EDMONTON, Alberta, Canada (July 25, 2010) - A controversial decision involving two Team Penske drivers cost the team a victory on Sunday in Edmonton and led to a second-place finish by Will Power, a fourth-place result by Ryan Briscoe and a 10th-place finish by Helio Castroneves.
Power started on pole and dominated the early part of the Honda Indy Edmonton in the No. 12 Verizon Team Penske car. Looking for his third consecutive win and fifth victory overall this season, Power led 76 laps of the 95-lap race on the fast City Centre Airport street circuit. Castroneves, who started second in the No. 3 Team Penske Dallara/Honda, passed Power for the lead on lap 78 and the three-time Indy 500 winner appeared to be headed for his second win of the season.
An incident on track forced a late yellow caution flag, however, which set up a dramatic race restart with just four laps remaining. IZOD IndyCar Series officials then issued a black flag penalty to Castroneves for what they determined was "blocking" in Turn 1 on the restart. Castroneves remained on track and did not serve the drive-through penalty for the alleged infraction. As a result of the incident, Scott Dixon was able to get by Power and he was credited with the race victory. Power took the checkered flag in second place for his eighth top-five result this season.
"That was a tough race," said Power, who actually added to his lead in the series championship standings with Sunday's result. "It stayed green for a really long time at the beginning. I had a great car today. The Verizon Team Penske crew gave me excellent stops and a good strategy. The traffic made it very difficult out there and the last half of the race had a bunch of yellow flags, which made it tough on the lead cars. On the last restart I had a good run on Helio, but I just didn't quite make it around. I lost a spot to Dixon and managed to bring home a second-place finish. It was not the result I was hoping for and it was a tough one for the team. We will sort this out, learn from it and move forward."
Clearly upset with the penalty that cost him a victory, Castroneves, who was scored in 10th place, confronted series officials after the race. He later apologized for his actions.
"Obviously, I disagree with the decisions made by the race officials on the last
restart in today's race, but there is no excuse for my actions after the checkered flag," Castroneves said. "I apologize to my team, our sponsors, the fans and the entire IZOD IndyCar Series community for my behavior. My actions were totally wrong and I acted inappropriately to some people who are my friends and people I respect very much. Obviously, I am a very emotional person and today I let my emotions get the better of me and I'm very sorry for that."
Starting from the fifth position on Sunday, Briscoe overcame some early damage to the No. 6 Team Penske Dallara/Honda to earn his fourth top-four finish in the last five races. Briscoe brushed the wall in Turn 7 just a few laps into the race and the damage affected the handling of his machine throughout the remainder of the event.
"It was a tough race because I nicked the wall only a few laps into the race and bent the rear toe link," said Briscoe. "From that point on the car was a handful, especially on the restarts. When the tires were clean and hot the car was still very fast and I was able to get by the Ganassi cars (Dixon and Dario Franchitti). Unfortunately, I just couldn't hold them off on the restarts. It was disappointing that we couldn't battle for the win today but I'm happy that we were able to hold on and get a good finish."
Power's runner-up finish padded his lead in the series standings to 50 points over Franchitti, who finished third. Briscoe remained fourth in the championship chase, now 96 points behind Power, while Castroneves is still sixth, now 115 points behind the leader.
The IZOD IndyCar Series season resumes on Sunday, August 8 with the Honda Indy 200 at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in Lexington, Ohio.