Helio Castroneves started in the 14th position Sunday at Mid-Ohio following Saturday’s qualifying results. The No. 3 PPG Automotive Refinish team utilized a three-stop strategy as Castroneves made his way to the front of the field throughout the 90-lap race.
Not concerned about saving fuel after the final pit stops cycled through, Castroneves was positioned in sixth place with 20 laps remaining. In a key battle with championship overtones, Castroneves was able to hold off Scott Dixon over the final seven laps to finish sixth in front of his top rival in the title chase.
With the result, Castroneves actually added to his lead in the IZOD IndyCar Series championship standings as he now has a 31-point cushion over Dixon with five races remaining in the 2013 season. Castroneves continues to be the only driver to complete every lap of competition this season as he has now run all 1,843 laps in 2013.
Helio Castroneves (Starting Position: 14 / Finishing Position 6): “If you would have told me we would have finished in the top 10 today, I would have said you were crazy. We made great strategy calls throughout the race. Working with Mr. Penske is awesome; he relays great information over the radio. It was a great day for our PPG Automotive Refinish Chevrolet. I know that it was only a sixth-place finish but it could win the championship at the end of the year. I have said all along that we will continue to do our thing and not change a thing and it will pay off at the end of the day.”
Will Power started in the second position after posting a Firestone Fast Six qualifying time of 1:05.5359 on Saturday. After taking the green flag, Power put pressure on race leader and polesitter Ryan Hunter-Reay over the first 29 laps before both drivers visited pit lane on Lap 30.
Utilizing a two-pit stop strategy, Power emerged from his first stop in fifth place in the Verizon Chevrolet, one spot behind Hunter-Reay. As he tried to save fuel while still running among the race leaders, Power made his final stop of the day when he visited pit lane on Lap 60 while running in fifth place.
Power took command of fourth place with 21 laps to go as he came out in front of Hunter-Reay following both drivers’ final pit stop and he held off Hunter-Reay for the remainder of the race. The fourth-place finish marked his fourth top-five result of the season and it represented his best finish on a road course in 2013.
Sunday’s result also produced Power’s fourth top-four finish in five career starts at Mid-Ohio. Though Power had a strong result on track, he actually dropped one position to 11th in the series standings, but now just eight points behind the 10th-place driver, Tony Kanaan.
Will Power (Starting Position: 2 / Finishing Position 4): “I thought this Verizon team did another good job today. It’s a little frustrating to finish fourth when we knew we had a fast car all weekend but we needed to save some fuel on the two-stop strategy. Still, it’s a good finish for us and the best we’ve had in the Verizon car over the last few races. This gives us something to build on for Sonoma in a couple of weeks and we’re looking forward to getting back there.”