Castroneves Posts Career-Best Finish at Toronto
July 9, 2012TORONTO, Ontario (July 8, 2012) – Helio Castroneves’ career-best finish in the Honda Indy Toronto pushed him back to third place in the IZOD IndyCar Series championship standings and led the way for Team Penske in an unusual race Sunday on the streets of Toronto.
While Castroneves earned a sixth-place result, his Team Penske teammates, Will Power and Ryan Briscoe, encountered contact in the late laps and finished 15th and 19th, respectively.
Castroneves held on for his fourth consecutive top-10 finish in the No. 3 Penske Truck Rental Dallara/Chevrolet, as he earned his best finish in eight career races at the 11 turn, 1.75-mile Toronto street circuit. The winner on the streets of St. Petersburg to start the season, Castroneves managed to stay true to his two scheduled pit stops and spent most of the day just outside the top-10 before closing strong to finish sixth.
“I’m extremely proud of the Penske Truck Rental boys,” said Castroneves, who only had earned one other top-10 finish at Toronto over his distinguished career before Sunday’s result. “They did a great job in the pits. Finishing sixth here in Toronto is my best finish so I am pleased with that. This is the first time I have been able to keep my nose clean out here. Our car was certainly good enough to finish in the top six and I am glad that we were able to stay out of the wrecks and finish like we did.”
Power’s No. 12 Verizon Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet made contact with another car and the impact broke the front wing on Power’s machine with 29 laps remaining in the race. When a portion of the wing fell off, it punctured the left front tire and forced an untimely pit stop which eventually led to Power falling a lap down to the leaders. The resulting finish dropped Power from first to second in the series standings, marking the first time in 2012 that a Team Penske driver has not been leading the IZOD IndyCar Series championship. Power is now 34 points behind Sunday’s race winner, Ryan Hunter-Reay, in the standings, though the Verizon driver continues to lead the Road Course series rankings.
“It ruined my day,” said Power of the incident. “We had the quickest car in town today. There’s not much more you can say. We got caught out by a yellow (flag) and then we just got caught back in the (field) and messing around trying to find our way back. That’s on me. I should have known. You can’t touch the front wing on anything.”
After spending much of the last 50 laps running inside the top 10, Briscoe was in line for a solid finish when his No. 2 Hitachi Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet was caught in a multi-car accident with just five laps remaining. Unfortunately for Briscoe, the outcome was a 19th-place finish that kept him positioned in ninth place in the championship standings.
“In our strategy for the No. 2 Hitachi car we were counting on a yellow (flag) a little bit earlier, but we got it in the end,” said Briscoe. “We certainly based our strategy off catching a couple more yellows than we did, so unfortunately we had to pit at the end which got us out of track position. We were looking alright for a top-10 finish but during the melee down in turn 3 during that last restart we got hit in the back end and it ended our day. It was great having our sponsors from Hitachi here at the track today, just too bad the day ended how it did.”
Castroneves, who had never finished better than 10th at Toronto, said he was just hanging on for a respectable finish.
“I was literally trying to survive to the end,” Castroneves said. “It was a big day for us, especially with the big contenders making mistakes. For us, third place in the championship is great. We’re ready to go to Edmonton. We’re always good there. I can’t wait to get there.”
The IndyCar Series resumes on Sunday, July 22 with the Edmonton Indy at Edmonton City Centre Airport in Edmonton, Alberta. Live coverage will begin at 2:45 p.m. ET on NBC Sports Network.
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