Helio Castroneves, No. 3 Shell V-Power Pennzoil Ultra Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet, started eighth in his 13th Indy 500 and started the weekend off with a bang when his Shell-Pennzoil crew won top honors, and $50,000, Friday afternoon in the annual pit stop competition.
Castroneves managed to bring his Shell Pennzoil Chevrolet home in the sixth position under the yellow flag. The result marked his 11th top-10 finish in the “Greatest Spectacle in Racing.”
Castroneves is now third in the series point standings, 16 points behind Marco Andretti.
His reflections on his 13th Indianapolis 500: “It was a great day for the Shell-Pennzoil Team Penske Chevrolet. Huge congratulations to Tony on the win today – it shows that the good old boys still know how to get it done. The Shell-Pennzoil guys had great pit stops and luckily great weather for the race.
The laps seemed to go by so quickly and lucky for us they were uneventful. Of course we wanted to win the race but finishing sixth and getting a top-10 finish was huge for us in terms of the championship. Now we turn our attention to Detroit and the doubleheader."
On finishing the race under yellow... “As a driver you always want to be able to compete until the end and I think we still had some momentum in the car. But in all it was a great day with the points and sometimes that can all get ruined at the end with a crazy finish. So we are happy.”
AJ Allmendinger, No. 2 IZOD Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet, after dropping from fifth to 14th at the start of Sunday’s Indianapolis 500, he fought back to the front and eventually cracked the top-10 60 laps later after making an adjustment that allowed for better passing.
Allmendinger took the race lead on Lap 98 and lead for the next 14 laps, including Lap 100 which netted him a $50,000 bonus.
Was forced to make an unscheduled pit stop while still leading on Lap 112 after his right seat strap came loose and dropped to the back of the field due to the repair time. He regained the lead on Lap 137 for six laps and again on Lap 165 for three laps before a final pit stop shuffled him back to ninth.
Allmendinger was running seventh with momentum to move forward when a caution on Lap 197 caused the race to end under a yellow flag. In all Allmendinger led 23 laps on the day, most on Team Penske and among all rookies.
On finishing the race under yellow: “I wasn’t as aggressive as I needed to be on the start and unfortunately that got us back to mid-pack. That first stint was pretty tough because I’d hit the limiter since we had the gearing a little off and I couldn’t pass.
Once the yellow (flag) came out I was able to calm myself down and figure out what I needed to do to start passing people. From that point on the IZOD car was phenomenal and I felt like I could drive by guys at will.
What an unbelievable feeling to lead laps at the Indianapolis 500 - that was incredible. I still thought we had a chance with eight (laps) to go, especially if we could get around fifth but we just ran out of laps at the end.” – AJ Allmendinger
What happened with his belt... “It just popped on me. I tried to fix it on the straightaway but couldn’t get it done so I had to make a stop. The IZOD guys did a great job fixing it but that really hurt our chances to win since it threw our pit windows off.”
Will Power, No. 12 Verizon Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet, started the race from the outside of the second row based on his qualifying lap average of 228.087 mph. Early in the race Power reported that his Verizon Chevrolet had understeer in the corners yet he was able to continue to run inside the top 10.
The Verizon pit crew helped the team pick up multiple spots on the second stop of the day which allowed Power to drive to the race lead on Lap 75. Power led on two different occasions for 16 total laps, before he fell back to the middle of the pack due to the car not reacting well in traffic.
During a late-race pit stop the team experienced a fuel probe issue which resulted in Power having to pit one extra time and that cost the Verizon squad multiple positions. Power earned an 18th- place finish and is now ranked 14th in the series standings.
His thoughts on the race... “Man that was a tough race. Our Verizon Chevrolet was really strong when we were towards the front of the pack but when we got back in traffic it wasn't as good. We had some good laps when we were out front but just couldn’t fight back up there afterwards.
We also needed to be better on the out laps. Congrats to TK (Tony Kanaan) though, I’m really happy for him. Thanks to my Verizon crew too, they've been great over the duration.” – Will Power
On the handling of the car in traffic... “We were pushing the whole time and just didn’t have grip. I was fighting it as hard as I could but could not get comfortable enough to be able to move around in traffic.”