Castroneves Fights the Power…and Wins
South Florida resident Helio Castroneves set an IndyCar Series record by winning at least one race in 10 consecutive seasons. Castroneves grabbed the lead after Marco Andretti stopped for fuel late in the race (photo courtesy: IndyCar Media)
At the inaugural Indy Grand Prix of Alabama, South Florida’s Helio Castroneves snapped the two-race win streak of teammate Will Power and notched his first win on a road/street course race since August 2008. It was Race 3 of 17 en route to the IndyCar Series crowning its 2010 Champions at Homestead-Miami Speedway the weekend of Oct. 1-2. For ticket information, stay tuned to THEChampionshipTrack.com or call (866) 409-RACE.
“Today was a great day for Team Penske—and especially the No. 3 guys,” Castroneves said post-race.
Power came into Alabama with hopes of achieving what no IndyCar driver ever has done—win the first three races of a season. Those hopes, however, were dashed when Castroneves inherited the lead after Marco Andretti had to pit for fuel just eight laps from the end of the 90-lap race.
The winner of Season 5 of ABC hit TV show “Dancing with the Stars,” Castroneves then held off Scott Dixon before launching into his trademark celebratory fence climb in Turn 9. Reigning IndyCar Champion Dario Franchitti finished third, and Danica Patrick—who will race at Homestead-Miami Speedway during both IndyCar Championship Weekend (Oct. 2) and NASCAR’s Ford Championship Weekend (Nov. 20)—finished 19th.
"I felt like the Team Penske car was better than Marco's but, unfortunately I just couldn't pass him,” said Castroneves. “I was just patient and waiting for an opportunity, and, well, I guess we were able to be smart enough to save a lot of fuel.”
Castroneves also denied his Penske teammate of a series-record third consecutive victory to start the season. The pole-sitting Power had to pit for the final time on Lap 63, which dropped him to seventh place before finishing fourth to retain the Championship points lead by 32 over Castroneves. Franchitti ranks third as the series heads to Long Beach on April 18. Boca Raton-native Ryan Hunter-Reay slipped to seventh in the Championship standings after a 12th-place finish Sunday
“Towards the end, we just had a yellow flag; I didn't ask for that, especially when you have Scott Dixon and those guys behind you,” Castroneves said post-race. “So I just decided to make sure I did not give any opportunities for those guys, and that's what I did. I knew what the car was capable of doing. Sometimes you've got to count with a little luck.”
This was the first IZOD IndyCar Series win of the season and the 17th win of his IZOD IndyCar Series career for South Florida’s dancing driver, who will be seeking glory on his “home track” in Miami Oct. 1-2. For ticket information on the Championship finale in Miami, stay tuned to THEChampionshipTrack.com or call (866) 409-RACE.
The victory gives Castroneves a record-setting 10th season with at least one win; having done so in consecutive years is also an IZOD IndyCar Series record.
Castroneves, Power, Franchitti, Dixon and the rest of the IndyCar field will resume the pursuit for fall glory in Miami with Race 4 of the 2010 season at Long Beach on Sunday, April 18 (3:30 p.m. EST on VERSUS TV, IMS Radio Network, XM Ch. 145 and Sirius Ch. 211). Both the IZOD IndyCar and Firestone Indy Lights Series Championships will culminate at Homestead-Miami Speedway the weekend of Oct. 1-2. For ticket information, stay tuned to THEChampionshipTrack.com or call toll free (866) 409-RACE.
Open It Up: South Florida’s IndyCar Drivers
"Overall I think this shows we're on the right track."
--South Beach resident Marco Andretti after finishing fifth
Helio Castroneves claimed victory in Race 3 of 17 en route to the IndyCar Series crowning its 2010 Champions at Homestead-Miami Speedway (Oct. 1-2), and South Beach-resident Marco Andretti finished a season-best fifth. But it was a tough afternoon for some of their neighboring South Florida IndyCar pilots, as seven of the 10 finished outside the Top 10.
"We have to be happy to put the Venom car into the Top 5, especially after our finishes on road courses last year,” Andretti said. “Helio just went longer than us each time, and that was the difference at the end. He was able to go that much farther, and we fell short.
“Now we just have to keep marching forward. The four of us [Andretti Autosport teammates] are working together to keep improving our race cars; we're still a bit off pace. Overall I think this shows we're on the right track."
Tony Kanaan and the No. 11 Team 7-Eleven car finished eighth in the race for the 2010 IndyCar Championship, to be crowned Oct. 2 at Homestead-Miami Speedway. For ticket information, stay tuned to THEChampionshipTrack.com or call (866) 409-RACE.
"It was a long day for us,” Kanaan said. “I think we had the right strategy, but we just didn't have the kind of speed that we needed to push those guys up front. It's tough, but we have to keep working and get ready for Long Beach."
How South Florida drivers fared at the Indy Grand Prix of Alabama:
1. Helio Castroneves
5. Marco Andretti
8. Tony Kanaan
12. Ryan Hunter-Reay
13. Mario Moraes
14. Raphael Matos
16. EJ Viso
18. Vitor Meira
22. Mario Romancini
24. Milka Duno