Danica Declaration: 2nd -Place Finish “My Best”
Danica Patrick's second place at Texas was her best finish since winning at Twin Ring Motegi in April 2008 (photo courtesy: Jonathan Ferrey, Getty Images Sport)
All eyes were on Danica Patrick this past weekend in Race 7 en route to the IndyCar Championship at Homestead-Miami Speedway Oct. 2. Motorsports’ first lady—who will race at Homestead-Miami Speedway during IndyCar Championship Weekend (Oct. 2) and NASCAR’s Ford Championship Weekend (Nov. 20)—started eighth at Texas and clawed her way to a second-place finish, afterward declaring that the race “was my best from top to bottom.”
Patrick jumped five spots in the Championship-points standings and was credited with leading Lap 192 after a round of green-flag pit stops. Ryan Briscoe—who started from the pole position for the second time this season—led 102 laps, including the final 35, on his way to victory at Texas.
“It was a good weekend last weekend in Indy, and it was a good weekend here in Texas,” said Patrick, who posted her best finish since winning at Twin Ring Motegi in April 2008. “Sometimes the little victories that I have throughout the season are not necessarily obvious on the track; maybe they’re in other aspects of what I’m doing, winning little victories here and there to get everything in line to perform from top to bottom on race day.
“I’ve been working hard all season. It’s just really nice to have a result to show how hard I’ve been working and how hard the team has been working, as well.”
Andretti Autosport team had a good night with Patrick's teammate, Miami-resident Marco Andretti, finishing third, while fellow South Floridians Tony Kanaan and Ryan Hunter-Reay finished sixth and seventh, respectively.
With his Top 10, Kanaan moved up to seventh in the IndyCar Championship standings but appeared to be annoyed by an on-track move made by Patrick. "Things could have been a little bit better, but I'm happy,” he said post-race. “Unfortunately, I got chopped back to 17th by my teammate, and we had to work our way back through the field. I think we had a car to finish a little bit better, but…you can't know what is going to happen until the last lap."
The Ganassi Racing duo of Scott Dixon (fourth) and Dario Franchitti rounded out the Top 5.
"Great car in the front tonight, not as much in traffic," said Franchitti, who took a three-points lead over Will Power in the points race for the 2010 IZOD IndyCar Series Championship, which will culminate at Homestead-Miami Speedway Oct. 2. Tickets to see IndyCar’s Champion crowned in Miami go on sale July 3 (click here for renewal deadlines). For more information, stay tuned to THEChampionshipTrack.com or call (866) 409-RACE.
South Florida resident Helio Castroneves was involved in a multicar incident with KV Racing Technology driver and fellow South Floridian Mario Moraes (see sidebar). The pair touched and collected Bertrand Baguette of Conquest Racing.
Castroneves, Patrick, Kanaan, Dixon, Franchitti and the rest of the IndyCar elite will resume the pursuit for fall glory in Miami on Sunday, June 20, at Iowa (1:30 p.m. EST on VERSUS TV, IMS Radio Network, XM Ch. 145, Sirius Ch. 211)—Race 8 of 17 en route to IndyCar Championship Weekend at Homestead-Miami Speedway (Oct. 2). Both the IZOD IndyCar and Firestone Indy Lights Series Championships will culminate at Homestead-Miami Speedway during the NextEra Energy IndyCar Championships (Oct. 1-2). For ticket information, stay tuned to THEChampionshipTrack.com or call toll free (866) 409-RACE.
Open It Up: South Florida’s Indy Drivers
South Florida-resident Helio Castroneves was involved in a spectacular multi-car accident with fellow Brazilian-turned-Miami resident Mario Moraes in Race 8 of 17 en route to IndyCar Championship Weekend at Homestead-Miami Speedway (Oct. 2). The dancing driver was knocked out of the race on Lap 128 when he got slammed into the wall coming out of Turn 4 while trying to go high around Moraes.
Castroneves confronted Moraes when he emerged from his car, holding his hands up to signify “Why?” Helio, who was without radio communication, clearly wasn't thrilled by Moraes' explanation of the incident.
"I got a good run on him," said Castroneves. “Somehow, he just keep going up, going up. I'm like, ‘What are you doing?’”
"I couldn't hear my spotter say anyone was on the outside," said a seemingly surprised Moraes. "Then I got hit and started spinning. I thought I was by myself. It is a tough one for the KV Racing team."
"Our car was very tough in the beginning," Castroneves added. "We were adjusting, taking it easy. There was still 100 laps to go....I was taking it easy. I'm very upset, obviously. This is going to hurt in the Championship. I'm going to turn the page and move on, but it is very disappointing."
Castroneves is looking to make a run for that Championship on his “home track” of Homestead-Miami Speedway Oct. 2. Tickets to see IndyCar’s Champion crowned in Miami go on sale July 3 (click here for renewal deadlines). For more information, stay tuned to THEChampionshipTrack.com or call (866) 409-RACE.
South Beach-resident Marco Andretti posted his second-consecutive third-place finish of the season and said: "It was definitely a good team effort. The Venom car was strong all night long, and we really showed that. We went to the back a couple of times and just came forward. Never give up—I think that was the name of the game tonight."
On the heels of thumb surgery last week, Boca Raton-native Ryan Hunter-Reay drove from 24th to seventh and had this to say post-race: "I think we had to work harder than anybody else tonight to get what we got. We went from the back to the middle to the back to the middle to the back to the Top 7.
“Once again, we raced well in a pack. We're good in traffic, but the speed we had on our own just wasn't enough. This No. 37 IZOD team is extremely resilient. The guys dig deep, I dig deep; we are a great team. We could win a lot of races together. We'll just have to see what happens."
Miami-resident Mario Romancini turned in strong lap times and soldiered to a 17th-place finish after losing a lap due to handling problems.
"We changed the setup from the last practice…and it wasn’t quite right for the start of the race, so we kept on working on it throughout the race during the pit stops,” said Romancini, who completed all 200 laps the week prior at Indy to top all first-year drivers at the 500. “Unfortunately, in the first stint I got lapped, and that pretty much was the key point for us as I couldn’t get the lap back. By the last stint I was pretty happy with the car….I am a bit disappointed with the result, but I think we learned some important things for Iowa and hopefully we will do better there."
HOW SOUTH FLORIDA DRIVERS FARED:
3. Marco Andretti
6. Tony Kanaan
7. Ryan Hunter-Reay
10. Vitor Meira
11. EJ Viso
16. Raphael Matos
17. Mario Romancini
20. Helio Castroneves
21. Mario Moraes
23. Milka Duno