Helio Castroneves maintains his lead in the IZOD IndyCar Series standings as he will carry a 16-point advantage over Milwaukee race winner Ryan Hunter-Reay. Will Power improved from 12th to 11th in the series standings.
Castroneves started the race from the 17th position based upon his two-lap average speed of 167.169 mph in Friday qualifying at the Milwaukee Mile.
By Lap 65 Castroneves had advanced to the ninth position in the running order and he moved up to second place by Lap 69 as other cars began to visit pit lane.
After the final pit stop of the race on Lap 213 Castroneves emerged in second place while teammate Will Power was third. Castroneves held off a late charge by Power to earn his fourth podium finish of the season.
The runner-up result equaled his best-ever finish at the Milwaukee Mile as he also came in second place back in his rookie IndyCar season of 1998.
Power qualified third for Saturday’s Milwaukee IndyFest after he posted an impressive two-lap average speed of 170.212 mph on Friday.
Power ran among the leaders for most of the 250-lap race and he earned a bonus point for leading a lap in the race as he led from Lap 67-68 and again from Lap 166-167. It marked the Australian’s first laps led in five career starts at Milwaukee.
The Verizon crew gave Power a strong pit stop on Lap 213 as he emerged from the pits in third place after entering in the fourth position.
Power battled Castroneves for second place in the waning laps before settling for third place and his first podium result of the season.
The finish was Power’s best at Milwaukee and it represented his top result on an oval since he won at Texas in 2011 for his lone oval track victory.
Power improved from 12th to 11th in the series standings with Saturday’s finish. He now trails Castroneves by 111 points in the standings and is just four points outside the top 10.
Helio Castrtoneves No.3 PPG Automotive Refinish Dallara/Chevrolet:
ON THE RUNNER-UP RESULT SATURDAY... “Certainly it was a great day for us. Starting from the back, it was tough. Yesterday I stayed late talking to Jonathan (Diuguid), my engineer, on what we were going to do with the car. It was tough, but today it definitely paid off. We were a little conservative, and we had to be patient. In the end, it was a great job by the PPG boys. It’s not a win, but you know what, I’m very, very happy.“
ON TRYING TO STAY POSITIVE AFTER A TOUGH QUALIFYING... “Yesterday was not easy but everyone on the No. 3 PPG team stayed positive. We did what we’ve been doing all year that’s worked for us – we had a solid, consistent car and we were patient and worked our way to the front. And Roger (Penske) is just incredible. It’s awesome having him call our race strategy.”
ON CONTINUING TO LEAD THE CHAMPIONSHIP... “This was a great points finish for us and a good result overall for the team with Will finishing third. Hopefully we can continue the momentum at Iowa next week, but right now I’m looking forward to going home and celebrating Father’s Day with my little girl.”
Will Power No.12 Verizon Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet:
ON HIST FIRST PODIUM FINISH OF THE SEASON... “Man, it’s good to finally get on the podium. It’s been a tough start to the year but hopefully we’re finally getting a little bit of momentum on the Verizon team. This was a really good result for us and it comes after a solid finish in Texas. So we’ve just got to keep it going.”
ON HIS BEST OVAL RESULT SINCE 2011... “I’ve always felt we have the pace on ovals and I do actually like running on ovals – something just always seems to happen to us there. I enjoy when you really have to drive the car and I think that’s definitely the case with the oval package we are running now. It’s good to get the results and keep earning the points we need.”
ON HIS BATTLE WITH CASTRONEVES AT THE END OF THE RACE... “That was close (with Helio). I wanted to race him very cleanly because he’s leading the championship. I was like ‘Man, I don’t want to take you out.’ Still a good result for Team Penske. Helio continues to get good points, and it’s cool to get the No. 12 Verizon car up on the podium. We’ve just got to keep chipping away.”