Texas Motor Speedway
Power Scores First Win On Oval In Firestone Twin 275 Race #2
Will Power, who finished third in the first race of the Firestone Twin 275s at Texas Motor Speedway, drew the third starting position for the second 114-lap race. It certainly was advantageous in a sprint.
Power overtook Tony Kanaan on Lap 39, and after cars cycled through two pit stops (the latter with 10 or so laps left), he was out in front again to stay to score his first IZOD IndyCar Series oval victory. The 25 points (plus two bonus points for leading the most laps) gave Power a 239-218 points advantage over second place Dario Franchitti heading into the Milwaukee 225 on June 19.
Franchitti, who earned 27 points by winning the first race and leading the most laps, drew the 28th starting position for Race 2. He weaved his way to finish seventh but lost five points through the two races under the lights.
Dixon, who started 18th, was 0.9466 of a second behind Power; he was runner-up in both races to move up one spot in the championship standings to third.
Ryan Briscoe finished third and Team Penske teammate Helio Castroneves was fourth. Kanaan finished fifth, and Marco Andretti advanced 21 spots to sixth.
It was the first caution-free IZOD IndyCar Series race since the 2009 season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway -- when Franchitti clinched the title over his teammate Dixon. It also was the second-fastest race in series history (206.64 mph average).
RACE #2 POST-RACE NOTES
This is Will Power third win in 2011 and his 12th win of his Indy car career. It is the first time he has won on an oval. Power has previously won at Barber Motorsports Park and Sao Paulo.
Scott Dixon finished second, his fourth top-five finish of 2011. Dixon has finished second 25times in his Indy car career - tying Dario Franchitti and Gordon Johncock for ninth on the all-time list.
Ryan Briscoe finished third, his third top-three finish of the season.
RACE #2 POST-RACE QUOTES:
WILL POWER (No. 12 Verizon Team Penske, winner Race #2): "This means so much to me and the (Verizon Team Penske) boys. We've been chasing this for so long. It was a fun race and great day. It was a good battle with (Tony) Kanaan at the start and then (Scott) Dixon came on strong. This is what we need for the championship."
RYAN BRISCOE (No. 6 Guidepoint Systems Team Penske): "It was an exciting night, the new two-race format ended up working well for us. The Guidepoint Systems car ran strong in both races. We were able to improve from our starting position in each of the two races. We made some changes between the races and the car ran even better still. We just missed out on a Team Penske 1-2-3, but I think that we can feel very pleased with our result."
CHARLIE KIMBALL (No. 83 Levemir and NovoLog FlexPen): "I have to give so much credit to the Novo Nordisk team. The No. 83 Levemir and NovoLog FlexPen car and crew did a great job. Without them, I wouldn't have done those last 114 laps of the race. They worked so fast to get the car turned over and not only that but it was a rocket ship, it was fast. I learned a lot; it was unfortunate what happened in the first race but I learned from it and it showed in the second race. It was a long, hot night and we'll be in better shape when we come back."
GRAHAM RAHAL (No. 38 Service Central): "I was very happy with the first race results. To work from starting 20th to finish in the top-10, it felt pretty good to finish 9th. I was very happy with that and thought Lady Luck was on our side after our random draw to start fourth in the second race. We ran a great race and ran right where we felt we needed to. I would've liked to have ran up front when I caught the front pack, but I couldn't quite do anything with it. The Service Central team did a great job in the pits all day and I'm really proud of them. They stuck with us all weekend when we were really struggling and for us to perform the way we did tonight felt really good. I'm really not sure what happened there at the end with the fuel pump or whatever happened, we haven't figured it out yet. The car shut off right when the fuel light came on, which is something it's never done before then the car wouldn't restart when it had fuel. I'm just really proud of these Service Central guys. It really hurts us in the championship run as we were looking to gain some good points tonight. Unfortunately, it just slipped away from us.
When you are slow and you have to lift...
ED CARPENTER (No. 67 Dollar General/Sarah Fisher Racing): "Race two was a little different than the first. We definitely made the car better, but just got caught in a couple of bad situations where I had to lift because a couple of guys washed up in front of me, so we lost some spots. That's the one thing that stinks about the shorter race. You get behind and there is no time to recover. We didn't do a good enough job in these two races tonight, myself included. I feel bad for the team and Dollar General because we had a faster car than where we finished both races and that's frustrating.
ORIOL SERVIA (No. 2 Telemundo Newman/Haas Racing): "The first race was terrible; we were slow and we were way off on the balance. We had huge understeer and I couldn't follow anybody. When you are slow and you have to lift, you are going to the back super-fast which is what happened to us. And then I am very happy for the second race because we definitely adjusted the balance. We changed the springs, we changed the wings and downforce and honestly, the balance of the Telemundo car was perfect. It was on the edge, it was good but we were just still slow. We don't know why in Indy we definitely had a good speed car against the wind in terms of drag and here, we just didn't. We had a great test in Milwaukee so we are looking forward to racing there. (Will) Power was a little bit faster so we definitely need to do some work but we are encouraged going there."
JAMES HINCHCLIFFE (No. 06 Sprott Newman/Haas Racing): "At the beginning of the first race the Sprott car felt quite good; we were pretty racy and we were making some moves and getting used to the rhythm of everything. And then about halfway through the first stint we really started losing the front end of the car. Part of it was my inexperience on getting to the tools fast enough and I think part of it was setup. We lost a bit of time, we lost some spots and then we had come in for a pit stop and caught a yellow and unfortunately I made a rookie error and passed the pace car trying to get out ahead of it and then we got a stop and go penalty and ended up much further down in Race 1 than we probably should have been. It was very unfortunate circumstances with the penalty there. For Race 2 we made some adjustments to the car and the first stint again, on the first 10-15 laps it felt really good and then the end of that stint we really lost the front of the car and I was hanging on for dear life and had maxed out all the adjustments in the car. I made sure I stayed on top of it and learned from Race 1 but we just ran out of things to do so we pitted and made a wing change and the car was so much better in the second stint but unfortunately without any yellows, we had made our bed and had to lie in it. Unfortunately the yellows didn't help us out today but I certainly learned a ton. To get the first 1.5-mile race out of the way is a big deal. I think both cars would have liked to finish a little higher but we just have to work harder in the next one."
ALEX TAGLIANI (No. 77 Bowers & Wilkins Sam Schmidt Motorsports): "It was a little bit harder, for sure, starting farther back in the second race. I was struggling to stay on the top with some balance issue. I was just struggling more on top than on the bottom. The top was the way to go fast, so I was struggling. But overall from team perspective, we scored good points compared with some of our competition. I think we're still going to look fairly good in the championship, maybe even gain a spot or two. This is a kind of track where you want to come out with the car in one piece. "
WADE CUNNINGHAM (No. 99 Creatherm Sam Schmidt Motorsports): "I got a lot of experience tonight and I was in a lot of traffic, especially in the second race where I was just trying to stay out of the way. It was a long night for me. In the second race, I didn't know what to expect heading into the first corner in a different car, with a different set-up and in a car I hadn't even sat in before. It was just a big unknown. I tried to make the most of the new tires on the first few laps. But unfortunately, it's a road-course car and not in superspeedway trim. Once I got back into third or fourth, and you get in the turbulent air and obviously I wasn't comfortable in the car, it was just tough to hang on at that point. It was a tough night. It was tough to get over the crash in the first race because we were running so well."
JR HILDEBRAND, No. 4 National Guard Panther Racing: "It's definitely cool to be out here and Texas is a place that historically holds some good racing. It's unfortunate for us that we weren't in the thick of that race for the whole time. We definitely were racing out there and in both races, once we got to the end of the race, felt pretty quick and like we could mix it up out there. Our first stint in each of the races was pretty lousy and we guessed a little wrong in the first stint of both races, which played a big part in determining where we ended up at the end. This is something to learn from and we've got a couple more tracks on the schedule that aren't quite like Texas but are big one-and-a-half-mile ovals and I know we can take some lessons from running here and apply them. The two-race format is cool. It gives you the chance re-group, change more than just front wing and tire pressures and give it a shot again. I'd be all about doing it again. People complain a lot these days about race length, so I think doing something like this makes it that much more exciting."
TONY KANAAN (No. 82 GEICO - KV Racing Technology - Lotus): "We got lucky with the draw for race two. After race one I knew that we knew I didn't quite have the speed of some of the other guys. We changed the car quite a bit between races and I liked the changes we made...the only problem is that everyone else had time to make changes, too. But hey, anytime you get out of Texas in one piece it's a good race...and we are still fifth in the championship race, so we'll take it."
E.J. VISO (No. 59 PDVSA - KV Racing Technology - Lotus): "I am pretty happy with the result tonight. It was great to finish in the top-10 in both races especially coming from so far behind (19th and 29th). I want to thank my team, it has been a rough start to the season, but we always knew that we had the potential and finally I was able to repay them with a good finish. In the second race it was tough starting in the last row, but I was able to gain 19 places and it was a lot of fun out there. With the race being shorter than normal though, it was hard to catch the guys up front. I am looking forward to Milwaukee next weekend. I think we will also be fast there. It's a short and fun place where a lot of car control is needed. Once again thanks to all my sponsors, especially PDVSA and my crew for all their hard work."
TAKUMA SATO (No. 5 KV Racing Technology - Lotus): "I want to thank the entire KVRT - Lotus team. It was a great weekend and we achieved a strong result. The first race was solid. The balance was not great at the start of the race and I lost some positions, but I gained them back later, which was exciting. The second race was really crazy. I started from the back of the pack, but I got through. It was difficult to gain many positions because there were no cautions, but .I enjoyed having to fight back. I had a couple of moments while battling other cars, but I am very pleased. with where we finished today. HELIO CASTRONEVES (AAA Insurance Team Penske): "I'm honestly really happy. I'm really happy for these guys. We had so much trouble finishing out first top five of the season. Do you believe that? I mean, just to show this series is very competitive. Finally we are getting our synchronization here, the car is better. The first race unfortunately, we didn't take the tires and that was bead because we ended up going to the back, but I figure we would have been able to finish up both in the top 5, but I'll take it. I'm happy. Triple A was right up there." (About the format of the night): "I though it was great. I thought it was really good. Certainly whoever has the fastest car goes to the front no matter what. And I do believe the fans enjoyed it, and I enjoyed it, but when the car's good you enjoy anything!"
DANICA PATRICK (No. 7 Team GoDaddy): "It was a lot of work, both of them, especially the first one. My car was a little more inconsistent during the first race. Once we cranked up the front wing, it was OK. We started from 20th for the second race and made our way up to 8th. The first stint was a struggle, but we pitted early and picked up some positions. It's a little disappointing because I ran so well here last year, and I know I can do well here. I was hoping to have a better finish for the GoDaddy.com car."
MARCO ANDRETTI (No. 26 Team Venom Energy): "The two race format made things interesting today and hopefully good for the fans. We came away from the first race decent but were able to make some positive changes between the two races. For me the difference between the first and second race was being able to use the third lane in the second race. The Venom car ran well and was handling good - it would have been nice to have had a better draw than starting 27th, but we were able to make up all the ground on the track we could."
...we lost it in the pits again.
VITOR MEIRA (No. 14 ABC Supply/A.J. Foyt Racing): "This place is definitely intense, you can't take it for granted. We had a very good run in first race, and we did improve the car for the second race-- made it a bit faster. But I don't think we were at the right place at the right time. In the beginning of the second race, I couldn't keep it on bottom for very long and that's where they got me. But I don't want to blame it on the balance because the speed wasn't 100% there. I think the ABC Supply team did everything we could—got the bugs out of it, had a decent qualifying effort…strong during the race—it's just a tiny bit of speed we're missing that we have to keep searching for which will bring us to the next level." (Any Close calls?):"You have close calls all the time in Texas but when the car is good you can avoid them—the close calls come less often. I had a good car so I could avoid a lot of them." (About Twin Format): "Surprisingly it was pretty cool. It was good—we didn't get the short end of the stick—starting 12th and 7th. [Surprise you that it went nonstop in the second race?] It did but the level of drivers and level and teams is really helping that—it's so high now that people know what to do now. They are really getting professional and result of that is more green flag racing."
RYAN HUNTER-REAY (No. 28 Sun Drop/DHL/Snapple): "During the first race, we just completely missed the balance. The car had no grip at the front, so it was just survival getting through that first race. We had a better car for the second race, but just didn't have the outright speed we needed to stay up front. We'll regroup and get the DHL/Sun Drop car to the podium soon."
MIKE CONWAY (No. 27 Hire Heroes USA/Dr Pepper/7-Eleven/DHL): "The first race we managed our way through the field, but we lost what we had gained during the first pit stop. From there, it was just trying to get through the back. We tried to get the car better for the second race. The Hire Heroes car was feeling good; we managed to get the car up to 12th place, but we lost it in the pits again. I thought we had a top-12 car, but it was good to get some mileage in on an oval. Hopefully we can build on this and take it to Milwaukee."