Team Penske to start 1-2 in Iowa
Will Power brought the No. 12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet to the checkered in second behind his teammate in Race No. 3. However, the result of an unapproved engine change for Castroneves’ car, Power will slide over to the pole position for the start of the race. Castroneves will start 11th with the 10-grid position penalty.
“I tell you, what a great job by the Hitachi team and my engineer Jonathan (Diuguid) and John (Erickson) calling the race strategy,” said Castroneves, who secured his 37th career IndyCar pole position. “It’s always great to win the pole but it took a lot to get this one and, I have to be honest, we really need those extra points.”
Following the heat race, Team Penske officials decided to change the engine on Castroneves' car for Sunday’s race and will incur a 10-position starting grid penalty as a result. Castroneves will start 11th in Sunday's race, as Power will now start from the top position at the drop of the green flag.
Power passed James Hinchcliffe in the second half of the heat race and brought the No. 12 Verizon Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet home in second place to earn his fourth front-row starting position of the season. Power also earned eight championship points for the strong qualifying run.
“It’s a really good result for the team and it will be good to start up front tomorrow,” said Power, who won the pole at Iowa in 2010. “The Verizon car was very good today and we feel good about where we are for Sunday’s race. We saw tonight that there could be a lot of action in the race tomorrow so we’ll see how things play out.”
Saturday’s effort marked the first Verizon P1 pole award of the season for Castroneves as he earned his fifth top-two qualifying result at Iowa in seven races. Castroneves, who has produced top-10 finishes in eight of nine races this year – including a win at Texas – will be looking for his first career victory at Iowa Speedway and the first at the venue for Team Penske on Sunday.
“We have led a lot of laps here and been in a good position before and something always seems to happen here in Iowa,” said Castroneves, who will carry a 25-point lead in the championship standings over Ryan Hunter-Reay into Sunday’s race. “Hopefully, we will be able to finally deliver tomorrow but we will have our work cut out for us and we just have to keep being consistent and patient. That is what’s worked for us so far.”
Coverage of Sunday’s Iowa Corn Indy 250 will begin on ABC-TV at 2:30 p.m. ET.
“It’s really welcome, to be honest. I’m very excited for what we achieved. The car is really good. We were watching the other ones in the first heat and second heat so we can learn something. It’s the toughest one because you want to make some change, but you don’t know what. And, but it was in the end, the right decision what we did, again. So this weekend seems that we’re making the right choice on the changing of the car.”
ARE YOU NOT 100% HAPPY WITH YOUR CAR?
“You guys (the media) are going to find out very soon what’s going on. Hopefully; yeah, you guys are going to find out very soon.
“I might be overpowered. That’s what I’m saying. I’m going to try to make sure I get my voice heard.”
WILL POWER, NO. 12 VERIZON TEAM PENSKE CHEVROLET, QUALIFIED 2ND: ON HIS QUALIFYING LAP AND RACE: “Practice, really came on there during the race so, yeah, happy with second. I had a moment when I crossed the bottom line there in (Turns 1 and 2) and had a big moment, and then I just decided to settle for second. But the car was very solid. Obviously we have to go back and work on this. Hopefully we’ll have a good car tomorrow and another good result because we keep chipping away on the points.”
YOU ARE MAKING GREAT PROGRESS ON THE OVALS. TALK ABOUT THAT: “Yeah, the ovals have been my best results this year. And I haven’t been slow on the ovals, I’ve just had rotten luck you could say. There’s always a reason for some sort of mistake. But in the past years, that’s been the case. But, definitely I’m having fun on ovals this year and enjoying them and hopefully I can bring a good result for the team.”
DID THOSE LAPS HELP YOU MORE ABOUT WHAT THE CAR CAN DO FOR TOMORROW, EVEN THOUGH THE CONDITIONS MAY BE DIFFERENT? “Yeah, they did. Definitely. It definitely gives you a bit of a heads-up of what your problems are or where your car is strong and where you can run in traffic, and so on. I don’t think the conditions will be much different tomorrow. I hope it doesn’t cool down any because the cars are just stuck. I mean, they’re just stuck. So, if you ever had a moment or you went in the wall it’s just going to be so hard. I just think that the downforce is too much. Although, it’s helping me. I’m enjoying it.”
THIS IS SIX TRIPS FOR TEAM PENSKE TO IOWA. YOU’VE ALWAYS BEEN STRONG. THIS IS AS GOOD A TIME AS ANY FOR PENKSE TO GET THAT FIRST WIN “Yeah, you can never tell in these races. There are so many competitive people. But, hopefully; I really need to gain some points on those guys, Helio and Hunter-Reay, and everyone in front of me. There are a lot of people in front of me. But at some point, the championship is going to become out of reach. But, I’m not racing with a head like that. I’m just racing smart and getting a solid result each weekend.”
DO YOU LIKE THE WAY INDYCAR HAS SET UP THE POLICY TO BRING YOUR PIT LOCATION FROM THE PREVIOUS QUALIFYING? HOW DOES THAT AFFECT YOU? “It’s a method. It’s good for me, I think. Solid qualifying results, I’m always up the front. But yeah, I’ve had my fair share of pit lane incidents in the past and it’s usually due to the fact that you’re back there around people you’re not used to being around.”
ANY THOUGHTS ON YOUR TEAMMATE A.J. ALMINDINGER CELEBRATING HIS NATIONWIDE VICTORY? “We’re real happy for him. I know how seriously he takes racing and how down he gets when he doesn’t do well. He puts everything into it. So, I’m really happy for him. It’s actually his first NASCAR win. So, everything that he’s gone through it’s just brilliant to see him win a race and Roger too, who is enjoying his vacation with a win in the heat race and a NASCAR win. So hopefully I can do us another one tomorrow, too; and we can do it here.”
JAMES HINCHCLIFFE, NO. 27 GODADDY ANDRETTI AUTOSPORT CHEVROLET, QUALIFIED 3RD: “The GoDaddy car was great. Huge credit to the Andretti (Autosport) guys because they gave us a car we could move up. We didn’t see a lot of guys making passes today, and we were able to move up from where we started. It’s a shame we lost that position to Will (Power) there with about 20 (laps) to go – I would have liked an outside starting spot (for tomorrow’s race)… We’re certainly in the ballpark. Helio (Castroneves) has been quick all weekend, and we know where we are relative to him so we just have to keep our heads down, make a couple changes for tomorrow and hopefully we can be there.”
MARCO ANDRETTI, NO. 25 RC COLA ANDRETTI AUTOSPORT CHEVROLET – QUALIFIED 4TH: “I think we were a little conservative in the Heat Race with the RC (Cola) car. We ran a little more of a (race day) car and we could have been more aggressive – that kind of hurt us. In the end of the stint we would have started moving forward but it was too late. Starting fourth isn’t all bad though… we’ve done it (won) here from 17th.”
ED CARPENTER, NO. 20 FUZZY’S VODKA/ED CARPENTER RACING CHEVROLET, QUALIFIED 6TH: “We missed the balance a little bit in qualifying. We had a little too much understeer. It’s too bad it’s not a night race because it helps with the grip in the race. It will be a little more slick in the day and will probably be more of a one-groove track. It’s easier for a second groove to open up at night. I think more people will run the second grove in the race because there is more banking. Then the low grove won’t be as good in the race. You are drafting all of the time here. It’s non-stop drafting. This is one of the most physical tracks that we run. Iowa is a little less physical that it used to be because the grip level isn’t as high. But it is still a very tough race. We were not too good in our first heat race tonight. We tried something different. It wasn’t very good and I felt fortunate to transfer to the final heat. But the Fuzzy’s Vodka crew busted their butts to make some quick changes in between the heats and the car was much better in the final heat. We ran 100 laps today and I think we learned some things for Sunday’s race. Unfortunately, it will be in the heat of the day. So I’m hoping our changes in the final heat will help us on Sunday. I definitely feel better about our Fuzzy’s Chevy now.”
ORIOL SERVIA, NO. 4 NATIONAL GUARD PANTHER RACING CHEVROLET – QUALIFIED 10TH: “Tenth is definitely good for us, and you’ve seen the way things can go here with people going back and forth, so it’s not a bad place to start. Today we really accomplished what we wanted in the NationalGuard Chevy with a little bit of a race sim to see where the car is going to go. I felt very good in qualifying and in practice, we were just a little bit off (in the heat race) but that’s what this is good for; it gives us a chance to get it better for tomorrow. Honestly, the car felt good it just had a little too much understeer, which is the better evil to have and to solve. So I feel pretty good about tomorrow.”
RYAN HUNTER-REAY, NO 1 DHL ANDRETTI AUTOSPORT CHEVROLET, QUALIFIED 14TH: “You know, it was way off the mark. We've been sitting on our own thumbs all day today. We just missed it today. No. 1 DHL team will have to regroup and come back tomorrow because we're starting buried in the pack. We gave up points today. An important day and we just missed it a bit. It's to fight another day and that's tomorrow.”
E.J. VISO, NO. 5 TEAM VENEZUELA PDVSA CITGO ANDRETTI AUTOSPORT HVM CHEVROLET, QUALIFIED 19TH: “Very difficult day for me today. I believe we didn’t get all of our factors together. Qualifying was really not the best, and then in the Heat we were lacking plenty of grip so we lost some positions. That is not a huge issue – I started from the same place in the back and have made it all the way to the front in the past, and that could also happen tomorrow.”
SEBASTIAN SAAVEDRA, NO. 6 TRUECAR DRAGON RACING CHEVROLET,
SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS, NO. 7 MCAFEE DRAGON RACING CHEVROLET,
JOSEF NEWGARDEN (No. 67 Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing Honda): "I thought we had an ok day. It wasn’t what we wanted, we really wanted to qualify better and hopefully run in the final heat race and then if we could have won that we would have started on pole, and that’s obviously the main goal, but that’s not what happened. I think we have a strong car for the whole race distance tomorrow, so it’ll be interesting. It’s going to be tough, it’s going to be hot, drivers and teams are going to struggle with set up and you just have to grind through it."
SIMON PAGENAUD (No. 77 Schmidt Hamilton HP Motorsports Honda): "The HP car is really good. We had a little bit too much understeer at the end, which is why we lost some ground. I think we’re really close though with where we need to be with the car. We can run every lane, which is the most important thing here at Iowa Speedway. Starting from 11th is good. We started 25th in this race last year and ended fifth, so we’ve put ourselves in a better starting position this year." (About Rahal’s pass for second):"That was a bold pass by Graham (Rahal). He didn’t give me any room and I had to go up in the gray area on the track. I guess I’ll just have to give him the favor back sometime."
SIMONA DE SILVESTRO (No. 78 Nuclear Entergy Areva KVRT Chevrolet): “I’m really disappointed. The team’s been working really hard, but we’ve been fighting with the car since the second practice in Milwaukee. The car was great in the first practice there, but since then we haven’t been able to get it back to where we need it to be. It’s really frustrating. I know it’s there, because it was awesome in Texas as well. We’ll make some changes again tonight and hopefully get a good car for tomorrow’s race. We really want to go out and put on a good show for the Nuclear Clean Air Energy sponsors that are here this weekend. Hopefully we’ll be able to do that.”
GRAHAM RAHAL (No. 15 Midas/Big O Tires Honda): “The first heat race was great. I thought we had a good car this morning. The Midas / Big O Tires guys did a great job and we charged from seventh and got up there and won the race. We really, really felt the car was very competitive and were able to charge through the field which not a lot of the guys were seemingly able to do. And again in the second heat race, I think we could have won it. I think we had the car but unfortunately Ed (Carpenter) and I bumped and we lost four percent front COP (center of pressure; from front wing damage) so the car didn’t want to turn. The fact that we could still run high 18’s (18-second lap time) without a front wing is pretty impressive so I’m pleased with the car. I think it’s going to be pretty good.”
ED CARPENTER (No. 20 Fuzzy’s Vodka/Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet): “We missed the balance a little bit in qualifying. We had a little too much understeer. It’s too bad it’s not a night race because it helps with the grip in the race. It will be a little more slick in the day and will probably be more of a one-groove track. It’s easier for a second groove to open up at night. I think more people will run the second grove in the race because there is more banking. Then the low grove won’t be as good in the race. You are drafting all of the time here. It’s non-stop drafting. This is one of the most physical tracks that we run. Iowa is a little less physical that it used to be because the grip level isn’t as high. But it is still a very tough race. We were not too good in our first heat race tonight. We tried something different. It wasn’t very good and I felt fortunate to transfer to the final heat. But the Fuzzy’s Vodka crew busted their butts to make some quick changes in between the heats and the car was much better in the final heat. We ran 100 laps today and I think we learned some things for Sunday’s race. Unfortunately, it will be in the heat of the day. So I’m hoping our changes in the final heat will help us on Sunday. I definitely feel better about our Fuzzy’s Chevy now.”
TONY KANAAN (No. 11 Sunoco “Turbo” KVRT-SH Racing Chevrolet): “The car was good in the beginning of the race, but we developed some understeer as the laps came in. The good thing is that we found out about the problem tonight, so we have some time to work on the situation and I am confident we will be ready to race tomorrow.”
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