Laps Led:  0
Points Position (behind leader): 5th (-113 pts.)

Recap: Helio Castroneves mixed good and bad luck on Monday in the ABC Supply 500. The good part was that he walked away from a frightening pit road incident. The bad was that the contact between three cars on pit road ended Castroneves' day after just 63 laps. While Castroneves was attempting to leave his pit stall, the cars of Charlie Kimball and Alexander Rossi collided behind the three-time Indy 500 winner. Rossi's car was launched over the front end of the No. 3 Hitachi Chevrolet near the cockpit, but Castroneves walked away uninjured. However, the accident did end his day – a day that started with promise in the fourth position. The 19th-place finish pushed Castroneves from third to fifth in the championship standings. It was the second-consecutive race for Castroneves to finish outside the top 10 after being the model of consistency earlier in the season. He remains in the championship hunt but cannot afford another unfortunate circumstance.

Quote: "It's just a shame. The Hitachi Chevy was really having a good day and we just had another good pit stop when I was coming out of the pits. All of a sudden there was a car on top of me. It was a little strange to be honest. The Team Penske guys worked really hard to try and fix the car but there was a lot of damage. It's certainly unfortunate because this will hurt us in the championship battle but our team will never give up. We'll move on to Texas where, fortunately, we've had a lot of success. I'm glad nobody got hurt in that thing on pit road. IndyCar does a lot to keep us safe."

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

Start: 8th
Finish: 1st (29th career VICS victory)
Status: Running
Laps Completed:  200/200
Laps Led:  55
Points Position (behind leader): 2nd (-20 pts.)

Recap: Will Power continued his hot streak Monday by winning the ABC Supply 500 at Pocono Raceway to move within 20 points of the lead in the Verizon IndyCar Series championship. It was Power's fourth trip to Victory Lane in the No. 12 Verizon Chevrolet in the last six races, closing the gap with Team Penske teammate Simon Pagenaud, who crashed out of the race and finished 18th. Despite missing the season opener because of illness, Power is within striking distance of his second Verizon IndyCar Series championship with just three races remaining in the 2016 season. Power started eighth on the grid and complained of handling issues in the early stages, but steadily began to march forward in the second half of the race. He took the lead from Ryan Hunter-Reay just prior to the final round of pit stops by logging the fastest lap of the race at 218.499 mph. Power went on to lead 48 of the final 50 trips around the 2.5-mile 'Tricky Triangle' to register his fourth win of the season and the 29th of his series career which ties him for 11th on the all-time list with a pair of Team Penske greats – Rick Mears and Helio Castroneves. Power did have to deal with a hard-charging Mikhail Aleshin down the stretch, but was able to beat the Russian by 1.1459 seconds. It was Team Penske's ninth triumph at Pocono. Mears leads the way with three of those victories.

Quote: "Well, I felt like this place owed us. We’ve led a lot of laps here. The Verizon Chevrolet started off really, really difficult to drive. We adjusted on it all day and for the second half of the race, the car was just awesome, awesome. Awesome in traffic, really fast. Just a lot of fun to drive. The Firestone tires were really good today. Very consistent for the whole stint. Just lost a little at the end there, so thank you Firestone, as always awesome tires and very reliable. Mikhail (Aleshin) was giving me a lot of heat there at the end. I was like, 'Man is he going to get me?' He was close. That is as good as it gets. No mistakes. Great stops. As an overall team effort. That was as good of a day you could possible get. Thanks to my team! It was a good points day. We are chipping away at it and obviously there is still a lot to go.  Now we will give it everything. We will give it everything because we really want to win this championship. Especially after such a rough start to the year and the first half of the year where I was feeling horrible and could hardly complete a race physically. We are really coming back strong."

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

Start:  14th 
Finish: 18th
Status: Contact
Laps Completed:  157/200
Laps Led:  1
Points Position:  1st (+20)

Recap: Simon Pagenaud, aside from some mechanical woes in the Indianapolis 500, had been able to avoid trouble as he pursues his first Verizon IndyCar Series championship, but a late-race crash in Monday's ABC Supply 500 ended that streak. Pagenaud had just made his final stop of the day when the No. 22 Menards Chevrolet bottomed out on the race surface causing the steering wheel to jerk from the points leader's hands sending the car into the inside retaining wall. The damage cost him the final 44 laps, but not the lead in the standings. With the win, though, teammate Will Power closed the gap to 20 points after starting the day with a 58-point advantage. Pagenaud was not injured, but the crash left him with an 18th-place finish and a rearview mirror full of Power with just three races remaining on the schedule. Pagenaud started 14th and was able to lead a lap during the exchange of pit stops to collect a bonus point, but it was far from an ideal afternoon for the Frenchman.

Quote: "The car bottomed and I lost the steering and went straight to the wall. Really weird because I had been bottoming out but not to that extent. It felt okay leaving the pits. Turn 1 was fine. Turn 2 was fine. I don't know. That one's weird but it's definitely a bit of a shame. It’s really disappointing because the Menards Chevrolet wasn't great, but was good enough to score some points. There's nothing we can do about it now, so we'll move on to Texas. I don't think it changes anything. We've gone all out all season and that’s not going to change."

Next Race: The Verizon IndyCar Series heads to Texas Motor Speedway on Saturday, August 27 to complete the Firestone 600 that was suspended in early June after 71 laps were completed due to inclement weather. Television coverage on NBC Sports Network will begin at 9 p.m. ET with live radio coverage by the IndyCar Radio Network.