Penske's Castroneves maintained in Iowa his lead in series championship

Helio Castroneves has now produced top-10 results in eight of the 10 races this season.

Castroneves won his 38th career pole position and second at Iowa Speedway Saturday after topping single-lap qualifying with a record speed and then winning the final 50-lap heat race among the fastest drivers of the day.

Helio Castroneves, Team Penske Chevrolet
Helio Castroneves, Team Penske Chevrolet

Photo by: Chris Jones

Though he earned the nine bonus points for winning the pole, Castroneves started Sunday’s race from 11th place after the No. 3 team took a 10-position grid penalty when they changed engines after qualifying. After taking the green flag, Castroneves moved into the top 10 by Lap 19 and ran there most of the race

The three-time Indy 500 winner ran as high as third place on two separate occasions during Sunday’s race. After finishing eighth, Castroneves has now produced top-10 results in eight of the 10 races this season.

Castroneves maintained his lead in the IZOD IndyCar Series championship standings as he will carry a nine-point advantage over Ryan Hunter-Reay into the next race of the season at Pocono Raceway on July 7.

On working hard for an eighth-place finish... "It was a good job today by the Hitachi team. We drove as hard as we could today. When they told me I came in eighth, I was like 'What?' I certainly felt we had a better car than that. I guess in traffic we got held up coming in and out of the pits which cost us some positions.

The Hitachi car really came alive with about 50 laps to go and it felt great. Maybe it was a little too late for us. But, we still have the points lead and we will look for a better result in Pocono."

On holding the championship lead... “Winning the heat race on Saturday was even more important when you look at how things ended up in the race today. We got nine points for winning the pole and we needed every one because that’s how much we lead now in the championship.”

The first race completed at Iowa for Power since 2010

Power qualified second after a strong performance in Saturday’s final qualifying heat race as he trailed only Castroneves in the 50-lap shootout.

After the No. 3 car team was penalized for the engine change after qualifying, Power and the Verizon team moved into the top position and started Sunday’s race from the front of the field.

Power fell to second after he was passed by eventual race winner James Hinchcliffe on the opening lap. Power still ran inside the top five for the first 87 laps before handling issues began to affect the Verizon car.

After a pit stop on Lap 141, Power dropped to 19th in the running order and after that he had a hard time making up ground on the cars in front of him.

Power finished 17th at the checkered flag but he did improve his position in the series point standings to 10th place overall.

It marked the first race completed at Iowa for Power since 2010 as accidents ended his race early in each of the last two seasons.

On Sunday's finish... "Tough day for the Verizon team. The rear handling of the car was an issue pretty much from the start of the race. It was frustrating because we tried everything we could to make it better but we just couldn't get it to where we wanted it. It was a good job in the pits by the Verizon guys and we look forward to testing this week to make sure we feel good heading into Pocono."

On testing this week at Pocono... “It will be good to get back on track and work on the car’s set up for Pocono. There will be quite a few cars testing there this week so hopefully we’ll get a chance to run in traffic a bit to see how the Verizon car performs.”

Team Penske

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Helio Castroneves , Ryan Hunter-Reay , James Hinchcliffe , Chris Jones
Teams Team Penske
Article type Race report
Tags castroneves, indycar, iowa 250, penske, power