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Montoya Podiums in Race One at Houston Grand Prix

June 29, 2014




THE RACE

Verizon IndyCar Series
Shell and Pennzoil Grand Prix of Houston – Race 1
Houston, Tex.
June 28, 2014

THE RESULTS

The No. 2 Verizon Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet
Driver: Juan Pablo Montoya
Starting Position: 11
Finish Position: 2
Driver's Points Position: 5

No. 3 Pennzoil Ultra Platinum Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet
Driver: Helio Castroneves
Starting Position: 2
Finish Position: 9
Driver's Points Position: 2

The No. 12 Verizon Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet
Driver: Will Power
Starting Position: 18
Finish Position: 14
Driver's Points Position: 1   

THE RACE REVIEW
    
Juan Pablo Montoya
No. 2 Verizon Team Penske  Dallara/Chevrolet    

·  Montoya qualified his No. 2 Verizon Chevrolet in the 11th position after advancing to the second round of qualifying Saturday with a lap of 59.9649 seconds around the 1.683-mile road course.

·  Scheduled for 90 laps, the first race of the Shell and Pennzoil Grand Prix of Houston  was adjusted to a one hour and 50 minute timed event due to the weather.

·  Beginning the race on the Firestone rain tires in wet conditions on track, Montoya was able to maintain his position just outside the top 10 early on.

·  On the first pit stop of the day at lap 26, race strategist Jon Bouslog and the Verizon team opted to switch to the black, primary tires as the track surface began to dry.

·  A lap 48 caution period gave the team the opportunity to bring Montoya down pit road for his final pit stop of the day, setting him up for a run to the checkered flag.

·  After other competitors elected to visit pit lane during a late-race caution, Montoya was able to stay on the track to pick up valuable track position.

·  A great pass on Tony Kanaan put Montoya into the third position. When the No. 19 car of Justin Wilson had to pit for fuel, the No. 2 Verizon Chevy took over second place.

·  A final caution period with only a few minutes remaining in the event put Montoya on the rear bumper of race leader, Carlos Huertas. Unfortunately, an incident as the field tried to get up to speed resulted in the race ending under caution and Montoya was not able to attempt a late-race pass for the win.

·  The second-place finish is the best result for Montoya since rejoining the Verizon IndyCar Series this season.

·  With the result, Montoya moved into the fifth position in the Verizon IndyCar Series standings, now 123 points behind leader and Team Penske teammate, Will Power heading into Sunday’s second race of the weekend.
    

WHAT THEY ARE SAYING

JUAN PABLO MONTOYA

DO YOU THINK YOU HAD A SHOT AT THE WIN IF IT WASN’T FOR THE CAUTION ON THE LAST RESTART?

“Yes, I had a good jump (on the restart) there. It is one of those deals; it's racing. That's what happens.  I had a shot once at passing. It was really close. I thought he wasn't going to make it on gas, but congratulations to Carlos (Huertas). I think my Verizon Chevy was unbelievable today. This race, especially when it rains, is all about keeping it off the wall and running smart all day, and we did that. I'm starting to get there, and I'm pretty happy."

CAN YOU REMEMBER A BIGGER DAY FOR COLOMBIAN SPORTS, WITH THE SOCCER TEAM WINNING IN THE WORLD CUP AND SWEEPING THE PODIUM HERE AT HOUSTON?

“Oh, it's going to be a huge day. Three Colombians, I think the first time in the history of motor racing in the world that three Colombians are on a podium top at the IndyCar level, a top motorsport level, it's unbelievable. It's really exciting. On my team, I think they've got a good shot at the World Cup, as well.  They're playing really well, and yeah, next match is against Brazil, so that's going to be fun, having Helio as a teammate.”

 

THE RACE REVIEW

Helio Castroneves
No. 3 Pennzoil Ultra Platinum Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet

·  Castroneves started Saturday afternoon’s race from the second position after posting a lap of 59.4463 during the Firestone Fast Six qualifying session.

·  After the wet start to the race, Castroneves settled into the fourth postion on the fourth lap. He ran inside the top five for the majority of the race.

·  Race strategist Roger Penske elected to remove the Firestone rain tires and apply the red, alternate tires during a lap 27 pit stop.

·  Castroneves made good use of the new racing slicks as he worked his way back up to the second position at lap 34.

·  Sticking to its planned race strategy of two pit stops, the No.3 Pennzoil Chevrolet team remained on the racing surface until lap 59 when Castroneves entered pit lane for fuel and another set of red tires.

·  Unfortunately, Castroneves lost track position to some of the drivers who pitted earlier in the sequence and he was not able to make his way through the field before the race ended.

·  With his ninth-place finish, Castroneves was able to hold down the second spot in the Verizon IndyCar Series point standings and he now trails Power by 33 points entering Sunday’s second race in Houston.
    
WHAT THEY ARE SAYING    

HELIO CASTRONEVES

ON SATURDAY’S RESULT

"Obviously, we were looking for a better day today after qualifying on the front row with the Pennzoil Chevrolet. With Brazil winning their World Cup match on penalty kicks I was really feeling good about the day. The rain, I think, threw all of us for a bit of a loop. It was very wet to start and there were some corners that never dried. We just weren’t prepared for that. But we know we have a fast car in dry conditions. Hopefully we will qualify well again (Sunday) and have a better ending.”

 

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

·  Will Power began Saturday’s race from the 18th position based on his lap of 1:00:3670 during Round 1 of the morning qualifying session.

·  Based on the wet conditions and their qualifying position, the No. 12 Verizon Chevrolet team elected to go with a three-pit stop strategy for the race.

·  Race strategist Tim Cindric called for the team’s first pit stop at lap 19 for additional Firestone rain tires as the track was still significantly wet at that time.

·  Power was able to race his way into the 15th position at lap 34.

·  After pitting for Firestone racing slicks at lap 31, Power began to move toward the top 10, eventually making his way to the 11th position in the Verizon Chevy at lap 53.

·  While pushing to maximize his finishing position before the checkered flag, Power slid into the tire barrier at lap 57 to bring out a caution flag. While Power was able to continue, he did fall a lap down to the race leaders as a result of the incident.

·  Power -  a two-time Verizon IndyCar Series winner in 2014 who has claimed 21 career victories on road or temporary street courses – was able to climb to the 14th position before the checkered flag flew. Unfortunately, Saturday’s result represented his first finish outside the top 10 in 2014.

·   With the result, Power now leads the Verizon IndyCar Series point standings by 33 points over Castroneves.
    
WHAT THEY ARE SAYING    

WILL POWER

ON HIS TOP-10 STREAK COMING TO AN END IN HOUSTON

"Hard day today. If we could have hung in there a little longer we could have been in good shape. I made a mistake there and I feel bad for the Verizon Chevy boys after I went into the wall. That's racing. We'll try it again tomorrow and go for better results."