Castroneves wins Kentucky on fuel mileage
Pole sitter Ed Carpenter finished second at the track for the second year in a row and Panther/Vision Racing teammate Dan Wheldon was third. Tony Kanaan charged from 26th in the 27-car field to fourth and Dario Franchitti was fifth.
By making an additional stop during a mid-race yellow Castroneves was out of sequence with the rest of the leaders. As luck would have it, those extra few laps' worth of fuel meant he was able to run to the finish while the rest of the leaders had to pit in the final eight laps, handing Castroneves the win.
Until then the Panther Racing team appear headed to victory. Dan Wheldon was in position to get his first victory, but had to settle for third, while polesitter Ed Carpenter had his best finish in second in the Panther/Vision Racing car.
Points leader Will Power led for much of the race, but lost ground late on due to a pit miscue for the 2nd race in a row and only finished eighth, beaten again by his title rival Dario Franchitti who was able to close the points gap for the 2nd race in a row by taking fifth - leaving them just 17 points apart with two rounds to go.
Marco Andretti earned a second top 10 in a row, with Scott Dixon following in seventh. Danica Patrick finished ninth and Bertrand Baguette posted his season best in 10th.
The next IZOD IndyCar Series race is the Indy Japan 300 on Sept. 19 at Twin Ring Motegi. The race will be telecast live in High Definition at Midnight (ET) by VERSUS on Sept. 19. The race will air live on the IMS Radio Network, XM channel 145 and Sirius channel 212. The race also will be carried on www.indycar.com. The 2010 Firestone Indy Lights season concludes with the Miami 100 on Oct. 2 at Kentucky Speedway.
HELIO CASTRONEVES (No. 3 Team Penske, Kentucky Indy 300 winner): "Unfortunately we had an issue with our pit stop, but we started to make ground and head to the front. I tried to stay steady. You have to remember it is 200 laps. We were loose in the beginning, but at the end it was meant to be. I remember in 2008 here I ran out of fuel and finished in second. When the team told me to save fuel I was just trying to keep it up and stay in the draft. It was similar to what happened in 2008 and this time it paid off for Team Penske. I am very excited for this win and to be a part of the IZOD IndyCar Series.
ED CARPENTER (No. 20 Panther/Vision/Fuzzy's Vodka, finished second): "For Dan and I to finish second and third is a little disappointing because we were so strong all weekend. Dan had a dominant car today and it's tough being in our position when you have a guy win on fuel mileage. I think we are very proud having two Panther cars on the podium. We made a pretty big wing change after we were loose and that slowed us down in the pits. We dropped back a few positions and then worked our way through the field."
DAN WHELDON (No. 4 National Guard Panther Racing): "The whole Panther racing team has done a phenomenal job to be able to bring the two cars to these last two races. Having Ed (Carpenter) on board is a fantastic addition and we have a great relationship. The race went very well and the #4 boys did a fantastic job in the pits. The ending was unfortunate. I would like to have Ed race with us in Motegi as well. I am bummed that the race didn't turn out different, but it will motivate us for the last two races. The quality of the Honda was fantastic out there. "
TONY KANAAN (No. 11Team 7-Eleven, finished fourth-place): "I promised my fans on Twitter I would pass 11 cars on the first lap. It was only 10. I apologize to all of my followers that I couldn't do it. It was a great race. I worked with Marco (Andretti) and Ryan (Hunter-Reay) so well. It was fun. I hate strategy races. Dan Wheldon deserved to win this one. Racing is never fair, but that's the way it is."
DARIO FRANCHITTI (No. 10 Dixie, finished fifth): "From where we were after the first lap to where we finished the night, it was an exciting race. We marched our way from 14th to third, I guess. We were hovering around the front. We were second, running behind Dan (Wheldon), but Helio (Castroneves) had the fuel to go to the end and we did not. We finished ahead of Will (Power) which was one of the things we needed to achieve, but it would have been nice to have finished a little further up. I enjoyed racing with Tony (Kanaan) up front we were working well together. Everybody was fighting for grip and sliding around a little. It was not a bad night."
MARCO ANDRETTI (#26 Meijer, finished sixth): "The Meijer car wasn't as strong in traffic as we needed it to be. I wasn't able to work my magic on the high line and we fell on the wrong side of strategy. It's still nice to be able to finish inside the top 10, but after running in the top three for most of the night, I was hoping for more out of the finish."
WILL POWER (No. 12 Verizon Team, finished eighth): "The Verizon car was great out front. I had a little understeer back in traffic. Really, my night was quite good, although after my last stop I think I hit some oil from an earlier incident between Turns 3 and 4. I pushed up straight towards the wall - I was very close to hitting it. Congratulations to Helio and Team Penske for bringing home the victory. We have our work cut out for us for the championship, but we still have the lead and onward we go."
DANICA PATRICK (No. 7 Team GoDaddy.com, finished ninth): "That was a lot of work for a ninth-place finish. I had a good car all night and was running with the lead pack the entire time. Right before the final pit stop I was in the top six so I thought it would end up playing out that way. My GoDaddy guys did a great job tonight and I really appreciate all their hard work."
BERTRAND BAGUETTE (No. 34 RACB Conquest Racing, finished 10th): "I think it was a good race for us, starting P6 and running third for a while. It felt good for the team and for me to be in that position. Unfortunately, we lost some positions during a pit stop, which put us at the back of the pack. I was able to gain some positions on the restart but then I got stuck behind Tracy. He was difficult to overtake because he was going on the inside and outside and never doing the same thing. We finally did get by him and in the end score our first top 10. We've been continuously improving, which is good, and hopefully we can do even better at the next one."
PAUL TRACY (No 24 Motegi Wheels/ Dad's Root Beer/ Dreyer & Reinbold Racing, finished 12th): "It's been a long time since I did this style of racing. We started in the back, worked our way forward, and the Motegi/Dad's car was great tonight. I got going and going better and better through the race. We kind of just got separated from the lead pack. We had just a little bit of imbalance in the car and to come home 12th was a pretty good result for the team. We're happy with that and my first race on a mile and a half in six years. I felt pretty good with how I ran and how the team performed and no complaints."
ALEX LLOYD (No. 19 Boy Scouts of America, finished 13th): "We had some decent stints and some not so great stints. There was a little contact when (Takuma) Sato spun at that beginning and we clipped the rear a bit. After we pitted at that first caution, we struggled with the car. We made it better and were running reasonably well by the middle of the stint. We were running pretty well towards the middle of the stint, but just lost too many spots in the second half of the race. It was a solid day, but not what we were hoping for. We struggled a bit this weekend."
ALEX TAGLIANI (No. 77 FAZZT Race Team, finished 15th): "Again I'm very proud of the team I think they did a great job on the car. We had a really good solid car to finish in the top 10 easily especially when we were in traffic I think the car was fast. We seem to be quicker than Dario; definitely in turbulence the car was good really. So we started having some problems with the brakes and every time I came in the pits I really had a hard time to slow down in my box and slow down to get onto the speed limiter so we kept losing a lot of spots. It's 2 races in a row where the car was good on the oval so I'm please with the set up; it's just unfortunate that we didn't have a good clean race. It's a big learning curve, learning year, it's the first time for me here in Kentucky and as a team we are learning every race. A year from now when we come back here I think it's going to be a totally different race. Overall I'm really pleased with the car set up."
RAPHAEL MATOS (No. 2 HP de Ferran Dragon Racing, finished 16th): "After a disappointing qualifying run yesterday, we were expecting a tough race tonight and it certainly was. The result was clearly not what we hoped for, but at least we salvaged some points. The crew did a great job with pit stops. Unfortunately, we just didn't have the speed tonight.
HIDEKI MUTOH (No. 06 Formula Dream/Panasonic, finished 17th): "It was a tough race; I struggled at the beginning again and lost many positions. We made a big change overnight. I trust the team on the change but I needed time to adapt to the new balance. It took me a while to get the right balance with the tools inside the car. On the second pit stop we adjusted the front wing and it was a good change. After that I was able to work on the car even more with my tools and I think the balance was pretty good but unfortunately we were one lap down so I let the top guys by. Seventeenth place was not what we were expecting but at least we finished the race and we have data to check to improve on for Motegi. I'm looking forward to racing at home again."
RYAN HUNTER-REAY (No. 37 Team IZOD, finished 21st): "We had a great day going. We went from 27th to the top five and were just biding our time. I liked the clean air there, working with my teammates. We tucked in line, were just waiting to fight it out at the end and had a problem in the right rear that ended our night. It's unfortunate. The IZOD guys did a great job all weekend. After we had the incident on Friday, for them to put a car out there that could run back up to the front says a lot about the team and the guys working on the car."
Winner's average speed: 174.402
Time of Race: 01:41:50.0059
Margin of victory: 13.1597 seconds
Cautions: 2 for 23 laps
Lead changes: 11 among 7 races
Lap Leaders: Carpenter 1-10, Wheldon 11-53, Power 54-55, Briscoe 56, Tracy 57-60, Power 61 - 141, Wheldon 142-143, Dixon 144, Castroneves 145-147, Wheldon 148 - 195, Carpenter 196, Castroneves 197-200.
Point Standings: Power 552, Franchitti 535, Dixon 469, Castroneves 448, Briscoe 418, Hunter-Reay 404, Kanaan 392, Andretti 347, Wheldon 346, Wilson 335.
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