Verizon IndyCar Series Race Report

August 24, 2015

Track: Pocono Raceway
Race:  ABC Supply 500
Date:   Aug. 23, 2015
No. 1 Verizon Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet – Will Power
Start: 3rd
Finish: 4th
Status: Running
Laps Completed: 200/200
Laps Led: 2
Points Position (behind leader): 4th (-61 pts)
Recap: Defending series champion Will Power kept himself in the thick of the 2015 Verizon IndyCar Series title chase by finishing fourth in the ABC Supply 500 on Sunday afternoon. The driver of the No. 1 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet overcame some trouble on pit road to finish inside the top five for the seventh time this season. Power started third, but by lap 20 had dropped back to the fifth position. Following quick pit work by his Verizon crew on lap 87, Power spun while leaving his pit stall and fell back to 19th place. Power stayed on the track under a lap 109 caution to move up several positions and restart the race in the third position on lap 114. In Turn 1 of the first lap back under the green flag, Power passed Justin Wilson and Gabby Chaves for the lead, which he held for two laps before relinquishing the top spot to Team Penske teammate, Helio Castroneves. Power again encountered trouble in the pits when the No. 1 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet failed to launch properly out of its stall after appearing to have a shot at leaving pit road in the lead. That saw Power fall to the seventh position on lap 135 but the champion continued to battle. Power was able to race his way back among the leaders for most of the remaining laps to finish inside the top five and keep his championship hopes alive heading to the season finale in Sonoma next weekend.
Quote:  "The Verizon Chevy was very strong today and we definitely had a car to win, but the circumstances just didn't allow for it. There were so many yellows and because of that we had to reorganize our strategies throughout the race. Overall we did a great job and our approach is to do as well as we did today in Sonoma. Just do our absolute best and see where it takes us."
No. 2 Verizon Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet – Juan Pablo Montoya
Start: 19th
Finish: 3rd
Status: Running
Laps Completed: 200/200
Laps Led: 0
Points Position: Leader (500 pts.)
Recap: Juan Pablo Montoya extended his lead in the Verizon IndyCar Series standings with a third-place finish in the ABC Supply 500 at Pocono Raceway. With just one race remaining in the season -- the GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma on Aug. 30 at Sonoma Raceway -- Montoya has a 34-point lead over second-place driver Graham Rahal in the championship standings. The defending race winner at Pocono, Montoya struggled in Saturday's qualifying and started from the 19th position, but he quickly rallied on Sunday and worked his way forward among the leaders. By lap 67 he had risen to second place behind teammate Simon Pagenaud as the Team Penske cars displayed great fuel mileage, with the ability to run several laps longer than their competitors before making green-flag pit stops and gaining track position. On a race restart on lap 138, Montoya was scored in the ninth position, and he continued to race among the top 10 for the remainder of the race. On the final restart of the day at lap 193, following the accident that involved Sage Karam and Justin Wilson that saw Wilson airlifted to a nearby hospital with a head injury, Montoya found himself in the third position and competing for his third win of the season. He fell back two spots over the first two laps of the renewed action before moving back into the top three to secure his fifth podium finish of the year. Montoya's average finish this season is now a very strong 6.9.
Quote:  "It was good. Our Verizon Chevy was strong all day. We ran a smart race. It's tough, you know. Sometimes you're racing somebody and you get all excited and you kind of forget why you're here and what you need to be doing – that it's a 500-mile race. I gained places where I could gain places. Then when I couldn't, I was like, ‘OK, let's save some fuel.' I think that really helped one of the stops right before the caution. It was really good. We're all just thinking about Justin (Wilson) right now."

No. 3 Shell V-Power Nitro+ Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet – Helio Castroneves
Start: 1st
Finish: 16th
Status: Accident
Laps Completed: 166/200
Laps Led: 24
Points Position (behind leader): 5th (-77 pts)
Recap: Helio Castroneves looked to be in a good position to battle for his first win of the season until a crash on lap 166 of the ABC Supply 500 at Pocono Raceway ended his day and resulted in him finishing in the 16th position. The disappointing result dropped him from fourth to fifth in the drivers' standings, but he remains alive in the championship battle heading into the Aug. 30 finale at Sonoma Raceway. Castroneves started from the pole position -- the 45th of his career -- but fell back to third place on the third lap and he remained through lap 27. On lap 78, he passed teammate Simon Pagenaud for the lead and he was able to maintain the top spot though a round of pit stops at lap 85. After dropping back a few spots in the running order as the race moved past the halfway point, Castroneves regained the lead on lap 118 by passing teammate Will Power. Unfortunately. his day would be cut short on lap 166 as he spun and made contact with the wall shortly after the race was restarted following one of the 12 cautions periods on the day. The finish marked just the third DNF for Castroneves this season.
Quote:  "They said it was going green and I think it caught a lot of us off-guard. My team was kind of in doubt as well. As soon as it went green, everybody was still in a fuel-saving mode situation. I was just trying to go outside. I think we didn't warm up the tires very well and suddenly I lost the rear and just started going. It's a shame because we had a very fast car. The car was great. It was just one of those things that, I'm not sure how the message could be a little bit faster for my guys up there. But the Shell V-Power Nitro+ Chevy was super fast today. We obviously led a lot of laps. It's just a shame that we ended up with a DNF."
No. 22 Penske Truck Rental Dallara/Chevrolet – Simon Pagenaud
Start: 2nd
Finish: 7th
Status: Running
Laps Completed: 200/200
Laps Led: 30
Points Position (behind leader): 10th (-144 pts)
Recap: Simon Pagenaud posted another solid result in Sunday's ABC Supply 500 at Pocono Raceway, as he led 30 laps and finished among the top 10 for the ninth time in 15 races in 2015. Pagenaud started second in the No. 22 Penske Truck Rental Chevrolet and raced among the leaders throughout the race. He took the lead for the first time at lap 28 before making a pit stop under a lap 30 caution period. He moved back into the lead on lap 66 and was in front again until lap 79 when teammate, Helio Castroneves, was able to get by him. On a lap 138 race restart, Pagenaud was scored in the second position, but he quickly passed Gabby Chavez to assume the top spot once again. Pagenaud fell back a few positions following multiple cautions late in the race, but he was able to score his fifth finish of seventh or better in 2015, which allowed him to remain in 10th place in the Verizon IndyCar Series drivers' standings.
Quote:  "The first 150 laps went pretty well. I was trying to save fuel and the Penske Truck Rental Chevy car was really good this weekend. It was awesome. I think we definitely had the best car out there again but things just turned and didn't go our way when the yellow (flags) started to come out. Unfortunately, we were there at the wrong time and on that one restart, Sage Karam was slipping and didn't go. So, everybody behind us went and because of the rules I stayed in line and respected the rules and I went from being third to eleventh on that restart and then we came back to seventh so there was not much running at the end, unfortunately, with the yellows. I hope Justin's okay, that's the biggest thing. We are going to get some news from him soon, I hope. The 22 team did a fantastic job. I'm proud of the guys."