Castroneves Dominates at Twin Ring Motegi Enjoying a late-season surge, Helio Castroneves started from the pole and led a race-high 153 laps en route to victory Sunday at the Honda-owned Twin Ring Motegi Circuit, his second-consecutive IZOD ...
Castroneves Dominates at Twin Ring Motegi
Enjoying a late-season surge, Helio Castroneves started from the pole and led a race-high 153 laps en route to victory Sunday at the Honda-owned Twin Ring Motegi Circuit, his second-consecutive IZOD IndyCar Series triumph.
The win was the third of the season for Castroneves, following his victory two weeks ago at Kentucky Speedway, and an April victory at Alabama's Barber Motorsports Park. Castroneves controlled the race almost from start to finish, giving up the lead only to teammate Ryan Briscoe and, briefly, to an out-of-sequence running Raphael Matos. The win moves Castroneves to third in championship points, but was not enough to put him back in title contention, with just one race remaining in the 2010 IZOD IndyCar Series schedule.
Championship rivals Dario Franchitti and Will Power finished second and third, respectively, setting up a showdown for the title in two weeks time at the season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Power leads Franchitti by just 12 points and the two are the sole remaining title contenders.
All 25 drivers and teams completed the race weekend in Japan without a single failure of the Honda Indy V-8 engine. This weekend, drivers logged a total of 10,634 trouble-free miles around the unique, egg-shaped 1.5-mile oval located north of Tokyo.
Briscoe finished fourth to give an equally dominant Team Penske three of the top four finishing positions, while Danica Patrick was fast all day to round out the top five for Andretti Autosport, with teammates Tony Kanaan and Ryan Hunter-Reay finishing seventh and ninth, respectively.
Takuma Sato led home a three-driver Japanese contingent with a 12th-place finish for KV Racing. Graham Rahal made a late-race surge to finish eighth for Newman Haas Racing while Alex Tagliani climbed to 13th at the finish - after starting 23rd - for the Canadian FAZZT Race Team.
Helio Castroneves (#3 Team Penske Honda) started 1st, finished 1st, his 3rd win of 2010, 25th career open-wheel victory and 2nd win at Twin Ring Motegi: "That's what it's all about, perfect execution by Team Penske. The team did a great job preparing the car, and the car was fantastic and the pit stops were perfect. My car was 'on rails' today. I could drive it anywhere I wanted, just like [his previous Motegi win] 2006."
Dario Franchitti (#10 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Honda) started 4th, finished 2nd, trails Will Power by 12 points going into the season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway: "We were looking pretty good there for awhile. I thought we would gain [more championship points] on Will [Power] until that final pit stop. Helio [Castroneves] was in a class by himself today, but we did our absolute best. We're ready to do it again at Miami in two weeks."
Roger Griffiths (Technical Director, Honda Performance Development) on tonight's race: "The Japanese fans appreciate their racing, and they saw a good one today. There was plenty of side-by-side action which resulted in numerous passes for position. The championship race tightened even further by virtue of Dario's finish ahead of Will, and now we go into the season finale with matters very much in doubt. Congratulations to Helio and Team Penske for a second straight victory, and to our associates at HPD and Ilmor for another perfect weekend of reliability.
-source: honda racing