Briscoe, Castroneves Post Top-10 Finishes in Iowa
June 26, 2011
Photo courtesy of Steve Swope
NEWTON, Iowa (June 25, 2011) – Ryan Briscoe and Helio Castroneves led the way for Team Penske on Saturday night by finishing sixth and seventh, respectively, in the Iowa Corn Indy 250 under the lights at Iowa Speedway.
Unfortunately, Verizon Team Penske's Will Power suffered an accident midway through the race and finished 21st, as he sustained a minor concussion and fell to second in the IZOD IndyCar Series championship standings.
Briscoe, who started 10th, battled hard in the No. 6 PPG Automotive Refinish Team Penske Dallara/Honda and was able to work his way inside the top-five early in the race thanks to solid pit work from his crew. Though he experienced some issues on race restarts due to handling problems, he was able score an important finish that moved him into sixth in the championship standings.
"The PPG Automotive Refinish car was strong tonight," said Briscoe, who noted that his crew spent the shortest amount of time on pit lane throughout the evening. "During that last part of the race we had a fast car, it was definitely capable of being a top-three car, but I just couldn't find my way around a couple of the guys in front of me. All in all it was a good night though. Iowa Speedway is a great track, the stands were full and I think we put on a good show for the fans. I am looking forward to Toronto."
Castroneves, who ran among the leaders early in the race after bouncing back quickly from a 13th-place starting spot, came back from a lap down to earn his fourth consecutive top-10 result. For the second consecutive week, a cut tire prevented a top finish by Castroneves in the No. 3 Guidepoint Systems Team Penske Dallara/Honda. As he was running second behind series leader Dario Franchitti, the left rear tire on Castroneves machine began to deflate and he was forced to pit lane to replace the tire, one week after suffering the same issue late while leading the race in Milwaukee.
"The Guidepoint Systems car was very good tonight. We were good enough to fight for the lead and drive through the field. We were running up front, but once again we had the bad misfortune of the tire going flat," said Castroneves, who is now 12th in the series standings. "It's a shame, but it happens. From there, we did our best to fight our way back up. It was a great job by the No. 3 Guidepoint Systems guys – they gave me great pit stops and it's what we needed to get back in it. We've got great momentum now. We'll keep plugging away and we'll get that good finish. I know it's coming."
Power's race took a wrong turn early on when the Verizon car made contact with the machine of Charlie Kimball on pit lane during the first stop of the night. Power's car was damaged as a result of the contact and he spun and hit the wall on the 91st lap. Ultimately, the crash dropped him from a tie for the championship lead to 20 points behind Dario Franchitti in the standings at the halfway point in the season. After being examined at the track medical center, Power was diagnosed with a mild concussion and he will be re-evaluated this week.
"It was definitely a hard hit," said Power, who started Saturday night's race from the fifth position. "The Verizon car was damaged after the incident in the pits and we just had a problem with the steering and it came around on me. It's a tough result for us tonight. We'll do our best to get it back next race."
The IZOD IndyCar Series will take a week off before beginning three consecutive road/street course races with the Honda Indy Toronto on July 10. Power will return as defending champion on the challenging Toronto, Ontario, Canada street circuit.