Castroneves can "absolutely" win the 2017 title, says engineer

Team Penske-Chevrolet race engineer Jonathan Diuguid says Helio Castroneves is more than capable of winning the Verizon IndyCar Series title for the first time, in what is rumored to be his final full season in open-wheel racing.

Castroneves can "absolutely" win the 2017 title, says engineer
Helio Castroneves, Team Penske Chevrolet, race engineer Jonathan Diuguid
Helio Castroneves, Team Penske Chevrolet takes the checkered flag
Helio Castroneves, Team Penske Chevrolet takes the checkered flag
Helio Castroneves, Team Penske Chevrolet pit stop
Roger Penske, Helio Castroneves, Team Penske Chevrolet
Takuma Sato, Andretti Autosport Honda, Helio Castroneves, Team Penske Chevrolet
Helio Castroneves, Team Penske Chevrolet
Polesitter Helio Castroneves, Team Penske Chevrolet

With speculation mounting that Castroneves will be racing a Penske-run Honda DPi sportscar next year, that would make 2017 his last shot at the IndyCar championship. Although he has finished in the top three in the championship eight time in his 19-year career , the 42-year-old has never clinched the title.

However, Castroneves’ win at Iowa Speedway – the 30th of his career but his first in three years – has elevated him to just eight points from current championship leader, Chip Ganassi Racing-Honda’s Scott Dixon.

Now his race engineer Diuguid, has told Motorsport.com that he’s confident his driver can finally clinch the title.

“Absolutely he can," said Diuguid. "The last two years specifically, we’ve had a really strong charge at the title and last year I think we went from sixth in the championship with four or five races to go and finished third, thanks to some good results in the last three races.

“So I think that is something he’s very cognizant of – to be strong at the end of the championship.

“The other thing is that he’s been running this series for 20 years, and it’s difficult to get him riled up about anything. He’s pushing as hard as he always has, he’s confident in the cars we’ve been bringing to the track and his performances in qualifying have shown it, and his performances in races have shown it.

“So looking ahead, yeah, Toronto next week should be good. I think we know he had the pace for pole there last year.”

Diuguid added that he felt Castroneves’ dominance of the Iowa Corn 300 was down to crucial race setup work accomplished in opening practice.

“Not having tested here with the other teams, we figured we’d be at a little bit of a deficit,” he said, “because the left-side tires changed this year which altered the balance of the car a good amount. Our four cars were probably the most different from each other that they’ve been all year.

“On the #3 car we decided to forego a qualifying simulation in first practice just to work on our race setups. We went through a lot of variables this weekend and then hit on a combination he was really happy with. So there were good benefits to focusing a bit extra on race setup, and I think it paid off.”

Castroneves has 395 points to Dixon’s 403, but heads his teammates Simon Pagenaud (372), Will Power (350) and Josef Newgarden (347).

shares
comments
Iowa IndyCar: Top 10 quotes after race

Previous article

Iowa IndyCar: Top 10 quotes after race

Next article

Hildebrand content with runner-up finish at Iowa

Hildebrand content with runner-up finish at Iowa
Load comments
IndyCar’s longest silly-season is still at fever pitch Prime

IndyCar’s longest silly-season is still at fever pitch

The 2021 IndyCar silly season is one of the silliest of all, but it’s satisfying to see so many talented drivers in play – including Callum Ilott. David Malsher-Lopez reports.

IndyCar
Sep 11, 2021
IndyCar young guns are great, but the elders aren’t done yet Prime

IndyCar young guns are great, but the elders aren’t done yet

The ace 20-somethings in IndyCar have risen to become title contenders, but the best of the series veterans are digging deep and responding – and will continue to do so over the next couple of years, says David Malsher-Lopez.

IndyCar
Aug 20, 2021
The F1 champion who became an Indy king in his second career Prime

The F1 champion who became an Indy king in his second career

Emerson Fittipaldi’s decision to go racing with his brother led to him falling out of F1, but he bloomed again on the IndyCar scene. NIGEL ROEBUCK considers a career of two halves

Formula 1
Jul 31, 2021
The lasting legacy of a fallen Indy car rookie Prime

The lasting legacy of a fallen Indy car rookie

Jeff Krosnoff was plucked out of obscurity to become a respected and highly popular professional in Japan, and then got his big break in CART Indy car for 1996. But a tragic accident at Toronto 25 years ago cut short a promising career and curtailed his regular teammate Mauro Martini's passion for racing.

IndyCar
Jul 14, 2021
The winners and losers in IndyCar 2021 – Mid-season review Prime

The winners and losers in IndyCar 2021 – Mid-season review

At the halfway point in the 2021 NTT IndyCar Series season, we've had seven winners in eight races, spread between five teams – none of them Team Penske. In this unusual season, even by IndyCar standards, who’s excelling and who’s dragging their heels? David Malsher-Lopez reports.

IndyCar
Jun 18, 2021
The joy that exposes F1’s key weakness Prime

The joy that exposes F1’s key weakness

Long-awaited wins for ex-Formula 1 drivers Marcus Ericsson and Kevin Magnussen in IndyCar and IMSA last weekend gave F1 a reminder of what it is missing. But with the new rules aimed at levelling the playing field, there’s renewed optimism that more drivers can have a rewarding result when their day of days comes

Formula 1
Jun 17, 2021
Castroneves: How I kept it under control to make Indy 500 history Prime

Castroneves: How I kept it under control to make Indy 500 history

Helio Castroneves’ overwhelming vivaciousness outside the cockpit belies a hardcore racer who knows how to plot his moves – and then recall it all for us. A day after his fourth Indy 500 win, Helio explained his tactics to David Malsher-Lopez.

IndyCar
Jun 2, 2021
How 'chess master' Castroneves cemented his Indy legend status Prime

How 'chess master' Castroneves cemented his Indy legend status

Helio Castroneves joined AJ Foyt, Al Unser and Rick Mears with the most Indianapolis 500 wins after sweeping around the outside of Alex Palou on the penultimate lap in a thrilling climax. In one race, he validated Michael Shank's and Jim Meyer's faith in him, and Helio himself discovered there's life after Penske after all.

IndyCar
Jun 1, 2021