Team Penske showed a strong presence in St. Pete

A pole for Will Power and a second-place podium for Helio Castroneves gave to Team Penske a solid start on the season opener.

With his 30th career second-place finish Sunday, Castroneves broke a three-way tie for eighth place on the all-time list of runner-up results and he passed Tony Kanaan for 11th all-time with 107 top-five finishes.

Helio Castroneves, Team Penske Chevrolet
Helio Castroneves, Team Penske Chevrolet

Photo by: Eric Gilbert

Sunday marked Castroneves’ fifth podium and sixth top-five in eight career races on the Streets of St. Pete. Castroneves led a race-high 42 laps in Sunday’s race.

He has now led 205 laps over the course of four races on the streets of St. Pete in his career and extends his lead among active drivers with 4,771 career laps led.

On Lap 27, Castroneves passed his teammate Power for the race lead with a strong move on the race restart. In the key move of the race, James Hinchcliffe passed Castroneves for the race lead on Lap 84. Castroneves applied pressure to Hinchcliffe for the remainder of the 110-lap event but he had to settle for second place at the checkered flag.

Helio Castroneves: ON THE NO. 3 HITACHI CHEVROLET... “(Race engineer) Jonathan (Diuguid) and the entire Hitachi crew gave me an incredible car today. The car was so hooked on where we needed it to be.”

ON THE PASS BY HINCHCLIFFE FOR THE LEAD... “Unfortunately it was a long yellow and I guess my tires weren’t warmed up enough. I was braking at the same point every time but my rears locked up and (it) gave him room for the pass.”

COULD HE TRY TO MAKE A MOVE LATE IN THE RACE... "We were starting to lose (on the red tires) with about four laps to go. I already went from hero to zero so I said, you know what? I don't want to finish this race with even fewer points. Great day for the Hitachi team, it's a shame we let it go, but Hinch did a great job."

After earning his 30th career IndyCar pole on Saturday, Power led the first 26 laps of the race. Power was running in third place while under a caution flag on Lap 81 when the car driven by JR Hildebrand ran over top of the No. 12 Verizon Chevy.

Power had to pit twice for repairs and fell to 16th place as a result of the incident.

Power fought back to 12th place late in the race before making contact with the barrier wall. After another pit stop to repair a damaged tire, Power crossed the finish line in 16th place.

A four-time pole sitter and the 2010 race winner at St. Petersburg, Sunday’s result marked the first time in six races that Power has finished outside the top 10 on the street circuit.

Will Power: ON THE TOUGH RESULT SUNDAY... “Yeah, that’s a tough finish for us in 16th. It’s too bad because the Verizon car was definitely fast. (On the incident with JR Hildebrand) He came over and apologized after the race. He said he was just looking down at his steering wheel and he just ran over the top of me. It’s just a mistake but that happens in racing.”

ON THE CLOSING LAPS OF THE RACE... “I made a mistake there at the end (making contact and going into the runoff) and it cost us four more places. Tough day but we just have to move forward and look ahead to Barber.”

DID HE FEEL HE COULD WIN BEFORE THE INCIDENT... “I really felt we could win it. Helio kept going to the outside on the restarts and I felt I could get him to the inside, especially if I was on red tires. It would have been interesting but unfortunately we never got the chance.”

Team Penske

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About this article
Series INDYCAR
Article type Race report
Tags castroneves, chevrolet, indycar, penske, power, st.pete