Castroneves Comes on Strong at End to Claim Second Texas Victory After running near the front but not leading much of the race, Helio Castroneves of Marlboro Team Penske capitalized on the misfortunes of two cars ahead of him to claim victory ...
Castroneves Comes on Strong at End to Claim Second Texas Victory
After running near the front but not leading much of the race, Helio Castroneves of Marlboro Team Penske capitalized on the misfortunes of two cars ahead of him to claim victory tonight in what was "unofficially" the third-fastest race in IndyCar history (185.7 mph). Classic Penske strategy aided Helio in becoming the fourth two-time IndyCar Series winner at Texas Motor Speedway.
Target Chip Ganassi Racing's Dan Wheldon dominated the race, but a miscue in the pits relegated him to a third-place finish. Helio's Team Penske teammate, Sam Hornish, Jr., led much of the race when Wheldon didn't, but he suffered a similar fate when he stalled his car coming out of his last pit stop. Last week's Watkins Glen winner Scott Dixon drove a clean, steady race to bring his Target machine home in second place.
The Firestone Firehawk tires ran without problem throughout the event, while track temperatures fell from 102 degrees at the beginning of the race to 93 degrees at the end. Several teams - including Delphi Fernandez Racing's Scott Sharp - even opted not to change tires on their final pit stop, meaning they ran up to 65 laps on one set.
* From Helio Castroneves, Marlboro Team Penske Dallara/Honda/Firestone: "With the new mix of tires, it was hard to know what you could do at the beginning of the race. But at the end, when there was no yellow, they kept getting better and better every lap. I was full throttle - in fact, I can't feel my feet right now because I had the throttle all the way down!"
* Firestone Tire Performance Summary: While the tire Firestone brought to Texas Motor Speedway was new to this track, it had already demonstrated its performance capabilities on the other high-banked, high speed 1.5-mile oval tracks in the IndyCar Series - Homestead-Miami Speedway this year, and Chicagland last year. As expected, the tires held up to the extreme speeds and temperatures admirably.
* From Al Speyer, Executive Director, Firestone Racing: "Texas Motor Speedway is a very tough test for tires. But, once again, we saw a very competitive race with a number of cars not changing tires on their last stop. That shows the confidence they have in the Firestone Firehawks, and we are very proud to provide a critical piece of equipment which ran all night long without difficulties. I'd like to add a special congratulations to Helio Castroneves and Marlboro Team Penske - once again, they showed that many things can happen during a race, and perseverance can pay great dividends."
Race temperatures ranged from 102 to 93 degrees track and from 94 to 91 degrees ambient (F).
Race temperatures ranged from 39 to 34 degrees track and from 34 to 32 degrees ambient (C).