Helio Castroneves used a late race yellow to beat his Penske teammate Ryan Briscoe out of the pits before going on to victory at Texas Motor Speedway. It was the Brazilian's second victory this season and Team Penske's third. Victory...
Helio Castroneves used a late race yellow to beat his Penske teammate Ryan Briscoe out of the pits before going on to victory at Texas Motor Speedway. It was the Brazilian's second victory this season and Team Penske's third.
"In the beginning of the race, we were saving fuel, but you're also trying to figure out what your car is doing," said Castroneves. "The car was loose, and there were some moments out there, but we figured out what to do and with the great pit stop, the guys put me up front."
Briscoe was the class of the field, leading 160 laps and lapping the field up to eighth place, but in the end he couldn't pass his teammate. "We did the best we could, I just didn't have enough for Helio in the final stages," Briscoe said. "The last 20 laps were some of the most frustrating I've ever driven. To lead the whole race and have the quickest car out there, I just couldn't pass Helio."
Briscoe crossed the finish line 0.3904 behind Castroneves, finishing second for his second consecutive race.
Briscoe enjoyed a ten second lead at one point but that erased on lap 150 when a yellow flag was shown for debris. The field reported to the pits for service and Briscoe returned to the track with the lead. Castroneves made improvements to his car and kept Briscoe in sight during the next stint.
The third and final caution period came 23 laps later when A. J. Foyt IV crashed in second turn. The field again reported for service with Castroneves winning the race off pit road followed by Briscoe, Scott Dixon, Dario Franchitti and Marco Andretti.
Scott Dixon managed to hold on to third place and is now second in the championship standings.
Dixon said traffic was a tough part of the race. "When you have to run up top, it's not as grippy up there. That definitely makes it exciting. I made a few mistakes running up high tonight and lost a bit of ground, especially towards the end when I kind of got moved up there."
The Penske and Ganassi drivers initially pulled away from a battle involving Andretti, Danica Patrick, Dan Wheldon and Tony Kanaan.
Patrick and Andretti managed to get around Wheldon, setting up an intense battle between the pair that saw Patrick nearly send her teammate into the wall. Andretti's car was best on the high line and he had several runs at Patrick that were blatantly blocked.
Andretti finally got by and with a handful of laps left he set his sights on Franchitti, passing him for fourth place on the final lap.
Andretti was visibly upset after the race. "The toughest people out there passing me are my teammates, and I don't get that. I think three out of four of us get what the camaraderie of Andretti Green Racing is."
Franchitti was fifth followed by Patrick, Wheldon and Tony Kanaan, who was eighth after rebounding from going a lap down.
Franchitti said he was thwarted by fuel mileage, adding "I hope it doesn't cost us at the end of the year."
Ed Carpenter was ninth, the last driver on the lead lap.