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Castroneves Races to Top-10 in Iowa Corn Indy 300

July 13, 2014




THE RACE

Verizon IndyCar Series
Iowa Corn Indy 300
Newton, Iowa
July 12, 2014

THE RESULTS

No. 2 PPG Automotive Refinish Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet
Driver: Juan Pablo Montoya
Starting Position: 19
Finish Position: 16
Driver's Points Position: 5

No. 3 Hitachi Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet
 Driver: Helio Castroneves
Starting Position: 3
Finish Position: 8
Driver's Points Position: 1
 
The No. 12 Verizon Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet
Driver: Will Power
Starting Position: 9
Finish Position: 14
Driver's Points Position: 2
 

THE RACE REVIEW
    
Juan Pablo Montoya
No. 2 PPG Automotive Refinish Team Penske  Dallara/Chevrolet

    
· Juan Pablo Montoya began Saturday night’s Iowa Corn Indy 300 from the 19th position after posting a two-lap average speed of 182.317 miles per around the seven-eighths-of-a-mile oval on Friday evening.

· The handling of the No. 2 PPG Automotive Refinish Chevy was not to Montoya’s liking during the early laps of the race as the car developed an understeer condition in Turns 3 and 4.

· A brief rain shower around lap 40 brought out a red flag and stopped the race. When racing resumed, Montoya brought his Chevy down pit road for four Firestone tires, fuel and an adjustment to the front wing. He restarted in the 16th position at lap 63, but quickly made his way inside the top 10 at lap 80.

· During the next green-flag run, part of the back wing of the No. 2 PPG Chevy came loose and blew on to the track. A lap 90 caution period gave the Team Penske crew an opportunity to fix the damage on pit lane, but Montoya lost a lap to the race leaders in the process.

· Despite the setback, which saw Montoya fall to 18th in the running order, the Colombian racer was turning some of the fastest laps on the track. He was able to take the “wave around” to get back on the lead lap when a caution flag flew at lap 161.

· Back on the lead lap, Montoya began to march his way through the field as he once again joined the top 10 at lap 229.

· Following great pit work by the No. 2 PPG crew under a lap 231 caution, Montoya restarted the race from the seventh position at lap 242.

· At lap 282, while trying to make a pass on the No. 20 car driven by Ed Carpenter for the sixth position, Carpenter made contact with Montoya. The damage from the accident forced Montoya to retire from the race. He was credited with a 16th-place finish.

· With the result, Montoya dropped to fifth in the championship standings, now 66 points behind Team Penske teammate Helio Castroneves.
    

WHAT THEY ARE SAYING

JUAN PABLO MONTOYA

YOU LOOKED TO BE IN POSITION FOR STRONG RESULT. WHAT HAPPENED TO END YOR RACE EARLY?

“Our PPG Chevy was really good today. We had some issues during the weekend but we never gave up. Yesterday in qualifying got really loose and we came back today really strong, passing people. I got inside of (Ed Carpenter) and he was running high and then all of a sudden (he) decided to run low. He had been running every lap on the top. I got a run – I got inside of him and he just turned down on me. Very frustrating deal but we have to move on. We’re still in good shape.”

 

THE RACE REVIEW
    
Helio Castroneves
No. 3 Hitachi Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet    

· Helio Castroneves qualified the No. 3 Hitachi Chevrolet in the third position on Friday evening with a two-lap average speed of 185.685 miles per hour.

· Over the initial laps of the 300-lap race, Castroneves was happy with the handling of the Hitachi Chevrolet, noting that he could run any lane on the track.

· Castroneves moved his way into the second position before a rain shower brought out the red flag.

· A great pit stop by the No. 3 Team Penske crew helped Castroneves take the lead on lap 43. He led the field for the next 34 laps.

· Over the course of the race, strategist Roger Penske elected not to make any adjustments to the Hitachi Chevrolet, only changing the four Firestone tires and filling the car with fuel during the team’s pit stops.

· Castroneves ran among the top five for the majority of the race and he was in position to contend for a win over the final laps.

· A lap 282 caution period gave the teams an option of coming to pit road for fresh tires or remaining on the track and keeping their track position. After electing stay on the track, Castroneves was unable to hold off the drivers with fresher tires over the final 10 laps of green-flag racing. As a result, the three-time Indianapolis 500 champion crossed the finish line in the eighth position.

· The finish allowed Castroneves to take sole possession of the Verizon IndyCar Series points lead. He now owns a nine-point lead over Team Penske teammate, Will Power.
    

WHAT THEY ARE SAYING

HELIO CASTRONEVES
NOT THE FINISH YOU WERE HOPING FOR BUT HOW DOES IT FEEL TO LEAVE IOWA WITH THE POINTS LEAD?

“The Hitachi Chevy was awesome today. I’m really proud of the team. To be honest, from the first practice session to the race we changed a lot on this car and it was great. We were running in the top three most of the day. Obviously, finishing in the eighth position isn’t where we deserved to finish. But it was a gamble there at the end. We are leaving here with the championship lead and that is what we need to focus on moving forward.”

 

THE RACE REVIEW
    
Will Power
No. 12 Verizon Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet    

· Power began Saturday’s race from the ninth position after posting a two-lap average speed of 184.683 miles per hour Friday around the .875-mile Iowa Speedway.

· Despite a loose-handling condition exiting the turns, Power was able to maneuver his No. 12 Verizon Chevrolet toward the top-five early in the event.

· After a strong early pit stop under caution by the Verizon team, Power returned to the track in the fourth position at lap 43.

· After the delay due to rain, the No. 12 Verizon Chevy displayed great speed over the ensuing green-flag runs, never falling outside of the top-five cars as the race moved past the halfway point. Power ran as high as the second position during the 300-lap race.

· In position for a top-five result, the team elected to remain on the racing surface to protect Power’s track position when a lap 282 caution flag flew late in the event. Like his Team Penske teammate Castroneves, Power could not hold the drivers at bay that had stopped for fresher tires during the caution.

· While fighting for the best finish he could over the final green-flag run, Power made contact with the outside wall, which caused one of his front tires to lose air over the final laps. Unfortunately, Power lost more positions and he was able to nurse his Chevrolet home in 14th place.

· With the result, Power dropped to second in the Verizon IndyCar championship standings. He now trails Castroneves by nine points as the series heads to Toronto for a doubleheader on the Exhibition Place street circuit next weekend.
    

WHAT THEY ARE SAYING

WILL POWER

HOW TOUGH WAS IT TO GET THE BEST FINISH POSSIBLE AT THE END WITH OTHER DRIVERS ON FRESH TIRES?

"I'm proud of the Verizon Chevy boys. It was a tough call at the end there. Had we went with the new tires we might have been looking pretty good.  But a tough day to work hard with the Verizon Chevy doing so well, and then to finish 14th just wasn't where we expected to be tonight.  We'll move forward and look ahead to Toronto."