Verizon IndyCar Series Race Report - Long Beach

April 18, 2016

Verizon IndyCar Series Race Report

Track:   Streets of Long Beach, Calif.
Race:    Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach
Date:     April 17, 2016

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

Start:  5th
Finish: 4th
Status: Running
Laps Completed:  80/80
Laps Led: 0
Points Position (behind leader): 3rd (-28 pts.)

Recap: Juan Pablo Montoya finished fourth Sunday in the No. 2 Verizon Team Penske Chevy at Long Beach to record his second top-five finish in three races as he maintained third place in the Verizon IndyCar Series standings. Montoya started fifth and dropped back to sixth at the start. He remained sixth after the first round of pit stops on Lap 26. The reigning Indy 500 champion moved up to fourth place after his second stop on Lap 54 and he fought off challenges from Tony Kanaan and Takuma Sato to earn his second top-five finish in three races to start the season. The result marked Montoya's fourth top-five finish in five starts at Long Beach. Montoya recorded his 25th top-10 finish since joining Team Penske in 2014. Montoya is now third in the drivers’ standings, 28 points behind teammate Simon Pagenaud.

Quote: "We had a very fast Verizon Chevy, but we just had a hard time getting to the front. Track position is pretty important here and we lost some early when I made a mistake and we fell behind Will (Power) - they just had more top end speed. We did a good job and battled back but it wasn't enough. Congratulations to Simon and the No. 22 team. That's a great win for him and Team Penske."

No. 3 Auto Club of Southern California Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet – Helio Castroneves

Start:  1st
Finish: 3rd 
Status: Running
Laps Completed:  80/80
Laps Led: Two times for 47 laps
Points Position (behind leader):  4th (-42 pts.)

Recap: After winning the 47th pole position of his career on Saturday, Helio Castroneves led a race-high 47 laps in the Grand Prix of Long Beach, including the first 26 laps of the race. After first-round pit stops cycled through, Castroneves reclaimed the race lead until his final stop of the day on Lap 52. When the No. 3 Auto Club of Southern California Chevy emerged from the pits, Castroneves was slowed by traffic and that allowed Dixon to get by him. Pagenaud was able to claim the lead after that and Castroneves fought hard to chase the two cars in front of him for the remainer of the race. He came home in third place for his fourth career podium result at Long Beach. The three-time Indianapolis 500 winner remained fourth in the Verizon IndyCar Series standings heading into the fourth race of the season, next week’s Indy Grand Prix of Alabama at Barber Motorsports Park in Birmingham, Ala.

Quote: "First, I want to thank AAA and the entire organization of Team Penske, and, obviously Hitachi, Verizon and REV Group. It was a great day starting the day. Basically we led the first half of the race I would say, the wrong half of the race, but it was going no problem, no issues, and unfortunately we started getting traffic. After we pitted we got more traffic that's basically what hurt us and we ended up losing two spots. At the end of the day, congrats to Simon, it is the first win for him at Team Penske. At least I'm glad that one of the Team Penske guys ended up getting this victory." 

No. 12 Verizon Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet – Will Power

Start:  6th
Finish: 7th
Status: Running
Laps Completed:  80/80
Laps Led:  0
Points Position (behind leader):  8th (-72 pts.)

Recap:  Will Power scored his second consecutive top-10 result of the season Sunday with a seventh-place finish in Long Beach. A late spin in Firestone Fast Six qualifying on Saturday left Power with a sixth-place starting spot, but he was determined to get back up front quickly with one of the fastest cars all weekend in the No. 12 Verizon Chevy. Power passed teammate Juan Pablo Montoya on the opening lap to move into fifth place. He ran fifth until he improved one position to fourth following his first pit stop on Lap 25. The team had some issues on its final stop as Power fell back to seventh place, where he ultimately finished the race. The effort improved Power from 12th to eighth in the drivers’ standings. The 2014 series champion continues to make his way back after missing the 2016 season opener in St. Petersburg, Fla., due to illness. Power helped Chevrolet take eight of the top 10 spots in Sunday’s race.

Quote: "We had that unfortunate pit stop. Sometimes it takes longer. I can't complain. My Verizon Chevrolet crew is phenomenal. We qualified where we qualified and were able to get another top-10 finish. Congratulations to Simon and the No. 22 team. I know how hard he's been working for the win so it's good to get one for the team." 

No. 22 PPG Automotive Refinish Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet – Simon Pagenaud

Start:  3rd
Finish: 1st - 1st win of 2016  
Status: Running
Laps Completed:  80/80
Laps Led:  Two times for 28 laps
Points Position: 1st (14 points ahead)

Recap:  Simon Pagenaud scored his first victory as a member of Team Penske on Sunday when he held off Scott Dixon to claim the closest finish in INDYCAR history at Long Beach. The caution-free race also marked the fastest Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach in the 42-year history of the event. Pagenaud earned his fifth career Verizon IndyCar Series victory and his first since 2014 at Houston. The race was the fourth Long Beach Grand Prix that has gone flag to flag under green, and the first since April 16, 1989. All 21 cars were running at the end of the race, the first time that’s happened since Texas in June 2011. After back-to-back second-place finishes to start the season, Pagenaud made it clear early on that he intended to make it to the top step of the podium on Sunday. After starting third in the PPG Automotive Refinish Chevrolet, Pagenaud passed defending series champ Scott Dixon for second place on the opening lap. Pagenaud ran behind teammate Helio Castroneves until the first stop of the race on Lap 27. The pivotal sequence for Pagenaud came on the second stop when he stretched his fuel mileage further than the other top cars and came in for service on Lap 54. Quick work by the No. 22 Team Penske crew got Pagenaud back out in front of Dixon as he rejoined the race and captured the lead on Lap 56 after Charlie Kimball came to pit lane. After review by INDYCAR officials, Pagenaud was assessed a warning for a "lane usage" violation as he blended into traffic from pit lane. Dixon tried to chase down Pagenaud but he held his ground and took the checkered flag .3032 of a second ahead of the Ganassi Racing driver for the closest finish among the 33 INDYCAR races held on Long Beach.

Quote: "It is pretty cool. I tell you this is my favorite street course, like I said before the event. So winning here, especially in INDYCAR with the level of competition so high, it is amazing. That PPG car is good luck on me. Every time I have been in that car I have been on the podium. It's awesome, glad to represent those guys and Chevrolet. They gave me a hell of a piece of equipment. And it's my first win with Roger (Penske), so 'check.'"