IRL: Texas: Race report

CASTRONEVES CLIMBS FENCE AT TEXAS MOTOR SPEEDWAY FORT WORTH, Texas, Saturday, June 10, 2006 -- Make it Marlboro Team Penske four victories and Target Chip Ganassi Racing two for the season. IRL IndyCar® Series points leader Helio Castroneves...

CASTRONEVES CLIMBS FENCE AT TEXAS MOTOR SPEEDWAY

FORT WORTH, Texas, Saturday, June 10, 2006 -- Make it Marlboro Team Penske four victories and Target Chip Ganassi Racing two for the season.

IRL IndyCar® Series points leader Helio Castroneves climbed his third fence of the season, beating Scott Dixon to the finish line by 0.2402 of a second in the lightning-quick Bombardier Learjet 500k under the lights at Texas Motor Speedway.

Reigning IndyCar Series champion Dan Wheldon, who led the most laps for the third consecutive race, finished third and Indianapolis 500 champion Sam Hornish Jr. fourth. Scott Sharp edged Vitor Meira at the line for fifth place.

The average speed of 185.710 mph in the crash-free race was the third-fastest in series history.

***

POST-RACE NOTEBOOK:

Tony Kanaan wore a special helmet in support of seven-time Tour de France champion Lance Armstrong's Livestrong Foundation during tonight's Bombardier Learjet 500. Kanaan, whose father died of cancer when he was a boy, met Armstrong during the Indianapolis 500 in May and donated the helmet he used when he qualified for the race to Armstrong's foundation. Because of his admiration for Armstrong, a native of nearby Plano, Texas, Kanaan chose to feature a predominantly yellow helmet that features the foundation's logo and slogan "LIVESTRONG."

TONY KANAAN (No. 11 Team 7-Eleven Dallara/Honda/Firestone): "I made a deal with Lance (Armstrong) and the Livestrong Foundation where he was at the Indy 500. We're trying to create a bit of a buzz here in Texas, since this is his hometown." (What will you do with the helmet?): "I'm going to give it to (the foundation) after the race so they can auction it off."

***

P.J. Chesson was seen in the garage area wearing a belt with an LCD signboard front and center and the crawl "Cheever is my hero" in the garage area at Texas Motor Speedway on June 10. Chesson said he's attempting to work out a deal to finish the season with Cheever Racing.

P.J. CHESSON: "I'm not promising anything, but I'm working on something that looks promising. I think we're very close for something for Richmond. A couple of days maybe. I think it could be a really good fit. (Cheever) and I get along really well. He's a really cool, calm, collected guy."

***

* This is Helio Castroneves' 10th career IndyCar Series victory and his third win of the season.

* Castroneves' averaged 185.710 mph, the third-fastest race in IndyCar Series history.

* This is Marlboro Team Penske fourth win of the season and its 19th win in the IndyCar Series. The team's last victory came at Indianapolis 500 with Sam Hornish Jr. The team now has 78 oval wins out of their record 128 career wins - the most of any team in open-wheel racing.

* Scott Dixon finished second, his fourth top-five finish of the season. The finish matched Dixon's best finish at Texas Motor Speedway.

* Dan Wheldon finished third, his fourth top-five finish of the season.

***

Helio Castroneves won round-trip transportation from his home in Miami to Richmond, Va., on a private Bombardier jet as part of his race winnings

BOMBARDIER LEARJET 500K POST-RACE QUOTES:

HELIO CASTRONEVES (No. 3 Marlboro Team Penske Dallara/Honda/Firestone, winner Bombardier Learjet 500k): "These guys are unbelievable. That's why we won the (pit stop) competition at Indy. The in and out laps were really good, and the Marlboro Team Penske car was really good. In the beginning, we had to make some adjustments and they were telling me to save fuel. I was like 'No way, I want to keep going.' Tim (Cindric) made the right calls. What a team. I couldn't ask for anything better. What an incredible race. I couldn't ask for anything better."

DAN WHELDON (No. 10 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Dallara/Honda/Firestone, finished third): "I'm just disappointed. We gave another win to Penske. We dropped the wheel nut on the last stop while I was leaving. It's just one of those things that happens. The team does a fantastic job but we just need to make sure we keep putting the races together. We can't afford in a championship as competitive as this to give Penske wins, and that's what we did today."

SCOTT DIXON (No. 9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Dallara/Honda/Firestone, finished third): "It was all right. I think the first stop or so we ran older tires. As soon as we got to the sticker tires we came alive. We had to push the front wing in, especially in traffic big time. The guys did a great job in the pits. This car has always been a bit draggy. It was the same way at Indy. We're going to get a new one for the next race. If there was one more lap, it would have been interesting between the three of us. Dan (Wheldon) was definitely charging. Tomas (Scheckter) helped me out a bit to tow me up to Helio (Castroneves). It was a good race all in all. It's good for our team and good for points."

SAM HORNISH JR. (No. 6 Marlboro Team Penske Dallara/Honda/Firestone, finished fourth): "We saved fuel all day long and tried to beat them at the end of the day, and it just didn't work out for us. We ran the Marlboro Team Penske car out of fuel. It's unfortunate for us, but that's the way it goes sometimes. We'll have to figure out what we did wrong and try not to do it. We win as a team and we lose as a team. That's all there is to it."

SCOTT SHARP (No. 8 Delphi Dallara/Honda/Firestone, finished fifth): "I am just really happy. I felt coming in here that, hopefully, this would be a race that could start to lead us off on a bit of a run and turn things around for us this year. It hasn't been a struggle, but the results and the speed have been slow to come together as quickly as we wanted. We came here and JD (John Dick, race engineer) and the guys did a great job all weekend, and we were competitive. We qualified seventh and practiced well. I dealt with the car a little bit in the beginning of the race. It was a little bit of a struggle because we were sliding around a lot, but we stayed at it. I think this (result) was everything we had. If you look at the four cars ahead of us, it would be tough at the moment for us to beat them. That's not to say that we are not going to keep trying. I am pleased where we are. We were running third at Richmond before we were taken out last year, ran well at Kansas -- we ought to be on a real good run."

TONY KANAAN (No. 11 Team 7-Eleven Dallara/Honda/Firestone, finished sixth): "This was a long night. That's about all I can say. The Team 7-Eleven car was pretty good, it just wasn't good enough. It was a long race and was typical Texas in the amount of side-by-side racing I had to do."

VITOR MEIRA (No. 4 Panther Racing Dallara/Honda/Firestone, finished seventh): "We ran very good. I think we were tuned perfectly to the last lap. We were just a little bit off on old tires but when the sun went down and the track cooled down, we got a lot more downforce. This is why Panther won so many times here. They know what to do. They take the chances to actually cross the line without fuel. That's why I lost two positions at the end."

KOSUKE MATSUURA (No. 55 Panasonic ARTA Dallara/Honda/Firestone, finished eighth): "I think it was a good race for us, especially the first stint. I was excited because a lot of drivers were struggling with handling but my car seemed to be a little better than the rest of the drivers and I was able to jump up to fourth place. At that point, my car was okay. We added some front wing during our first pit stop. The car seemed to be a little bit slower after that, but I also had some unlucky things. Another car was coming into the pits when I was ready to leave and I had to wait another three seconds. My out and in laps were also a little bit slow, and I need to work more on that. Overall, the guys did a great job this weekend and my engineer Chris Finch as well. We have to work on closing the gap to the Penske and Ganassi guys. We are close, and I am looking forward to the next race in Richmond."

ED CARPENTER (No. 20 Rock & Republic Dallara/Honda/Firestone, finished ninth): "My car was awesome. We didn't need all those green flag (laps). We lost the main pack throughout all the green flag pit stops, and we just could never get back. We needed a yellow here at the end and we would have been right in that thing. It was a really good car. The guys did a good job. Really good pit stops. The strategy didn't go our way."

TOMAS SCHECKTER (No. 2 Rock & Republic Dallara/Honda/Firestone, finished 10th): "I am a little upset because I thought we had a better car than that. I think we got the downforce wrong. Towards the end, the car was great. We could hang with the leaders. With the air cooling, the downforce came back. The car was great. It was all too late by then."

***

The next IndyCar Series event is the SunTrust Indy Challenge at 8 p.m. (EDT) on June 24 at Richmond International Raceway. The race will be televised live by ESPN2 and the IMS Radio Network. The next Indy Pro Series event is the Liberty Challenge on July 1 on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course.

-irl-

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Scott Sharp , Helio Castroneves , Scott Dixon , Tony Kanaan , Dan Wheldon , Chip Ganassi , P.J. Chesson , Sam Hornish Jr. , Vitor Meira
Teams Panther Racing , Team Penske , Chip Ganassi Racing