Monday, June 2, 2014

Helio Castroneves completes Detroit Grand Prix sweep for Team Penske, Chevrolet

Helio Castroneves/AP Photo
Helio Castroneves climbed the fence at Belle Isle again -- 14 years after his signature victory celebration was born following his first Indy car win in 2000 in Detroit.
Castroneves' climb on June 1 was in honor of his 29th Indy car victory after winning Dual 2 of the Chevrolet Indy Dual in Detroit presented by Quicken Loans by 1.6836 seconds over teammate Will Power.
Castroneves, who started third in the 70-lap race in the No. 3 Hitachi Team Penske car, completed a sweep for engine supplier Chevrolet and Team Penske in the first of three Verizon IndyCar Series doubleheader weekends this season. His victory tied Rick Mears for 11th on the all-time list.
"Indy 500. It just clicked something. It just made us hungry and here I am in Victory Circle where I won my first race. It's great energy again. I wanted it so bad," said Castroneves, who a week earlier came just short of joining Mears, A.J. Foyt and Al Unser as the only four-time winners of the Indianapolis 500.  "More than anything, I want this championship."
Castroneves, the fifth different winner in seven races this season, moved to second place in the standings. He is 19 points behind Power. Ryan Hunter-Reay, who amassed 126 points in winning the Indianapolis 500, dropped to third with a disappointing pair of races that carried full points.
Power, who held off Graham Rahal's No. 15 National Guard Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing car by .3308 of a second to win the opening race on the 2.36-mile, 13-turn street course, was runner-up for his fifth top-five finish in the seven races.
Charlie Kimball advanced 17 positions to place third for his best finish of the season and Scott Dixon drove from last on the starting grid to fourth. James Hinchcliffe finished fifth.
HELIO CASTRONEVES (No. 3 Hitachi Team Penske Chevrolet): "We came out with the Hitachi car. Spot on. I mean yesterday it was a frustration, obviously. Great that (Team Penske) won but a frustration for our side because we knew what car we had and we demonstrated it today. I want to thank Hitachi obviously, Shell, Pennzoil. It was great. Also AAA, SKF, Verizon. Especially Chevy, man. This is the land of Chevy and we made it. Two! That was great. I'm so happy for Team Penske."
WILL POWER (No. 12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet): "Because of Roger (Penske), I definitely wasn't going to race him hard. Unless (Helio Castroneves) made a mistake, I wasn't going to go for a move unless I was close. A great day for Chevy, Roger (Penske) at his home track and Chevy's backyard. Just fantastic."
CHARLIE KIMBALL (No. 83 Novo Nordisk Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet):"I knew that I had no overtakes left and (James Hinchcliffe) had one overtake left going down the back straight and that was his last best opportunity, so I defended into the inside. When he got alongside me we went into the corner side-by-side. It's so hard because as much as the Firestones marbled today when you were offline. You really start sliding around. It caught Scott out and I was able to take advantage of that. So I knew if I could put (James Hinchcliffe) offline at the apex then I could get the drive out of the corner and hold onto the line. It was nice I was able to (hold up) Hinch (James Hinchcliffe) enough that Scott would be able to come through and for Chip Ganassi Racing to end up third and fourth."
MIKE CONWAY (No. 20 Fuzzy's Vodka/Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet):"Starting on the black tires was a good move today. I was able to get past several guys early. But, to be honest, Hinch (James Hinchcliffe) had power off the corners even with the red tires. And it took me some time to finally get under him in turn 3. I didn't want to use up all of my overtakes too early in the race. That amount of time trying to get by him cost us at the end of the race. The red tires were pretty good for me. They went off a little but I was pushing hard. The right-front tire was locking up and it was getting worse. So I decided to pit early for the fresh black tires or I was going to crash. It is tough to pass here and I made some good ones today. At the end, I was pushing every lap like a qualifying lap. And it was fun and we learned some more for the team. I was happy how the car was hooked up. We just didn't get the yellows to fall our way today. It was fun to push the car as hard as I did today. Just wish for a better result. Now it's on to Houston for me next." 
MIKHAIL ALESHIN (No. 7 SMP Racing Honda):  "I think my team did a great job today. We had a great three-pit stop strategy and the car was quite good. I had contact with (Juan Pablo) Montoya at the start of the race, but thankfully it wasn't substantial enough that we had to stop. My suspension was bent slightly after the contact, but I still had speed. I felt like I could really attack out there on the track. Starting 16th and finishing seventh is a great result on a street circuit like this. It's been a few races since we've had a positive result, so we'll go home feeling happy tonight."
SIMON PAGENAUD (No. 77 Schmidt Peterson Hamilton Motorsports Honda):"Today was much better than yesterday. We had a fast car. I'm a little bit disappointed, though, because I felt like we had a car that could have won today. And unfortunately the two-pit stop strategy didn't play in our favor. We lost a lot of time behind (Will) Power during the middle stint. We were faster, but I couldn't get by him. I didn't want to take any chances and crash again racing him. I think a lot of drivers would be happy finishing sixth, but we're racing to win when we have a fast car. Overall it wasn't a bad day for us, though. The team had a great recovery from our disappointing finish yesterday. I was happy to carry the bright orange Oculus Transport car to the end of the race today. Now I'm really looking forward to Texas next weekend."
TONY KANAAN (No. 10 Energizer Chevrolet): "We had a decent Energizer car but we really weren't in the mix today. We had a great result yesterday in the first of the doubleheader but today they race just didn't work out the way we wanted it to. On to Texas."
SEBASTIAN SAAVEDRA (No. 17 KV AFS Racing Chevrolet): "I am very disappointed with this early retirement. We had an amazing start and the changes the KV AFS Racing crew did overnight gave the car a very strong race pace. I made a mistake trying to get around (Mike) Conway. I just got a little bit too close to him, my air was chopped and I got too close to the's my fault. I'm disappointed with myself as I don't make these types of mistakes, we have kept the car clean all season so this is unacceptable. Time to work towards Texas. We have a very strong car from now on, which makes me very positive. I am looking forward to starting to bring home the results and getting back into the fight for the championship."
JAMES HINCHCLIFFE (No. 27 United Fiber & Data Honda): "We were battling for third down the back straight, and (Charlie) Kimball made his car wide; that's all there was to it. I had to go to the outside. I had gone to the inside, but he didn't like that, so I went to the outside. He did a good job out-braking me, and I had to lift a bit on the exit there, and (Scott) Dixon got us. Fourth or fifth, it doesn't really matter - we're racing for podiums, we're racing for wins. I have to watch the race and see how it ended there. It was confusing race with all the different strategies and play, but again, the car was really fast. They United Fiber & Data guys were awesome in the pits. Considering how my past races in Detroit have gone, this is hell of a good weekend - two front-row starts and two top-six finishes. We'll take it."
MARCO ANDRETTI (No. 25 Snapple Honda): "It was one of the longest races of my career; it was a handful. It was loose all day, and it went from terrible to disgusting when we had the (contact) penalty, which was my fault. We'll move on from this and hopefully have better luck with the Snapple Honda next weekend in Texas."
CARLOS MUNOZ (No. 34 Cinsay HVM Honda): "For this race I was a little bit frustrated because I think we had more than eighth position; our strategy was not optimal, and we were losing positions in pit lane. I think we had enough to finish in the top four. Maybe we weren't in the fight for the win because the two first cars were really quick, but we gained good points. This race was really just about surviving, it is a shame. Today brought more experience for me, and I am feeling more comfortable and making less mistakes." 

RYAN HUNTER-REAY (No. 28 DHL Honda): "It was a long weekend for the DHL crew. I'll try to erase this one from my memory and move on to Texas. What put us out was we lost pressure in the shift actuator, so we couldn't get out of first gear. We started with a puncture and we had to come in...then we were off strategy. We tried saving fuel, then we had to abandon that because it went green in the middle. Nothing we did worked this weekend. We will just move on from these two races and focus on the future."

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