Castroneves Finishes Fourth at Kansas to Lead Team Penske
May 1, 2010
Photo courtesy of Steve Swope
KANSAS CITY, Kan. (May 1, 2010) - Team Penske maintained its lead in the IZOD IndyCar Series standings following a trio of solid performances Saturday in the Road Runner Turbo Indy 300 at Kansas Speedway.
Helio Castroneves led the Penske production as he drove the No. 3 Team Penske Dallara/Honda to a fourth-place finish in the 200-lap race around the 1.5-mile oval. The effort drew Castroneves closer in points to teammate Will Power, who continues to lead the series standings after finishing 12th on Saturday.
Castroneves is now third in the standings, just 28 points behind Power after Kansas race winner Scott Dixon took command of second place with his result on Saturday. Team Penske's Ryan Briscoe, who finished sixth in the race, is seventh in the standings, 58 points behind Power.
The performance in the final race before this month's Indianapolis 500 gave Castroneves hope that he can win the legendary race for a record-tying fourth time.
"It was a good start for us on the ovals," said Castroneves. "We ran clean, we ran strong and we ran inside the top-five most of the day. We lost a couple of positions at the end there, but there was so much traffic and the car really changed. It's pretty tough out there. You can't blink or you might lose your spot."
Briscoe, who started from the pole position, rallied from a problem in the pits early in the race to score his fourth top-10 finish of the season. He led the first 31 laps of the race and has now led 84 laps at Kansas over the last two seasons.
"We had a bit of a tough day out there today," said Briscoe. "We got out of sequence when we lost a wheel (on a pit stop) and that left us short a set of sticker tires. It was an exciting race and we probably passed more cars than anyone else out there. Considering the day we had, I feel pretty good that we were able to finish on the lead lap and bring home a top-six finish with the No. 6 Team Penske car. Hopefully we can learn from today and go into the Indianapolis 500 in good shape."
Power, who won two of the first four races this season, also encountered an early problem on pit lane, but recovered to maintain his place atop the IndyCar Series standings. He now leads Dixon by 26 points after five rounds of racing.
"I had a busy day out there in the Verizon car," Power said. "The first stop I went a touch long in the pit box which cost us some time. The car felt pretty good all day. The restarts were interesting and I definitely have a better idea of who I can work with out there. Overall, I'm glad we ran as well as we did and I'm feeling good going into Indy."
The final tune-up before Indianapolis and the first oval race of the season proved to be something to build on for Team Penske, which has won at the Brickyard a record 15 times.
"We were able to get into a good rhythm today and I think we created some good momentum for the month of May," added Castroneves. "At the end of the day, it was a positive result for Team Penske."
The opening day of practice for the Indianapolis 500 is scheduled for Saturday, May 15. Pole qualifying is Saturday, May 22, with the race slated for Sunday, May 30.