INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (May 25, 2008) - Team Penske’s Helio Castroneves came back from serious damage to his car to finish fourth Sunday in the 92nd running of the Indianapolis 500.
Meanwhile, teammate Ryan Briscoe encountered trouble in the pits and finished 23rd.
Castroneves struck debris from a crash early in the race, but his crew repaired the No. 3 Team Penske Honda/Dallara and got him back in the race.
"Fourth place is definitely not what we expected,” Castroneves said. “We tried everything we could. We had a little issue with the debris. I was trying to avoid a slow car; I slammed on the brakes instead of hitting him. I pulled away and a piece of the debris hit my front wing, so we had to stop to change that. Let me tell you, wow, what a team.”
Briscoe was running well when he collided with Danica Patrick’s car in the pits. The accident forced Team Penske to park the No. 6 Honda/Dallara.
“From what I can see, there was still plenty of room on the right side for her to get around and there are people pointing fingers, but that's not the way we are,” Briscoe said. “We both have a brake pedal in our cars, and from what I can tell, there was still plenty of room for her to get around me. I was trying to get around (Dan) Wheldon, and I was staying in the middle lane. I got ran up in the back, and it's a shame."
Castroneves thanked his team for the strategy that got him back into the race. Even though he finished behind winner Scott Dixon, runner-up Vitor Meira and third-place finisher Marco Andretti, Castroneves gave the credit for the comeback to his team.
“What a great strategy,” Castroneves said. “Tim Cindric and all my guys, led by Rick Rinaman, they were fantastic. We were patient. Unfortunately, overall, it was very difficult to pass. We were just trying to keep gaining spots. Wow, what an incredible team. I am extremely honored to be part of it. Now, let’s think about the championship.”
The race featured eight caution flags in all for 69 laps of yellow-flag running.
With the victory, Dixon takes over the IndyCar Series championship lead from Castroneves, who is now second in the standings, just 15 points off the pace.
Team Penske returns to action next weekend at the Milwaukee Mile with the ABC Supply/AJ Foyt Indy 225 scheduled to take the green flag at 4 p.m. ET on Sunday, June 1 (ABC-TV).