Two top five for Team Penske at Long Beach

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Will Power finishes in 2nd, Juan Pablo Montoya in 4th, and Helio Castroneves in 11th.

Juan Pablo Montoya - No. 2 Verizon Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet

Montoya qualified the No. 2 Verizon Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet in the 16th position after posting a lap of 1:08:3649 seconds during Saturday afternoon qualifying.

· The strategy for the former series champion called for him to start the race on the softer “red” Firestone tires. He quickly made up positions at the start with the softer compound as the tires provided more grip.

· After a strong standing start, Montoya made up five positions in the first eight laps of the race.

· Montoya maneuvered the No. 2 Verizon Chevy inside the top 10 by lap 21, turning lap times comparable to the race leaders.

· An untimely caution caught the No. 2 team out as Montoya was about to pit when the yellow flag was displayed on lap 27 and pit lane was closed, per INDYCAR rules. Montoya had to pit for fuel and he dropped to the back of the field as the Colombian racer took the restart from 20th place.

Juan Pablo Montoya, Penske Racing Chevrolet
Juan Pablo Montoya, Penske Racing Chevrolet

Photo by: David Yowe

· Montoya continued to show patience as he worked his way back up the running order and after a strong pit stop on lap 54, he and the Verizon team put themselves in position for a solid finish.

· After carefully avoiding a multi-car incident involving the race leaders at lap 56, Montoya was scored in the sixth position as the race resumed.

· Montoya entered the top five at lap 65 and he went on to cross the finish line in the fourth position for his second top-five finish in three career races on the Long Beach street circuit.

· The result marked Montoya’s best finish since he returned to IndyCar racing for the first time since 2000. He is now ranked eighth in the series standings after two events in 2014.

ON HIS FOURTH-PLACE FINISH SUNDAY ON THE STREETS OF LONG BEACH

“That was an interesting race. What an amazing team and I really have to thank Verizon and Chevy. I could've been a little more aggressive at the end but I really wanted to make sure we didn't get in any trouble and got a decent finish in the Verizon car. We had some close calls out there but we kept pushing and to come out of Long Beach with a top-five finish is pretty good."

Helio Castroneves - No. 3 Automobile Club of Southern California Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet

· Castroneves qualified the No. 3 Automobile Club of Southern California Dallara/Chevrolet in the ninth position on Saturday afternoon, advancing to the second round of qualifying with a lap of 1:08:1119 seconds.

· As the Verizon IndyCar Series debuted “standing starts” for the first time this season, Castroneves gave up a few positions at the start of the race before settling into the 13th spot.

Helio Castroneves, Penske Racing Chevrolet
Helio Castroneves, Penske Racing Chevrolet

Photo by: Covy Moore

· Castroneves made his first pit stop of the day at lap 20 to receive “red” Firestone tires while running in the 14th position.

· A full-course caution on lap 26 brought the race leaders down pit road and Castroneves capitalized as he restarted the race in the sixth position. He quickly advanced into the top five by lap 32.

· During a lap 56 incident involving the race leaders, Castroneves suffered front wing damage due to contact. He brought the No. 3 Auto Club Chevy down pit road for a new front wing and fuel two laps later.

· While attempting to work his way back to the front, Castroneves was penalized for passing cars under caution on the lap 64 restart which resulted in a pit lane “drive through” penalty.

· After dropping to the 14th position, Castroneves was able to race his way up to 11th place before taking the checkered flag. He posted the fastest lap of the race – 1:09.0691 – on the 76th lap of the 80-lap race.

· Castroneves is now fourth in the point standings as he trails leader and teammate Will Power by 38 points heading into the race at Barber Motorsports Park in two weeks.

ON HIS EVENTFUL RACE AT LONG BEACH

"The Automobile Club of Southern California boys did a great job. Unfortunately we got caught up in an accident in Turn 4. That was very disappointing. Then we got a penalty on one of the restarts late in the race. We need to figure out what happened with that. It was a very crazy race after the crash. We were taking it easy trying to save the car. We were just saving fuel and trying to make it to the end. It was a great job by everyone at Team Penske. Now let’s go to Barber.”

Will Power - No. 12 Verizon Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet

· Power began Saturday’s race from the 14th position after posting a qualifying time of 1:08:1159 seconds.

· Starting on black “primary” Firestone tires, Power made his first pit stop of the day at lap 21 as the Verizon crew fueled the car and installed the softer compound “red” tires.

· Following a caution period from lap 27-30, Power moved his No. 12 Verizon Chevy into the top five for the first time as the race resumed at lap 31. He remained positioned inside the top five for rest of the race.

· Power made his final pit stop of the day for fuel and “red” tires at lap 53 which set up the team for a strong run to the finish.

· Power was deftly able to avoid a lap 56 incident that involved several of the race leaders. He was able to move up into the third position as a result and was in a good spot to compete for a podium finish when the race resumed under the green flag on lap 64.

· When race leader Scott Dixon visited the pits for fuel on lap 78 of the 80-lap event, Power was able to secure second place before he crossed the finish line.

· With the result, Power has earned a first- and second-place finish to start the season and he extended his lead in the series standings. He will carry a 27-point lead into the next race at Barber over Sunday’s race winner, Mike Conway.

· Power now has produced six top-three finishes in nine career races at Long Beach.

ON SUNDAY’S CHARGE TO A SECOND-PLACE FINISH

“The No. 12 Verizon Chevy team never gave up. We did everything that we could and would have been happy to get a top-five starting from 14th. But to finish second, what a great day for our guys. We didn't change anything going into the race and we had a great day. It’s early in the season, but it’s nice to have the points lead. We’re looking forward to going into Barber and fighting for the pole and win.”

Team Penske

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Series INDYCAR
Article type Race report
Tags helio castroneves, indycar, juan pablo montoya, long beach, team penske, will power