EDMONTON, AB – Helio Castroneves earned a bit of redemption at Edmonton’s City Centre Airport. The Team Penske driver held off Takuma Sato by .8367 of a second to win the caution-free Edmonton Indy on the 13-turn, 2.224-mile temporary airport circuit.
Will Power, who started 17th because of a 10-grid spot penalty for an unapproved engine change, charged to third and Graham Rahal tied his road/street course best finish of the season in fourth. Alex Tagliani, who led a field-high 49 laps after starting fourth, finished fifth.
Castroneves had been the runner-up in three of the past four Edmonton races, and was leading late in the 2010 contest when he incurred a penalty for blocking. Scott Dixon went on to win the race and Castroneves was credited with 10th place.
The last Indy car street/road course caution-free race was Portland in 2007 under Champ Car sanction. The last caution-free oval race was 2011 at Texas Motor Speedway.
Castroneves, who was celebrated with his usual exuberant fence climb, gained one position in the championship standings with his 27th Indy car victory (second of the season) — 23 points behind Ryan Hunter-Reay, who finished seventh. Power is third in the standings (26 points back) heading to the Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio on Aug. 5.
EDMONTON INDY POST-RACE NOTES:
· This is Helio Castroneves’ second win of 2012. It is his 27th Indy car victory and his first win at Edmonton City Centre Airport after finishing second three previous times.
· With the win, Castroneves passes Rodger Ward for 13th on the all-time win list. His last win was on the Streets of St. Petersburg.
· This is Team Penske’s third win at Edmonton, most of any Indy car team. It has previously won in 2009 and 2011 with Will Power.
· Takuma Sato finished second, his best finish in the IZOD IndyCar Series. Sato’s previous best finish was third at Sao Paulo in May.
· Will Power finished third. It is his fourth-straight podium here in Edmonton. Had won two of the three previous races here.
· Graham Rahal finished fourth, his third top-five finish of the season.
· Alex Tagliani finished fifth, his best finish at Edmonton and his season-best finish this season.
EDMONTON INDY POST-RACE QUOTES:
ROGER PENSKE (Owner, Team Penske): “(Helio) did a great job. It’s a credit to the team, obviously when you see the competitive edge that’s out there with Takuma (Sato) and all of the other drivers. You can’t make a mistake. The fuel economy was important. Today the Chevy engines ran great. I take my hat off to Helio. It was a tough race. When they run that close for that many laps, I’ve got to take my hat off. Congratulations. And for Will (Power) coming from 17th, it was a great day for Penske Racing.”
GRAHAM RAHAL (No. 38 Service Central, finished fourth): “It was a really good day. I’m really proud of the whole Service Central Chip Ganassi Racing team. We worked really hard this weekend. We started the weekend off hot but we kind of fell off there a little bit and ended up finishing off hot. At this point in the season to get a top-five and gain some points is really important, and that’s what we want to do. The points are tight, so this finish means a lot to us and I’m really proud of our guys.”
ALEX TAGLIANI (No. 98 Team Barracuda-BHA Honda, finished fifth): “I’m very, very proud of the team. Everybody did fantastic. We had a pretty good car early in the race. It was the perfect timing to save fuel and the balance of the car was very good. When we put on the second set of tires that were a little old, I don’t think we had as much speed as the other guys and it was hurting us. You’re going to learn throughout the season, but I have nothing to say. The team was doing a great job. We’re competitive and I could not ask for more. If we keep doing it every race, then I’ll be happy.”
DARIO FRANCHITTI (No. 10 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Honda): “Not a good day. We missed something on the setup. The Target car was not bad on new tires but we had a massive imbalance there. I’m pretty sure I know what we missed so we’ll gather it up and head to Mid-Ohio in a few weeks.”
TAKUMA SATO (No. 15 Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing Honda): “Yeah, in the end, I really enjoyed it. I wish that I would have enjoyed it a little more if I could overtake [Helio Castroneves], but you know we were not quite there. He did obviously, a great job, made no mistakes at all, and I could see he was obviously [indiscernible], and the tires were starting to degrade a little bit, but that was a part of racing and I knew he had a little bit longer sequence of the push to pass. I used it bit by bit, but also he’s reacting all the time the last few laps and he used every single straight. It was very difficult to catch it, once we were very close, but it was not enough close to make a maneuver.”
WILL POWER (No. 12 Verizon Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet): “It was definitely an enjoyable drive. I couldn’t catch those guys at the end. They were cruising. It’s shaping up to be a pretty tight championship. I think if we started 17th and there was going to be no yellows, and we thought we’d end up third, we’d take that for sure. Man, good day. We’re definitely tightening up the championship. It’s great to have a good day with the Verizon car. We haven’t had that for a long time, so very enjoyable and tough race.”
RYAN HUNTER-REAY (No. 28 Team DHL/Sun Drop Citrus Soda Chevrolet): “The guys had a solid day today, but we just needed a yellow – we needed something… anything. To take an engine penalty on a day like today – at a track with long straights – we expected yellows. Maybe lots of them, but we just didn’t get ’em. It’s strange, with all of the marbles we have out there, you’d expect someone to go off or spin or something. I was praying for a caution and it didn’t come. Had we had a yellow, I think I could have gained spots on the restart…. But, we’ve had enough go our way this year that I’m not gonna whine about not getting a yellow. We soldiered on to seventh. It was one of those days: we had a fast car and good pit stops but couldn’t make up the ground we needed to.” (About the point standings): “It’s going to be nail-biting until the end. It’ll be a heckuva shootout at Fontana (the season-ending race), and I’ll bet it’ll come down to a fight between three cars.”
JUSTIN WILSON (No. 18 Sonny’s Bar-B-Q Honda): “It was an encouraging end to a difficult weekend,” said Wilson. “The No. 18 Sonny’s Bar-B-Q team did a great job with some fast pit stops today. The team did a lot of changes to the car this weekend and worked really hard. I just wish I could have given them a win for their hard work. We had hoped to be close to the front of the pack and be challenging for the win at the end of the race, but it just wasn’t our day. We learned a lot things this weekend in Edmonton and now just have to move onto the next race in Mid-Ohio in two weeks.”
SCOTT DIXON (No. 9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Honda): “We had a problem at the start within the first five laps. Whenever I went into the braking zones the engine would go into neutral. We had a little problem with the anti-stall function in practice, but then in the race it just kept doing it. That really hurt us especially because the race didn’t have any yellows. When you start that far back like we did, you need to work on fuel mileage and take some chances but we just couldn’t really go anywhere.”
SIMONA DE SILVESTRO (No. 78 Nuclear Clean Air Energy Lotus HVM Racing Lotus): “It was kind of a weird day, no yellows so we couldn’t really get off strategy. We had to make one more stop than most everybody else because our fuel consumption is pretty bad. You know, it is what it is. We had a strong race car, but we’re just not fast enough right now.”
MIKE CONWAY (No. 14 ABC Supply Co./A.J. Foyt Racing Honda): “It was a fun race. We were going to try a different strategy and after the first stop we had to change because it wasn’t going to work. So we had to save a lot of fuel and move forward which we managed to do. The engineers did a great job all weekend. The ABC Supply car was really good and we just have to continue this form at Mid-Ohio.”
SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS (No. 7 TrueCar Dragon Racing Chevrolet): “Not much to say. We put the best we could on the track today. The lap times were decent. We were running in the pack to score some points. Then the penalty ruined our day. Frustrating, but just the way it is.”
CHARLIE KIMBALL (No. 83 NovoRapid FlexTouch Honda): “It was a tough race. We always knew it was going to be here. We felt pretty good about the car. We saved some fuel and I went for the moves while they were there. We were really good on the brakes in the corner and into the straights. We’ll take it and move on to Mid-Ohio. I think we had such a good race there last year we’ll be looking to build on the momentum from this race there.”
ED CARPENTER (No. 20 Fuzzy’s Vodka/Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet): “It was a long race for us. We made a gear strategy change before the race, and it just didn’t work. We changed first, second and third gears and they were just too long. I could get the power down early but the car was slow getting out of the corners. So it took a long time to get up to speed from the corners. That dictated the race pace for us today. There wasn’t much we do about it then. Just take the Fuzzy’s car to the finish.”
SIMON PAGENAUD (No. 77 Schmidt Hamilton HP Motorsports Honda): “We were missing a lot of straight-line speed. We probably had the best car in the infield portion, but it was frustrating because we were losing a lot of ground in the straights. With no yellow flags, we were kind of in a zone. I was having a good time with the car because it was awesome. The guys did a great job setting it up. We we’re hanging in there and still could have scored a 13th place if (Charlie) Kimball wouldn’t have made a stupid move. He used me to make his corner. I’m very disappointed in that. It’s not very smart.”
JOSEF NEWGARDEN (No. 67 Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing Honda): “We didn’t have a great day. I think we really lost the battle in qualifying though. We just didn’t have the right combination, which is all part of the learning curve. Some weekends we’re going to get it right and some weekends we’re going to get it wrong. I’m learning a lot with the way you need to set cars up. I think it was a tough day for everyone. No one really made much progress on the track. You kind of had to get lucky with cycling in the pits. It’s pretty crazy that we didn’t have any yellows. It makes it difficult when you don’t have yellows and you start at the back. It was more difficult to pass here than we anticipated and we ended up single file for most of the race.”
JAMES HINCHCLIFFE (No. 27 Team GoDaddy.com Chevrolet): “Wasn’t really the day we had hoped for… that’s certainly not a position we are used to finishing in; not where we want to finish. But I didn’t drive very well in that first stint, I didn’t make a great start and made a mistake trying to pass (Simon) Pagenaud and lost a couple spots and a couple seconds. From there we tried to work on the car a bit, and from battling over-steer all weekend long we went to a pretty under-steering car. It’s one of those tough things to try and predict track condition, especially with all the different series running here. At the end of the day, a little disappointed but we brought the Go Daddy car home and we kept fighting. We did pick up a couple positions near the end, so we’re still fighting and that’s what this team does. Hopefully we can bounce back and have a good result in a couple weeks.”
JR HILDEBRAND (No. 4 National Guard Panther Racing Chevrolet): “It was all just jammed up at the beginning and I was trying to be aggressive to make sure I didn’t lose any spots, but I was stuck on the outside in a pretty bad position. The 83 in front of me checked up a bunch because he was pushing in the middle of the corner and I got into the back of him and broke the wing on the National Guard Chevy. We made the right call to just come straight in and pit, because in the event a yellow comes out you catch back up and you’re right on sequence, but it just never happened. I could see the back half of the top ten during various points in the race, and we weren’t losing them. But to be honest, the biggest thing this weekend is that through practice and qualifying, we had exhausted the options we had and kept coming back to thesame thing. Our team and the Panther DRR guys made a decision to try some things on the setup and see if they’d work out. We accomplished that goal in terms of understanding what we need to be doing to get the most out of this tire on this particular car. We felt like we figured some things out today, and right now at this point in the season that’s the most important thing given where we’re at.”
ORIOL SERVIA (No. 22 Panther/Dreyer & Reinbold Racing): “It was long day. To start with, I don’t remember that last time that we had an IndyCar race without a yellow, especially at a place that I was saying before the race that there were going to be many. It’s interesting how we drivers can behave sometimes. On our hand, it was the strangest race that I’ve ever had in terms of how the car behaved early on. I think that we had a malfunction in the diff, I have to guess, because I couldn’t brake at all without locking one wheel on the braking on the rear and having a lot of wheel-spin. At the end when we put a lot of front wing in and changed the car and on the Firestone Firehawk alternate (red-sidewall) tires, we were able to do the fastest lap of the race, so the car wasn’t bad. Unfortunately, we had a mechanical with the clutch on our last stop that obviously made us go laps down and that put us out of the game. It’s a shame because we had a good strategy going. Mechanicals happen in racing it’s just a shame when it happens to you. I’m glad that at the end we showed good pace.”
JAMES JAKES (No. 19 Boy Scouts of America Honda): “It was a tough day for the No. 19 Boy Scouts of America Honda,” Jakes said. “The left rear shock absorber broke and it made it impossible for us to finish the race. It ended our day much sooner that we would have liked it too. We had a good car this weekend and the team did another great job. I am just disappointed I couldn’t have given them a better result today. I am looking forward to Mid-Ohio in two weeks and hopefully another top-10 finish.”
IZOD INDYCAR SERIES POINT STANDINGS
1. Ryan Hunter-Reay 362
2. Helio Castroneves 339
3. Will Power 336
4. Scott Dixon 301
5. James Hinchcliffe 286
6. Tony Kanaan 279
7. Simon Pagenaud (R) 276
8. Dario Franchitti258
9. Ryan Briscoe 241
10. Graham Rahal 237
From Amy Konrath / IndyCar