SPEEDWAY, Ind. (May 30, 2010) - Team Penske completed a challenging day Sunday with a pair of top-10 finishes and a crash during the 94th Indianapolis 500.
Will Power led the way for the team with an eighth-place finish after starting second at the "greatest spectacle in racing." Power and the No. 12 Verizon Team Penske squad were hampered by two pit stop mistakes, but managed to earn a top-10 result and maintain their lead in the IZOD IndyCar Series standings. Helio Castroneves, who started from the pole position and was going for his record-tying fourth Indianapolis 500 victory, finished ninth after challenging for a victory late in the race.
Ryan Briscoe also ran strong before a crash on the 148th lap of the 200-lap race. Briscoe, who was running inside the top-three at the time of the crash, was not injured and was credited with a 24th-place finish.
Power summed it up as a disappointing day for the entire Team Penske organization, which has won the famous race a record 15 times and earned three of the top four starting spots entering the event. On Power's first pit stop of the day, the fuel hose was still engaged on the car when Power left the pits. The Australian racer had to return to pit road to remove a portion of the hose and the team was also assessed a penalty for the incident. After working his way back up front, Power lost positions again late in the race when the team had a wheel issue on a stop and had to make a return trip to pit road to correct the problem.
"As a team, we just made too many mistakes today," said Power, who now leads Indy 500 winner Dario Franchitti by 11 points in the standings with his efforts Sunday in the No. 12 Verizon car. "We had our first stop go wrong. I went long, and then we had a wheel problem in another stop. You can't win this race when you keep dropping to the back."
Castroneves echoed the disappointment after he fell to 15th when his No. 3 Team Penske Dallara/Honda stalled in the pits. However, he battled back to third place before he was forced to pit late in the race for fuel.
"Well, we always say the one that makes the fewest mistakes wins the race and I made one that put us too far back," said Castroneves. "We were fighting understeer and oversteer all day but we were still there fighting at the end and we still managed a top-10 result. Congratulations to Dario - those guys were on it today and they deserve to be Indy 500 champions."
Briscoe said his No. 6 Team Penske Dallara/Honda got out of the groove and lost traction before hitting the wall on the exit of Turn 4. "It was really slick out there, and we had just added some downforce to the car," said Briscoe. "But we were on cold tires and just got up into the marbles. It was the point of no return, and we hit the wall."
Power congratulated Franchitti and indicated that all three Penske cars had the speed to win the race, but didn't have the proper circumstances to claim victory.
"We had a fast car," Power said. "I think we could have hung with Dario, no problem. It's the lesson of this place. You can't make mistakes. You have to nail everything on a day like today. That's how you win this thing."
The IZOD IndyCar Series season resumes next Saturday with the Firestone 550k at Texas Motor Speedway.