Castroneves wins at Texas for the fourth time|
Fort Worth, TX (Sports Network) - Helio Castroneves won an IndyCar Series
race at Texas Motor Speedway for a record fourth time by putting on a
dominating performance in Saturday night's Firestone 550.
Castroneves, who started sixth, grabbed the lead from Marco Andretti on lap 97
and then ran in front for the remaining 132 laps to become the seventh
different winner in eight races this season. The Team Penske driver scored his
28th career IndyCar victory, breaking a tie with Johnny Rutherford for 12th on
the series' all-time race winners list.
After taking the checkered flag, Castroneves did his traditional victory
celebration by climbing the fence along the frontstretch and saluting the race
fans. His previous wins at this 1.5-mile racetrack came in 2004, '06 and '09.
He had been in a tie with Sam Hornish Jr. for most victories here. Hornish is
now a full-time competitor in the NASCAR Nationwide Series.
"Texas is awesome; I love this place," a very joyful Castroneves said in
With the win, Castroneves took a 22-point lead over Andretti, who ended up
finishing fifth. Both drivers entered this race in a points tie. Andretti had
led 57 laps before Castroneves took the top spot away from him.
Castroneves also gave team owner Roger Penske his eighth win in 25 IndyCar
races at Texas.
"Helio drove a flawless race and a key victory in our season based on where we
were in the standings," Penske said. "It probably was the best execution we've
had in a long time."
Castroneves's last victory came 11 months ago in Edmonton, Canada. The
Brazilian had not won on an oval since September 2010 in Motegi, Japan.
Tire management was more of an issue for teams than fuel strategy at Texas.
This race featured a changed to the aerodynamic setup of the cars, producing
slightly less downforce. The Firestone tires had a new compound and a left-
side construction that gave the cars slightly more grip.
Castroneves' team seemed to have the least amount of problems with the tires,
as he held a 15-second lead before the third and final caution came on lap 113
when Oriol Servia spun around. Castroneves pitted during that caution while
most other drivers made their stops just prior to the caution.
"It was just the setup," Castroneves said. "We had to do a lot of homework,
and it paid off."
Ryan Hunter-Reay, the defending IndyCar champion, finished 4.7 seconds behind
Castroneves in the runner-up spot.
"The drivers had to drive it tonight," Hunter-Reay said. "That was an
interesting race. It was hard to even get by some of the slower traffic. You
were searching everywhere for grip. I had so many catches out there that I
thought I was going into the wall. It's going to be tough to go to sleep
Tony Kanaan, who won the Indianapolis 500 two weeks ago, placed third, while
Ed Carpenter took the fourth spot.
Dario Franchitti finished sixth, followed by Will Power, the pole sitter, and
Josef Newgarden. James Hinchcliffe and E.J. Viso completed the top-10.
Hinchcliffe remains the only driver with multiple victories this season (St.
Petersburg, Fla. and Sao Paulo, Brazil).
Scott Dixon, who is Franchitti's teammate at Chip Ganassi Racing, and Pippa
Mann, driving the No. 18 car for Dale Coyne Racing, were the only drivers who
did not finish the race. Dixon retired with a gearbox issue after he completed
just 61 laps, finishing 23rd. Mann made only two laps before her engine
06/09 00:16:21 ET