Castroneves Battles To Controversial Second Place Finish In Detroit

August 31, 2008

DETROIT, Mich. (August 31, 2008) – In Sunday’s Detroit Indy Grand Prix presented by Firestone IndyCar Series event, Helio Castroneves, driver of the No. 3 Team Penske Dallara/Honda, finished in second place for the record eighth time this season, further closing the gap between himself and his first 2008 IndyCar Series driver championship.  Ryan Briscoe, driver of the No. 6 Team Penske Dallara/Honda, scored a ninth place finish at the challenging 2.07-mile Raceway at Belle Isle Park, clinching the fifth place in the championship standings in his first season with Team Penske.

A controversial call by IndyCar Series officials might have cost Helio Castroneves a win on Sunday afternoon in Detroit, but the Team Penske driver still managed to move closer to the series championship.  Castroneves was leading the race when, on lap 72, he was ordered to surrender the position to Justin Wilson as penalty for impeding. Wilson went on to win, while Castroneves came home solidly in second. The finish, coupled with current points leader Scott Dixon’s fifth-place finish, brought Castroneves within 30 points of the lead for the championship with just one race remaining in the 2008 IndyCar Series season. 

“We finished second for the eighth time, but the point is we’re still in the hunt for the championship, and Team Penske is going to try everything we can to win it,” said Castroneves, who made his 111th consecutive start on Sunday, passing former teammate Sam Hornish Jr. for the second-longest streak all time.

While Castroneves was visibly upset after Sunday’s race, he congratulated his crew on its effort. “Our Team Penske guys did a great job in the pits, and it’s too bad we couldn’t win for them,” he said.

Team Penske teammate Ryan Briscoe had a challenging day, but brought home his sixth consecutive top-10 finish.  “Team Penske did a good job getting us back into the top 10,” said Briscoe. “It would've been nice to be able to have run up front with the faster traffic, but at least we were able to bring it home in ninth. The best news from today is that we were able to clinch fifth place in the championship. I'm proud of my guys, and I think that's the mark of a successful season.”

The season finale is set to begin next Sunday at 3:30 p.m. ET and will be televised live on ABC.

The 2008 IndyCar Series season finale, the PEAK Antifreeze & Motor Oil Indy 300, will take place on Sunday, Sept. 7 at Chicagoland Speedway. The race will be telecast live at 3:30 p.m. EDT by ABC and be broadcast live on the IMS Radio Network.

Results Sunday of the Detroit Indy Grand Prix presented by Firestone IndyCar Series event Aug. 31 at the 2.07-mile The Raceway at Belle Isle Park, with order of finish, starting position in parentheses, driver, chassis-engine, laps completed and reason out (if any):
1. (4) Justin Wilson, Dallara-Honda, 87, Running
2. (2) Helio Castroneves, Dallara-Honda, 87, Running
3. (8) Tony Kanaan, Dallara-Honda, 87, Running
4. (3) Oriol Servia, Dallara-Honda, 87, Running
5. (1) Scott Dixon, Dallara-Honda, 87, Running
6. (7) Ryan Hunter-Reay, Dallara-Honda, 87, Running
7. (24) Bruno Junqueira, Dallara-Honda, 87, Running
8. (12) Will Power, Dallara-Honda, 87, Running
9. (5) Ryan Briscoe, Dallara-Honda, 87, Running
10. (17) A.J. Foyt IV, Dallara-Honda, 87, Running
11. (16) Hideki Mutoh, Dallara-Honda, 87, Running
12. (15) Darren Manning, Dallara-Honda, 87, Running
13. (6) Graham Rahal, Dallara-Honda, 87, Running
14. (20) Ed Carpenter, Dallara-Honda, 87, Running
15. (19) Mario Moraes, Dallara-Honda, 86, Running
16. (10) Danica Patrick, Dallara-Honda, 86, Running
17. (14) Vitor Meira, Dallara-Honda, 83, Running
18. (13) Marco Andretti, Dallara-Honda, 81, Mechanical
19. (18) Buddy Rice, Dallara-Honda, 76, Mechanical
20. (11) Dan Wheldon, Dallara-Honda, 64, Contact
21. (25) Tomas Scheckter, Dallara-Honda, 56, Running
22. (21) Alex Tagliani, Dallara-Honda, 54, Mechanical
23. (23) Milka Duno, Dallara-Honda, 46, Handling
24. (9) E.J. Viso, Dallara-Honda, 32, Contact
25. (22) Jaime Camara, Dallara-Honda, 16, Contact
26. (DNS) Marty Roth, Dallara-Honda, 0, Did not start

Race Statistics
Winner's average speed: 89.911 mph
Time of race: 2:00:10.7618
Margin of victory: 4.4058 seconds
Cautions: 4 caution flags for 11 laps
Lead changes: 4 among 4 drivers
Lap leaders: Dixon 1-18, Castroneves 19-58, Servia 59, Castroneves 60-72, Wilson 73-87.
Point standings: Dixon 606, Castroneves 576, Kanaan 481, Wheldon 464, Briscoe 412, Patrick 359, Servia 345, Andretti 339, Hunter-Reay 338, Mutoh 334.