Power's Third-Place Result Paces Team Penske at Long Beach LONG BEACH, Calif. - Team Penske maintained its championship lead on Sunday with three strong finishes in the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach, though it fell short of producing its...
Power's Third-Place Result Paces Team Penske at Long Beach
LONG BEACH, Calif. - Team Penske maintained its championship lead on Sunday with three strong finishes in the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach, though it fell short of producing its fourth straight win to start the 2010 IZOD IndyCar Series season.
Will Power finished third in Sunday's race and actually extended his lead in the series point standings. Teammate Helio Castroneves posted a seventh-place result to keep his second-place standing in the championship as he is now 42 points behind Power, while Ryan Briscoe finished eighth and is now seventh in the standings, 69 points off of Power's pace.
Power started from the pole position and led the first 16 laps when the No. 12 Verizon Team Penske Dallara/Honda got stuck in first gear on the exit of the final corner of the 11-turn, 1.968-mile street course. Though he surrendered a few positions in the running order, Power recovered and never fell below the top five. He was able push hard to the checkered flag to secure third place for his fourth consecutive top-four finish to start the season. Ryan Hunter-Reay won the race while Justin Wilson finished second.
"Everything was pretty straightforward for the Verizon car early on," said Power. "It was the first time in a while that we didn't have a yellow flag early in the race and we needed that. What we didn't need was the car getting stuck in first gear, which was what happened. I'm not sure why that happened. Three cars got by me and then it got back in gear and everything was fine. I'm still happy, it was a good finish for the points. Verizon Team Penske is still ahead in the championship standings and we've got to keep at it." Castroneves, who won the previous week at Barber Motorsports Park, kept himself in the championship battle with a solid effort in the No. 3 Team Penske Dallara/Honda. His seventh-place finish marked his fourth straight top-10 result to start 2010.
"It was an interesting race," said Castroneves. "It was very unusual in that there were so few yellow flags. Everybody was behaving out there. We definitely had a car that was better than seventh place. Unfortunately, we lost a few positions during our second stint. The good news is we are still second in the championship points. We need to keep pushing heading into Kansas." Briscoe said a few more caution flags during the race around the streets of downtown Long Beach may have helped his cause in the No. 6 Team Penske Dallara/Honda.
"The car was pretty good today," said Briscoe. "It was difficult to pass. We missed it a bit on our strategy today. A yellow flag would have helped our situation, but as it turned out we lost a few spots in the pits. We had a car that was better than eighth place but we scored some points and we'll continue working hard to improve."
Power said the problem that cost him the lead could have been much worse.
"Sometimes these things happen in a championship," said Power. "The worst thing that could have happened was if the car had stayed stuck in first and I didn't finish. It's still a good day. It's good for points."
"It's unfortunate that Will had trouble shifting and lost some spots early on in the race that proved costly in track position," said Tim Cindric, Penske Racing President. "But it's fortunate that Will was still able to finish third and actually extend his points lead and Helio is still second in the championship. Team Penske is looking forward to switching gears and going oval racing over the next few months."
The IndyCar season resumes May 1 with the Road Runner Turbo Indy 300 at Kansas Speedway, the first oval race of the IndyCar season.