Castroneves holds off Sato for Edmonton win
Edmonton, AB (Sports Network) - Helio Castroneves moved himself into championship contention in the IZOD IndyCar Series by winning Sunday's caution-free race in Edmonton.
Canadian Alex Tagliani led 49 laps before Castroneves took the lead from him during a late-race round of pit stops in the Edmonton Indy. Tagliani pitted one lap after Castroneves but came back on the track behind the Brazilian.
Takuma Sato wrestled second from Tagliani and then made a charge towards Castroneves with less than 10 laps remaining. Sato pulled to within a half- second, but Castroneves prevailed at the finish line by 0.84 seconds.
Castroneves claimed his second victory of the season and the 27th of his IndyCar career. The Team Penske driver won the March 25 season-opener in St. Petersburg, FL.
"Great strategy," Castroneves said. "I knew where I was very strong, and I knew where I was weak. I think that gave me an opportunity to manage well the win."
Castroneves had finished second in this race three times (2008, '09 and '11). He was on his way to victory in the 2010 event, but a last-lap penalty for blocking prevented him from doing so.
"I think this place owed us a little bit," he noted.
Sato's second-place run marked his career-best finish in IndyCar.
"I really enjoyed it," he said "I wish that I would have enjoyed it a little more if I could overtake (Castroneves), but you know, we were not quite there. He did obviously a great job, made no mistakes at all."
Will Power started 17th due to a penalty for an engine change, but Power rallied for a third-place run, giving Penske two of the top-three finishing positions.
Graham Rahal placed fourth, while Tagliani faded in the closing laps and wound up fifth.
Ryan Hunter-Reay was never a factor, as he was attempting to win his fourth straight race. Hunter-Reay, who had to start 11th despite winning the pole, ended up finishing seven. He also received a 10-grid spot penalty for an engine change.
"To take an engine penalty on a day like today, at a track with long straights, we expected yellows. Maybe lots of them, but we just didn't get them," Hunter- Reay said. "Had we had a yellow, I think I could have gained spots on the restart. We soldiered on to seventh. It was one of those days. We had a fast car and good pit stops but couldn't make up the ground we needed to."
During the first round of pit stops, Power blocked the on-coming car of Hunter-Reay as Power was returning to the track. Hunter-Reay shouted over his team radio that IndyCar officials should penalize Power for his maneuver. Officials reviewed the incident but did not take any action.
With the win, Castroneves moved up to second in the championship standings. He now trails Hunter-Reay by 23 points, while Power dropped to third in the rankings (-26).
"It was a great result for us, a result we were looking for a long time," Castroneves said. "It's well-deserved for the team and great for the championship."
07/22 21:49:02 ET