Sebastien Bourdais gets second podium finish of weekend from successful standing start.
TORONTO – Helio Castroneves continued the steady consistency that has kept him on top of the standings for the majority of the season by scoring a runner-up finish in Race Two of the 2 in T.O. doubleheader weekend on the Streets of Toronto.
With the strong second-place run, the driver of the No. 3 Hitachi Team Penske Chevrolet leads the points by 29 markers with 13 of the 19-race season in the record books.
Sebastien Bourdais, No. 7 McAfee Dragon Racing Chevrolet, captured his second consecutive podium finish with a third-place run in today’s 85-lap/149.74-mile race. From the seventh position on the grid, Bourdais also made an excellent start and came out of turn one in fifth place.
“Congratulations to Helio Castroneves and Sebastien Bourdais for strong podium finishes today in Toronto during Race 2 of the double header weekend” said Chris Berube, Chevrolet Racing Program Manager, IZOD IndyCar Series. “The standing start was very popular with the fans and added another facet to the already diverse racing in the IZOD IndyCar Series. Team Chevy is looking forward to the next race at Mid-Ohio.”
E.J. Viso, No. 5 Team Venezuela PDVSA CITGO Andretti Autosport Chevrolet, finished fifth, and his teammate, Marco Andretti, No. 25 Dr. Pepper Chevrolet was scored ninth at the finish to give Team Chevy four of the top-10 finishers.
Local favorite James Hinchcliffe, No. 27 GoDaddy Andretti Autosport Chevrolet, suffered an issue with his throttle on the warm-up laps, and dove down pit road to the attention of his crew prior to the start of the race. He entered competition four laps down to the leaders, and was scored 21st at the finish.
Carlos Munoz, who replaced the injured Ryan Briscoe in the No. 4 National Guard Panther Racing Chevrolet, had a very solid race and finished 17th, just one lap down to the winner.
With six races remaining in the season, Chevrolet continues to lead the IZOD IndyCar Series Manufacturers’ Championship standings. The race was won by Scott Dixon.
Next event for the Chevrolet IndyCar V6 teams and drivers in the IZOD IndyCar Series will be at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course on August 4, 2013 with live television coverage on NBC Sports Network. Live radio coverage will be on XM Radio Channel 94 and Sirius Satellite Radio Channel 212. In addition, IndyCar live timing and scoring with the radio broadcast can be found at www.indy.car.com
Team Chevy driver finishing positions and quotes:
HELIO CASTRONEVES, NO. 3 HITACHI TEAM PENSKE CHEVROLET, FINISHED 2nd: ON HIS RACE: “The car was better today. They were in a different league, Scott and Ganassi guys. I was pushing. Whatever he is taking for breakfast, I want it. Scott, tell me what you’re having for breakfast. Let’s be realistic: The guy was leading the whole race, 13 seconds ahead.”
SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS, NO. 7 MCAFEE DRAGON RACING CHEVROLET, FINISHED 3rd: ABOUT RACING WITHOUT PUSH-TO-PASS, WHICH MALFUNCTIONED ON HIS CAR: “It was really hard, and it was from seventh place. I thought I was a sitting duck. Things just turned our way. I had a really good car on the restart. I was hooked up. I knew as soon as Ryan (Hunter-Reay) passed me, I had to get him back. I went for it, and it worked out.”
E.J. VISO, NO. 5 TEAM VENEZUELA PDVSA CITGO ANDRETTI AUTOSPORT HVM CHEVROLET, FINISHED 5th: Well, finishing P5 after starting 11th, I think, is a pretty consistent job. The team, the crew, the strategy – they helped me put it all together. I think it’s about time that all these results start coming. I believe that performance has been there every single race, just lacking some results.
Now, heading back into street and road courses, I think the results will start coming again. We needed to stay on top of the game the whole race. The heat in Toronto today was pretty intense; we needed to battle with the tires degrading pretty fast. I’m very thankful for the car that my team gave me today; I was able to do a pretty good job, they had great pit stops, and I’m just looking forward to the next street and road courses. Thanks to all of my supporters.
MARCO ANDRETTI, NO. 25 DR. PEPPER ANDRETTI AUTOSPORT CHEVROLET, FINISHED 9th: “We did what we had to today; I just wanted to finish. I think we messed the car up this morning in the warm up. What I thought was going to be a good car in warm up turned out to be less grip than yesterday so we were just hanging on.
The Dr. Pepper car couldn’t charge anywhere; we hurt the car on the brakes so I was really tentative with braking. I couldn’t make the passes I made yesterday so we just hung in there. We managed a top ten and will move on to Mid-Ohio in a couple weeks.”
SEBASTIAN SAAVEDRA, NO. 6 TRUECAR DRAGON RACING CHEVROLET, FINISHED 13TH.
SIMONA DE SILVESTRO, NO. 78 NUCLEAR ENTERGY AREVA KV RACING TECHNOLOGY CHEVROLET, FINISHED 15th: “It was a pretty painful race; we were struggling from the beginning. We didn’t quite have the pace and couldn’t really get the grip we needed to get out onto the straightaways smoothly, so it was a big struggle. Not super happy, but hopefully we can turn it around for the next one.”
CARLOS MUNOZ, NO. 4 NATIONAL GUARD PANTHER RACING CHEVROLET, FINISHED 17th: "It was a long race and a hard race for me. It was basically my first time in an IndyCar on a street course and I didn’t know what to expect to be in a race here with so many cars out there. We continued to drop lap times and I got more and more comfortable with each lap, and by the end we put together quite a good lap which are all positive things. It was good work from the National Guard crew and my goal was to finish, and I finished, and I'm very happy to have this opportunity today.”
WILL POWER, NO. 12 VERIZON TEAM PENSKE CHEVROLET, FINISHED 18TH: “It was a disappointing end for the Verizon team. We worked so hard all day and had a good run throughout most of the race. Then for it to come to an end like it did on the last restart is such a heartbreaker. We will just look ahead and work for a better result at Mid-Ohio."
RYAN HUNTER-REAY, NO 1 DHL ANDRETTI AUTOSPORT CHEVROLET, FINISHED 19TH: “Will (Power) was coming out from the bottom. I had a good run going on the outside, I was right next to him and he just – he was sliding across the patch, I talked to him and he just said he got loose on the bottom and he just drove right up into us. There’s two lanes going through (Turn 1), everybody kind of respects that and…
I don’t think he drove into me on purpose, but we were taken out of the race. We had a good day going and had a decent car. We hung on today, that’s what I was doing. I think we had a chance at a podium, maybe a fourth (place finish), I would have been happy with that. The DHL Chevy was a little lacking grip this weekend and we were just trying to hang out. Had a good race; I tried really hard to just keep it right there; got up to third at one point. But… we got taken out again.”
JAMES HINCHCLIFFE, NO. 27 GODADDY ANDRETTI AUTOSPORT CHEVROLET, FINISHED 21st: “The throttle stuck (on the start) – it’s pretty simple. I was just going through the routine of the standing start and as soon as I put my thumb on the throttle it stuck 100% and that was about a minute before they gave the command (to start engines). We tried WD40, but unfortunately that wasn’t the magic fix and we had to replace the pedal and went three laps down right off the bat.
Then we had no yellows to help us out; we ran around in the back all day. Obviously gutted for the team and for GoDaddy, but more than anyone for the fans. It sucks for everyone that came out today, I were hoping for better in my hometown. But we weren’t going to give up – I wanted to go out, finish the race and get any points we could.”
ED CARPENTER, NO. 20 FUZZY’S VODKA/ED CARPENTER RACING CHEVROLET, FINISHED 22nd: “That was a rough day. I hit the throttle and the car moved but it just stalled. That put us behind the ‘eight ball’ immediately. The heat made the track very slippery today. At the end I slid right into the wall pretty hard. I’m okay but frustrated right now. We had good car yesterday and could have been top-ten but took 13th. Today, I was hoping to get to the checkered flag after the tough start and that didn’t happen. We have to go to Indy and regroup over the next few weeks.”
TONY KANAAN, NO. 11 HYDROXYCUT KV RACING TECHNOLOGY - SH RACING CHEVROLET, FINISHED 24th: “I want to thank my crew for getting the car ready for the race after what happened this morning. I was pushing hard, in the race, got a little loose and tapped the wall ending our day, I feel; bad for the guys and my sponsor Hydroxycut. This is a home race for them and a lot of the employees came out to cheer me on. I just wish we could have put on a better show for them and the fans.”
An interview with Helio Castroneves and Sebastien Bourdais
Q. Talk about today's race and that great move on the last restart...
SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS: Yeah, it's been quite an interesting end of the race. It was a lot of basically just go with the flow and don't make any mistakes. Everybody was going pretty hard.
But the first stint, I could have gone faster, but Ryan started to lose his tires. I didn't have any 'push to pass' the whole race. It was pretty much a matter of keep it there and try and do good in all laps, hopefully you can jump them. But we didn't do that. I was maybe a bit too conservative on my out lap and Ryan just got us.
After that, basically it was the matter of who had a gap behind us, a little gap in front of us. I knew I was never going to pass them fair and square. I was trying to keep my tires underneath me and making sure they were in good shape if for any reason there was going to be a yellow. It just all happened at the end.
I knew it was the only way I could make something happen. But in the meantime I knew I was pretty much screwed 'cause they all had 'push to pass' and I didn't.
In the back straight, all bunched up, there wasn't much I could do to defend. Both times I just managed to position the car where it was right and things went our way and behind us was pretty much chaos. Nobody was anywhere near us. That was really cool.
Ryan managed to pass me. I got him straight back because I knew if I wasn't getting him back straightaway; there was no way out of this. After that, I was going to be under attack from Dario. I really tried super hard to get him back. He was struggling with his tire pressure; he couldn't get the tires again. It was super, super sensitive on the braking. I just went for it and I worked.
After that, we just set off to chase Will. The last restart just went around the outside. I have no idea what happened behind me. Was grateful Helio didn't squeeze me against the wall. Went from there. Race was over. Here we are, 'push to pass', seventh to start, third at the end. Couldn't be any happier with that.
Q. Do you think the team has made enough improvements that you can have a car capable of competing and running up front every week?
SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS: Well, I think the baseline street course setup; you need to have a base. Is it going to work everywhere? Probably not. When you have a base, you just need to go the right direction on that specific track and go and make it better.
So I think we got a really workable base to begin with now. It's not perfect. Dixie is obviously gone, so we got work to do. We'll keep at it.
But obviously from where we were to be able to have four podiums, that's pretty sweet. On top of that, last night the guys had to work till 1 a.m. to change the fuel cell because the thing was leaking after the race. Everybody puts his head down, gets to work. Next morning everybody is all smiles. It makes a big difference, for sure.
Q. When you hit on a setup that's working now, were you surprised?
SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS: Yeah, if I tell you the setup, really? It's very surprising that we ended up where we are on such a bumpy street course. At the end of the day it's working. Tom came with kind of an idea and we just went more and more towards that direction. It just clicked for the first qualifying. Oh, okay, now we got grip. Now I can push. It was a pretty big eye opener. Then we just kept working at it all weekend. I think we were maybe a little weaker at the race yesterday.
Again, we made small changes for warm-up and the race, and the car was better again. That's what it takes. Once you get closer, baby steps.
Q. How satisfying is it for a driver that's accomplished as much as you have to be on a team where you do make those little baby steps?
SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS: It's awesome. I think I've proved in a championship-winning car with a top team I can do it. Done it a few times. Hopefully people haven't forgotten.
But at the end of the day it's a whole different challenge when you have to start from scratch with a team, just bring people onboard to try to build something and get the right chemistry. It's a completely different challenge.
I really thought at the end of last year we were going to have an awesome season. Like I said yesterday, we just didn't adapt very quickly to the new tires. Finally I think we understood something and it's the turnaround for our season.
Q. Your previous success here, did that play any role here?
SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS: Yeah, it's a pretty selective race track. It's one of these tracks where experience pays. P.T. was always awesome here. There are balance issues because of the pavement changes and all that. So you need to know what you're looking for, what is setup and what is track related.
For sure, I've identified these now and I know what I need to work on to have a fast car. The braking zones are so damn bumpy that you really need to have the confidence, know where to brake, know where to position the car. It definitely helped me.
It's no wonder why in '11 we finally got things going with Dale, last year we were strong, this year we are strong.
Q. There were no bases on those trophies.
SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS: It was the same setup. Yesterday he handed me the whole thing and I had no idea the trophy was not attached to the base.
Q. How much of a grind was this weekend for you?
SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS: It was good. But, man, we did a lot of things in order to get front grip. The steering wheel got pretty darn heavy. The last pit stop when you put the last set of tires, full tank, the track is rubbered up, the steering effort, you earn your paycheck around here.
It's tough when it's the second race of the weekend. Pretty happy it's over.
Q. Your opinion on a doubleheader format coming out of a successful weekend?
SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS: When you have a good car, it's awesome. I scored as many points as I scored all season. I'm not against it.
It's always the same. It's the same with the standing starts. It's the same with the doubleheaders. If the fans love it, if it makes the event more profitable for the promoters, for the series, it's a good thing. We don't have a say in it. We are just the racers. We have our own opinion, but at the end of the day we'll do whatever it take this series wherever it needs to go, and that is to bring it up. Bring it on. If it works, let's do it.
Q. What Scott Dixon did this weekend, did that remind you a little bit of yourself back in the day?
SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS: He just was the class of the field the whole weekend. It's like trying to compare yourself to another driver. He was in a league of his own. I've experienced that in the past. But it doesn't remind me of me. I'm just a regular guy who is trying to do the best job we can. Scott did it this weekend. Good for him. He earned every bit of it. I think he passed me three times this weekend. It's not like I can deny he was the fastest guy.
Q. Talk about today's race.
HELIO CASTRONEVES: Great day for us, another day. Certainly coming over here, Hitachi guys did a helluva job preparing the car. Man, I think it's probably one of the fastest cars I've had since early days in CART. I was really on rails. I was really comfortable.
After yesterday, unfortunately got caught in a yellow in Friday's qualifying, so started eighth. Saturday's qualifying we were able to start in front, which was great. We packed all our chips today, took a chance in the setup of the car, and it paid off.
First of all, the standing start was awesome. I enjoy it very much. I had an awesome start. That's probably why I like it. I heard the fans enjoy it. There's a big thumbs up for the series to try that. I'm glad we're going to keep improving other things, details, that's going to make it better. But certainly it was a big thumbs up for that.
We had a great car. But unfortunately our great car wasn't good enough to finish first because Scott and Ganassi, they had a better car than us.
Q. Helio, Dixon was so dominant today, even on the restarts. Any point during this race when you thought you might catch him?
HELIO CASTRONEVES: When we put the black tires, my car was actually a little bit better, especially after warm-up. I said, Wow, the car looks really strong. I said, Okay, with myself, I really thought we have a shot at the least. But he opened up a lead about six, seven seconds before we got traffic. Then it was a very tough one on that area.
When I got traffic, people coming out of the pits, it was absolutely ridiculous what they were thinking. I was very disappointed with some of the fellow drivers. We lost a lot of time there. It was about 13 seconds. We were never able to recover.
That was the only point I thought we had a chance. But once he was 13 second ahead, I was like, Wow, this is going to be very tough to deal with.
Q. You know at the point in the season when you're thinking very hard about how to get a championship out of this. You've had Ryan Hunter-Reay chasing you for a long time. He had a tough day. Now you're dealing with Scott Dixon. Does that change your approach to the rest of the season in any way?
HELIO CASTRONEVES: No, our approach is the same. That's what got us here. Hopefully with that same kind of consistency, mentality, when we have a car to go for it, we go for it. I think with that kind of thinking, it's going to take us there, as well.
Q. Dixon is coming. He seems to be coming fast. Even though your points lead stayed about the same as it was when you left Pocono, now he's the guy on your tail instead of Ryan Hunter-Reay. How do you see this whole thing shaping up?
HELIO CASTRONEVES: Well, both are champions. I think they've been there. We just got to keep focused on our work. I'm not worried less or more because it's Scott. The same thing was with Ryan. They're both great teams.
But I trust my guys. I know we have the best equipment, the best guys out there. We know what we capable. That's what we're focused on at this point.
Q. How much do you want to win the championship? How much of a goal is this for you?
HELIO CASTRONEVES: Interesting, when you have opportunities like I have, I want as bad as anybody. Especially having those guys behind me, I have that chance. Experienced guys, experienced teams.
When you put yourself in this position, yes, I'm going to fight as much as I can. If I have a good car to finish, I will finish strong. If I don't have a good car to finish, I'll play smart. You use different strategies, ways to put us there. That's what's happening at this point.
So I want it more than anybody.
Q. Tell me about the physicality of today's race and how draining the weekend has been. Do you think the two race weekend format is safe?
HELIO CASTRONEVES: Good question. I think the first race, I don't think it was a lot of yellows, but it was different. People didn't know how it's going to go, the track, tires, things like that. In fact, I finished the race, Wow, it wasn't that bad in terms of physical.
But running in front, pushing as hard as I could to keep up with Scott and the rest of the field, you felt it. I felt it. Plus we didn't have any yellows today. I think everybody behaved different than Detroit. So when you have that kind of scenario for two hours pushing and pushing and pushing, it was certainly fatigue, I have to admit.
But I'm glad that my trainer Carlos is working over 10, 12 years with me. Yup, I'm there.
Q. The restarts with 10 to go, they lined the lap traffic up. That played into how much you could go after Scott on the one restart. Do you like that rule?
HELIO CASTRONEVES: No. I think it was 15 laps to go, wasn't it? What are you going to do, 15 laps to go? You're not going to lap the field, you're not going to get your lap back. It's very unusual for you to be very lucky, get your lap back, and have a very good finish.
But, saying that, it's the rules. I think we should review that kind of scenario because even if I would be in that situation, which I've been, it's not fun 'cause what are you doing there? You're in the middle of the leaders and you can cause a big mess.
Yes, I wasn't happy. Finally with 10 laps to go, there was another car there, at least we were able to do it. But I wish they change that rule.
Q. Were you having to contend with Graham?
HELIO CASTRONEVES: Graham, Simona and someone else. Three cars actually. It was the 4 car. First, where do I line up? Second, exactly what you going to do? I know they're a lap down. Graham and Simona were fighting for position. That's what they told me. I don't know what is the position, 15? That's my point. Nothing will pass Scott because he was in a league of his own, I tell you. It could create more emotion for everyone. But I think they should review that, instead of 10 laps.
Q. You said you enjoyed the standing starts. Came off without a hitch. Can you see this becoming a normal happening on other street courses, a road course here and there?
HELIO CASTRONEVES: I think it should. At least something different. Detroit, Toronto, at least they could becoming the only place to be standing starts. Not only one race, but two races.
But, yes, you're right, we got to review a little bit some of the tracks that we're able to do that. You guys tell me, but it sounds like the fans enjoy it. It could becoming something like that, for sure.