Castroneves Falls Short and Finishes Second in Indy 500
May 26, 2014
Verizon IndyCar Series
The No. 2 Verizon Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet
No. 3 Pennzoil Platinum Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet
The No. 12 Verizon Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet
THE RACE REVIEW
Juan Pablo Montoya
· Montoya qualified the No. 2 Verizon Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet in the 10th position with a four-lap average speed of 231.007. His average speed was the actually second-fastest of second day of qualifying, but he was not a part of the Firestone Fast Nine as a result of his speed on the first day.
· Early in the Indianapolis 500, Montoya told his team that he was fighting an understeer condition around the high-speed Indianapolis Motor Speedway (IMS) oval. The car’s handling issue persisted throughout most of the race while the No. 2 Team Penske crew made multiple adjustments to the front and rear wings to help Montoya on track.
· Despite the handling issues, Montoya was able to get to the front of the field, taking the lead for the first time on lap 64 as he stretched his fuel window longer than some of the race leaders. In all, Montoya led three times for 16 laps.
· As the field began to make its third pit stops of the day around lap 95, Montoya was able to stay out a bit longer on track and pit on lap 99. The result was a successful pit cycle that saw the 2000 Indianapolis 500 winner move up to fifth place.
· Unfortunately, while entering pit lane at lap 132 for four tires, fuel and wing adjustments, Montoya was hit with a pit speed violation. The resulting drive-through penalty placed him in 14th position in the running order.
· Montoya began to methodically work his way back toward the front of the field, boosted by a strong restart on lap 176 that helped him return to the top 10.
· Following the red-flag period at lap 191 for cleanup following an accident, Montoya restarted the race in the fifth position. The understeer that hindered the No. 2 Verizon Chevy for much of the event still plagued Montoya as he tried to race for the win but he crossed the finish line in the fifth position for his second top-five result of the season.
· With the finish, Montoya improved eight spots to seventh in the driver point standings, now 122 points behind Indy 500 winner Ryan Hunter-Reay.
HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR FIRST VERIZON INDYCAR SERIES RACE BACK AT THE INDIANAPOLIS MOTOR SPEEDWAY OVAL?
“Unfortunately I made a mistake on one of the pit stops when I was resetting the fuel. I pressed the wrong button. We got a penalty for that but we came back. I was proud of the way we fought. I don’t think we had anything for (Ryan) Hunter-Reay or Helio (Castroneves). But I was happy with the Verizon Chevy and it was good to be back in Indy. It was cool to watch them swap the lead back and forth of the final laps. I had a good seat for it. I just wish we were in the middle of it, but we just had too much understeer at the end.” – Juan Pablo Montoya
THE RACE REVIEW
· Castroneves qualified the No. 3 Pennzoil Platinum Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet in the fourth position after posting a four-lap average speed of 230.649 mph, coming close to his fifth career Indianapolis 500 pole position.
· As the green flag waved to begin the 200-lap race, Castroneves was able to maintain his position solidly in the top five during the opening laps of the race. During his first green flag stop at lap 63, the Pennzoil team changed four tires, filled the car with fuel and made a front wing adjustment to help with the loose-handling condition Castroneves was experiencing in Turn 2 at IMS.
· Castroneves took over the race lead on lap 67 after a hard-fought battle with Marco Andretti. After leading for the next 24 laps, Castroneves returned to pit lane on lap 92 for fuel and four tires. At the halfway point of the race, Castroneves was running in the third position.
· Fighting his way back to the lead again on lap 108, Castroneves was able to pull away from the second place car of Ryan Hunter-Reay by 20 car lengths. Relinquishing the lead again on Lap 118 to come down pit road, the Pennzoil “Yellow Submarine” received four new tires, fuel and another wing adjustment to improve the handing of the car.
· Being caution free for the first 149 laps, the field finally made a pit stop under the yellow flag at lap 153. Castroneves and the Pennzoil Platinum Chevy was serviced with four tires and fuel and an additional front wing adjustment.
· In the closing stages of the race, the field saw several caution periods as Castroneves maintained his position in the top five throughout each sequence. An incident with 10 laps to go resulted in a red-flag period. Once the debris had been cleared and the race returned to green-flag conditions, only six laps remained.
· Castroneves engaged in a thrilling battle with Hunter-Reay over the final laps with each driver taking the lead on multiple occasions. Unfortunately, the three-time Indy 500 champion fell just short at the finish line as Hunter-Reay edged Castroneves by 0.0600 of a second for the second-closest finish in Indy 500 history.
· The result marked the 12th top-10 finish in 14 Indianapolis 500 starts for Castroneves. He improved one position in the Verizon IndyCar Series point standings as he is now third, 54 points behind Hunter-Reay.
WHAT THEY ARE SAYING
WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS AFTER COMING CLOSE TO GETTING YOUR FOURTH INDY 500 VICTORY?
“I wanted to give this to Roger (Penske) so bad. It was a great fight. I'll tell you what, it was great TV. I was having a great time. But congrats to Andretti and Ryan Hunter-Reay. They did an outstanding job. I want to thank Roger and my team. I'm so proud of the Shell/Pennzoil boys. Obviously, AAA, the Hitachi guys, Verizon, I want to thank everyone because it was close. Great points day for the team though. We’re back inside the top five in the standings and have a lot of momentum going to Detroit.” – Helio Castroneves
· Power began Sunday’s Memorial Day weekend race from the third position after posting a four-lap average speed of 230.697 mph during the Firestone Fast Nine qualifying round.
· The winner of the first race of the 2014 Verizon IndyCar Series at St. Petersburg, Power maintained his position inside the top-three cars for the first 36 laps of the Indianapolis 500.
· At lap 37, Power took command of the race by passing James Hinchcliffe. He led the next 20 laps of the race in the No. 12 Verizon Chevrolet.
· Knowing that he had a car that he could drive to the front, Power was patient on track as the race moved into the second half.
· At lap 129, Power was assessed a penalty for speeding on pit lane as he locked up his break while entering the pits for routine service. The drive-through penalty dropped Power back to the 19th position and made it challenging for the team for the balance of the race.
· Though he was able to work his way back to the lead pack with some fierce driving, Power wasn’t able to make up enough ground to fight for the win. He worked hard to earn an eighth-place finish when the checkered flags flew.
· With the result, Power fell to the second position in the Verizon IndyCar Series point standings. He now trails Ryan Hunter-Reay by 40 points heading into next week’s doubleheader race on the streets of Belle Isle in Detroit.
HOW WERE YOU ABLE TO EARN A TOP-10 FINIH IN THE INDY 500?
“It was unbelievable that the race went green for that long. I just really put us in a bad situation. A bloody speeding on pit lane penalty just ruined our day. Otherwise, we would have been in great shape. We had dropped back a little bit further than we wanted but it wasn’t bad. The No. 12 Verizon Chevy was very quick all day. We were able to get to the lead and I was confident we could do it again. I could see the guys in the front dicing back and forth, just as I thought they would. Unfortunately we weren’t up there with them.” -Will Power
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