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Montoya Fights His Way to a Top-5 Finish at Sonoma

August 25, 2014




THE RACE

Verizon IndyCar Series
GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma
Sonoma Raceway
August 24, 2014
 
THE RESULTS

No. 2 Verizon Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet
Driver: Juan Pablo Montoya

Starting Position: 19
Finish Position: 5
Driver's Points Position: 6

No. 3 Hitachi Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet
Driver: Helio Castroneves
Starting Position: 6
Finish Position: 18
Driver's Points Position: 2

No. 12 Verizon Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet
Driver: Will Power
Starting Position: 1
Finish Position: 10
Driver's Points Position: 1

    

THE RACE REVIEW
    
Juan Pablo Montoya
No. 2 Verizon Team Penske  Dallara/Chevrolet  
 

· Juan Pablo Montoya began Sunday afternoon’s GoPro Grand Prix at Sonoma Raceway from the 19th position after posting a lap of 1:18:8102 around the 12-turn, 2.385-mile road course during Saturday afternoon qualifying.

· On the opening lap of the event, a multi-car incident caused a quick caution period, during which race strategist Jon Bouslog called Montoya down pit road for four Firestone “red” alternate tires and fuel.

· The early pit stop on lap two allowed Montoya to stay out on track when other competitors began making green flag pit stops. As a result, Montoya moved into the top 10 at lap 15 before coming to pit road again at lap 20.

· Upon returning to the racing surface, Montoya turned his quickest lap of the race at lap 23 as he began to move his way back through the field.

· Despite a tight-handling condition on the No. 2 Verizon Chevrolet, Montoya was able to make his way to the front of the field at lap 61, leading a total of four laps on the day.

· After making his final pit stop at lap 63, Montoya never fell outside the top eight. The former Verizon IndyCar Series champion made his way into the fifth position before crossing the finish line for his seventh top-five result of the season.

· Despite the strong finish, Montoya fell to the sixth position in the championship standings. He is now 107 points behind Team Penske teammate, Will Power, with one race remaining in the season. He was officially eliminated from contention for the 2014 Verizon IndyCar Series championship.
    

WHAT THEY ARE SAYING

JUAN PABLO MONTOYA

A SOLID OVERALL DAY AT SONOMA TO GET A TOP FIVE AFTER STARTING 19TH. HOW GOOD WAS YOUR CAR?

“It was a good weekend for the Verizon Chevy. I knew we had a really good car and that’s why I was a bit upset that we weren’t able to start up front yesterday. If we could’ve been in the top five, even in the top 10, I think we could be talking about a different result here today. But, unfortunately, I put us in a bit of a hole in qualifying. This Chevrolet was really, really fast today. I passed a lot of people and had a blast. We are no longer in the title fight, but we are going to Auto Club Speedway next weekend with one goal and that’s winning the race.”

 

THE RACE REVIEW

Helio Castroneves
No. 3 Hitachi Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet

    
· Helio Castroneves qualified the No. 3 Hitachi Chevrolet in the sixth position on Saturday afternoon when he posted a lap of 1:18:8771 seconds around the Sonoma circuit. It marked the fourth time he has qualified for the Firestone Fast Six final round this season.

· Unfortunately for Castroneves, bad luck struck on the opening lap of the race as he was caught up in a multi-car incident that resulted in damage to the front and back of the car.

· Race strategist Roger Penske called Castroneves down pit road for a new front wing, four Firestone “red” tires and fuel on lap two. He had to return to the pits on lap eight as the Hitachi crew had to make repairs to the right rear of the No. 3 Chevy. The extra time on pit lane resulted in the loss of 16 positions from the start of the 85-lap event.

· While maintaining his position on the lead lap, Castroneves drove a hard race to try and make up the lost track position. He would eventually make his way into the top five during the cycling of green flag pit stops, but was never able to catch the break needed to stay consistently at the front of the pack.

· While he was unable to race for a top finish, Castroneves never gave up on the day as he managed to pick up a couple of positions before crossing the finish line in 18th place.

· Despite the result, Castroneves maintained his second position in the championship standings. He now trails Power by 51 points heading into the last race of the season next weekend at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, Calif.
    

WHAT THEY ARE SAYING

HELIO CASTRONEVES

HOW TOUGH WAS IT TO RECOVER FROM THE INCIDENT EARLY IN THE RACE?

"It's a pretty disappointing finish, to be honest. The Hitachi Chevy was really fast all weekend and to get hit so early on in the race was really tough. That certainly put us behind, fixing the damage in the front and back of the car and it was tough to recover. So now, we are 50 points behind in the championship heading to the finale at Auto Club Speedway and with the double points there anything can happen. We are not giving up. We will keep on it and give everything we have next weekend to try and reach our goal. We are still in it and we know what we need to do now over the 500 miles."

 


THE RACE REVIEW

Will Power
No. 12 Verizon Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet
    

· Will Power began Sunday’s race from the pole position – his fourth Verizon P1 Pole Award of the season – after posting a lap of 1:17:4126 in the Firestone Fast Six final qualifying round Saturday.

· Power quickly took control of the race, leading 33 of the first 36 laps of the race. He only gave up the top spot when he made a green flag pit stop at lap 17.

·  After making his second pit stop of the day for Firestone “black” primary tires and fuel, Power restarted the race from the 12th position at lap 39 as other competitors elected to remain on the track.

· While attempting to carve his way through the field once the green flag was displayed, Power lost control of the No. 12 Verizon Chevrolet in turn seven of the 12-turn road course. He did a good job in keeping the car running and was able to continue. However, the lap 40 spin caused Power to fall to 20th in the running order.

· The loss of track position meant Power faced an uphill battle to try and win his fourth career race at Sonoma. Like his teammate Castroneves, Power drove with intensity to try and make up ground.

· After being scored in the 14th position at lap 81 of the 85-lap event, Power was able to use his road course prowess to pick up four spots over the final four laps to score a 10th place result in the penultimate race of the 2014 Verizon IndyCar Series season.

· With the finish, Power now owns a 51-point advantage over Castroneves as the series moves to the final race of the season next weekend at Auto Club Speedway.
    

WHAT THEY ARE SAYING

WILL POWER

HOW TOUGH WAS IT TO TRY AND RECOVER FROM THE SPIN IN THE MIDDLE OF THE RACE?

"It took me by surprise when I spun. Thankfully, I kept if off the clutch when it happened. That's just racing. I tried to save fuel towards the end with no overtakes left so I could make it to the end there, just going for points. Would have liked to have had a better finish but the Verizon Chevy Team will look to Fontana working towards the Championship."