Helio makes it two wins in two days for Penske

Helio makes it two wins in two days for Penske

1 June 2014 – Despite several late-race restarts, no one had any answer for Helio Castroneves whenever a green flag would end a caution. His impeccable timing allowed him to cruise to a 1.7s victory over Penske team-mate Will Power in the second race of the weekend at the Belle Isle circuit. The Brazilian now moves into a tie with Rick Mears for 11th on the all-time IndyCar wins list.

Castroneves was the pole-sitter for yesterday's first Dual at Detroit race, but he was unable to convert that into a victory. Instead he came from third on the grid today using an effective three-stop strategy (the same which worked for Power en route to his win yesterday) mostly on black tyres. It was Helio's third win at Belle Isle and a strong shot in the arm for his championship hopes after narrowly missing out on his fourth Indianapolis 500 victory a week ago.

His championship rivals saw mixed results in their weekends. For Power, a win and a second place gave him a strong haul of points despite a penalty in the second Dual race for causing a caution on the first lap with an ill-timed pass across the kerbs. His wide exit pushed Josef Newgarden into the wall and into Graham Rahal, also collecting Justin Wilson. Charlie Kimball almost added his name to the list, but he bailed out onto the escape road and drove a strong race to finish third.

For Ryan Hunter-Reay, his miserable weekend continued. He had troubles in nearly every session of the weekend, and while he hoped to bounce back in the second race, contact with the wall in qualifying meant he would again start at the back of the field. He tried to gain ground on the field by pitting on lap two under the first caution, but problems with the electronic control unit ended his race on Lap 61. He crashed out of yesterday's Dual unceremoniously in the waning laps, also netting him few points.

The race was false-started at the beginning when several cars got out of position in the final turn, and even when the actual green flag came out, three laps later the field was back under caution due to Power's incident. On the restart, pole-sitter Takuma Sato established himself early, growing a lead of a couple of seconds over Castroneves, who had jumped James Hinchcliffe at the start.

Scott Dixon was one of several drivers who pitted under that early caution, ditching his sticker red tyres for blacks, which he stayed on for the rest of the race. Pitting on-sequence with the rest of the eventual winners, Dixon's three-stop strategy kept him at the front with minimal battling despite starting dead last, and after a few straightforward overtakes, the Kiwi grabbed fourth when, on the final lap, a missed overtaking opportunity nearly sent P4 Hinchcliffe into the wall. He got out of the throttle, allowing Dixon to get past.

Also on the charge after the first round of pit stops was Englishman Mike Conway. One of the fastest cars on track throughout the first two thirds of the event, Conway's off-sequence strategy looked to be aiming for a two-stop as he carved through the field and into the lead. After a few laps of consistently flat-spotting his front tyres, though, Conway was forced to pit on lap 49 in the middle of his stint, ending his chances at victory. He would finish P11.

Sebastien Saavedra brought out the second caution of the race after hitting the wall and stopping on track, and in the aftermath, only Sato and Hinchcliffe pitted from the front of the field. This handed the lead to Hinchcliffe, especially after Sato took an unusually long time to refuel. As a result, Helio got by Sato in the order and never looked back.

All the while, Power continued to put in laps that were level with the leaders, working his way from last in the field after his penalty. Through pit-stop rotations, the Aussie was soon running in P2 behind Conway, who was nearly ten seconds ahead (but was yet to pit).

When Conway shot into the pit lane on lap 26, Power followed suit a lap later to try to match the leader's strategy. This gave the lead back to Castroneves, who would again regain the lead after he pitted later than the leaders on Lap 34. This shorter stint ended up coinciding with Power's last stop, with both drivers coming in on Lap 49.  Helio led coming out of the pits and would hold onto the lead until the end.

The next caution came out with just 13 laps to go after Sebastian Bourdais understeered into the tyre wall, bunching the field and eliminated Helio's 9.5s lead. A lengthy period behind the pace car meant that the field would go green with just seven to go, but a strong restart meant Castroneves would not be challenged.

However, a couple of laps later, Sato was hit from behind by Marco Andretti, sending the Japanese driver into the wall and the American driver into the pits for a drive-through penalty. Another full-course caution was deployed, again forcing Castroneves to defend another restart.

The race would go green with three to go, and again the Brazilian made it look easy. A thankfully calm last few laps allowed Castroneves to cross the line without incident, giving Chevrolet engines a podium sweep (and a fourth place from Scott Dixon). He and his crew would climb the fence on the frontstretch, 13 years after he created his signature style of celebration that earned him the nickname "The Spider-Man."

The Verizon IndyCar Series will return to action in one week at the 1.5mi Texas Motor Speedway for a 600km oval race in the Firestone 600.

related

Comments

Latest News
Full
Compact

  1. Sunday 1 March 2015

  2. 09:25

    Photos: Barcelona pre-season testing – Day 4

    F1
  3. 07:51

    Follow Barcelona pre-season testing live!

    F1
  4. Magnussen wanted Le Mans drive with father 07:46

    Magnussen wanted Le Mans drive with father

    McLaren test and reserve driver Kevin Magnussen says he enquired over the possibility of racing alongside father Jan for...

    F1
  5. Barcelona pre-season testing: Day 4 line-up 06:47

    Barcelona pre-season testing: Day 4 line-up

    The final pre-season test at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya concludes on Sunday and, to keep you up to date with who is...

    F1
  6. Video of the Day: Official Formula E anthem 05:24

    Video of the Day: Official Formula E anthem

    Spanish musician and record producer Nacho Cano had released an official anthem for Formula E.

    FE
  7. Saturday 28 February 2015

  8. 21:12

    Photos: Barcelona pre-season testing – Day 3

    F1
  9. First Ferrari race simulation pleases Allison 20:04

    First Ferrari race simulation pleases Allison

    Ferrari Technical Director James Allison expressed his happiness after the squad was able to conduct its first race...

    F1
  10. Hamilton: Predicting main rivals is 'irrelevant' 19:34

    Hamilton: Predicting main rivals is 'irrelevant'

    Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton says it is "irrelevant" to make predictions over who the outfit's main rivals will be in...

    F1
  11. Ricciardo content with Red Bull progress 19:05

    Ricciardo content with Red Bull progress

    Daniel Ricciardo played down his lowly position on the timesheets during the penultimate day of pre-season testing at the...

    F1
  12. Magnussen feels 'very good base' with MP4-30 18:47

    Magnussen feels 'very good base' with MP4-30

    McLaren tester Kevin Magnussen says the team's Honda-powered MP4-30 feels better in many areas compared to its...

    F1
  13. 17:05

    Barcelona pre-season testing: Day 3 results

    F1
  14. Hamilton keeps Mercedes on top in Barcelona 17:04

    Hamilton keeps Mercedes on top in Barcelona

    Lewis Hamilton ensured that Mercedes remained at the top of the times on the penultimate day of the final pre-season test at...

    F1
  15. Symonds supportive of Manor revival 14:28

    Symonds supportive of Manor revival

    Williams' Chief Technical Officer Pat Symonds says it will be a boost for Formula 1 if Manor can make it to the grid for the...

    F1
  16. Booth: Manor 'very close' to making first race 10:25

    Booth: Manor 'very close' to making first race

    John Booth says Manor Marussia is "very close" to making it to the season-opening Australian Grand Prix, after the team was...

    F1
  17. Video: Vergne drives Ferrari Formula 1 car 08:47

    Video: Vergne drives Ferrari Formula 1 car

    Jean-Éric Vergne completed his first laps in a Ferrari F1 car during a demo in Adelaide on Saturday.

    F1
  18. Vergne completes Ferrari demo in Adelaide 08:11

    Vergne completes Ferrari demo in Adelaide

    Jean-Éric Vergne got behind the wheel of a Ferrari Formula 1 car for the first time on Saturday when he completed a...

    F1
  19. 07:52

    Follow Barcelona pre-season testing live!

    F1
  20. Barcelona pre-season testing: Day 3 line-up 06:43

    Barcelona pre-season testing: Day 3 line-up

    The final pre-season test at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya continues on Saturday and, to keep you up to date with who...

    F1
  21. FIA wants new cameras for crash investigations 06:28

    FIA wants new cameras for crash investigations

    New high speed cameras could be fitted to Formula 1 cars from 2016 in a bid to improve investigations into...

    F1
  22. Video of the Day: Getting ready for pre-season 05:16

    Video of the Day: Getting ready for pre-season

    Mercedes documents the final push to getting the F1 W06 Hybrid ready for pre-season testing.

    F1
  23. Friday 27 February 2015

  24. 21:02

    Photos: Barcelona pre-season testing – Day 2

    F1
  25. Button: It was like completing 1000 laps 20:14

    Button: It was like completing 1000 laps

    Jenson Button says McLaren's ability to rack up over 100 laps at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya on Friday felt "like...

    F1
  26. Bottas impressed by Mercedes test pace 19:13

    Bottas impressed by Mercedes test pace

    Valtteri Bottas says he was impressed by Nico Rosberg's time on the second day of the final pre-season test at the Circuit...

    F1
  27. Hülkenberg: Early VJM08 mileage remarkable 18:18

    Hülkenberg: Early VJM08 mileage remarkable

    Nico Hülkenberg praised his Force India team following the VJM08's reliable start to life at the Circuit de...

    F1
  28. Rosberg still wary of rivals' performance 17:57

    Rosberg still wary of rivals' performance

    Nico Rosberg says Mercedes can take nothing for granted, despite its sizeable advantage on the second day of the final test...

    F1
  29. Magnussen to get McLaren outing on Saturday 17:21

    Magnussen to get McLaren outing on Saturday

    Kevin Magnussen will receive his first taste of the Honda-powered McLaren MP4-30 during pre-season testing at the Circuit de...

    F1
  30. 17:08

    Barcelona pre-season testing: Day 2 results

    F1
  31. Rosberg fastest as Mercedes surges clear 17:05

    Rosberg fastest as Mercedes surges clear

    Nico Rosberg and Mercedes fired a warning shot to the rest of the Formula 1 field by comfortably setting the pace on the...

    F1
  32. Regalia moves to FR3.5 with Zeta Corse 16:56

    Regalia moves to FR3.5 with Zeta Corse

    Facu Regalia will switch to Formula Renault 3.5 for 2015 after signing a deal to race for Zeta Corse. Regalia finished as...

    FR 3.5
  33. Rossi joins Racing Engineering in GP2 14:17

    Rossi joins Racing Engineering in GP2

    Former Caterham and Marussia reserve driver Alexander Rossi will compete in this year's GP2 championship with Racing...

    GP2
  34. FIA confirms Manor Marussia on entry list 14:07

    FIA confirms Manor Marussia on entry list

    An updated FIA entry list for the upcoming campaign has confirmed the presence of the Manor team on the Formula 1...

    F1
  35. Alonso 'completely fine' after testing crash 13:22

    Alonso 'completely fine' after testing crash

    McLaren's Fernando Alonso says he is "completely fine" and has thanked fans for their support following his crash on the...

    F1
  36. Berthon stays with Lazarus for 2015 13:05

    Berthon stays with Lazarus for 2015

    GP2 race winner Nathanaël Berthon will remain with Lazarus for a fourth campaign in the series this year. Berthon made...

    GP2
  37. Video: Alonso thanks fans for support 12:27

    Video: Alonso thanks fans for support

    Fernando Alonso has thanked fans for their support after his testing crash in Barcelona last week. The Spaniard says he...

    F1
  38. New Force India breaks cover in Barcelona 11:25

    New Force India breaks cover in Barcelona

    Force India's new Formula 1 challenger, the VJM08, made its official track debut at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya on...

    F1
  39. Grosjean says lateral impacts a problem 10:16

    Grosjean says lateral impacts a problem

    Romain Grosjean says more needs to be done to improve the safety of drivers involved in lateral impacts, following Fernando...

    F1
  40. 07:50

    Follow Barcelona pre-season testing live!

    F1
  41. Barcelona pre-season testing: Day 2 line-up 06:34

    Barcelona pre-season testing: Day 2 line-up

    The final pre-season test at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya continues on Friday and, to keep you up to date with who is...

    F1
  42. Video of the Day: Gutiérrez drives SF15-T 05:12

    Video of the Day: Gutiérrez drives SF15-T

    Ferrari third driver Esteban Gutiérrez reflects on his first run in the SF15-T at a filming day in Barcelona.

    F1
  43. Thursday 26 February 2015

  44. 19:21

    Photos: Barcelona pre-season testing – Day 1

    F1
more news