Verizon IndyCar Series Race Report

Track: Indianapolis Motor Speedway
Race: 99th Indianapolis 500
Date: May 24, 2015

No. 1 Verizon Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet – Will Power

Start: 2nd
Finish: 2nd
Status: Running
Laps Completed: 200/200
Laps Led: 23
Points Position (behind leader): 2nd (-25)

Recap: Will Power’s effort to win the Indy 500 for the first time fell just 0.1046 seconds short Sunday as Team Penske teammate Juan Pablo Montoya got past him for the race lead with four laps remaining. Never one to give up, Power made a final charge to pass Montoya but came up short by just a fraction of a second. Power had to work hard to get back to the front as he was in sixth place after a crash by Tony Kanaan on lap 152 of the 200-lap race. After the race resumed, Power quickly moved forward. He passed Charlie Kimball for third place and ran behind Scott Dixon and Montoya on lap 163. Power continued to run inside the top-three positions for the rest of the event, leading 20 of the final 26 laps before being passed by his teammate with four laps to go. The runner-up finish – his best-ever at Indy – keeps Power in the thick of the Verizon IndyCar Series championship battle, where he’s second behind Montoya after six of the 16 races in the 2015 season.

Quote: “I was trying to keep the lead because I knew with the heat, the tires were degrading and eventually they wouldn’t be able to get runs. Montoya got one last run into Turn One and I lifted. After that – I had set my Verizon Chevy up to run up front – I got behind and had a lot of push. I got really close to him after Turn 2 but washed out and had to lift. That was the race. It was serious racing and a lot of fun. Full credit to the team for finishing 1-2. They’ve done an amazing job all month. But man… just too much push. That’s all I had. Congrats to Juan. He was very strong all day and had to come through the field.”

No. 2 Verizon Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet – Juan Pablo Montoya

Start: 15th
Finish: 1st
Status: Running
Laps Completed: 200/200
Laps Led: 9
Points Position (behind leader): 1st

Recap: Juan Pablo Montoya took the lead from Team Penske teammate with four laps remaining in the 99th Indianapolis 500 and went on to win the race. It represented the second Indy 500 victory of Montoya’s career and a record 16th for Team Penske. It also marks the second time the Colombian has won the famous race in three tries. He won it previously in 2000 before moving to Formula One and later to NASCAR. Montoya returned to the Verizon IndyCar Series in 2014. He won despite making three more pit stops than the rest of the leaders and dropping to the rear of the field after the right rear wheel guard on his No. 2 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet was damaged by contact with another car early on. By lap 106, Montoya had worked his way through the field into third place, and he remained a contender through the remainder of the 200-lap event. When Tony Kanaan accident forced a caution flag on lap 152, Montoya was sixth, but by lap 163 he was second, and by lap 165 he was in the lead. From there, he exchanged the lead with Power and Scott Dixon in an entertaining duel to the finish. On lap 196, he passed Power on the outside in Turn 1. He held the lead to the finish in spite of Power’s tenacious challenge, winning by 0.1046 seconds after starting 15th. The victory kept Montoya in the Verizon IndyCar Series points lead over both Power and Dixon.

Quote: “It was fun. Our Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet was good all day. These guys at Team Penske did an amazing job. When I came through the field, I knew I had a good car. That fight there at the end… that was awesome. This is what racing in IndyCar is all about – awesome racing all the way down to the wire. It was just awesome.”

No. 3 Shell V-Power Nitro + Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet – Helio Castroneves

Start: 5th
Finish: 7th
Status: Running
Laps Completed: 200/200
Laps Led: 2
Points Position (behind leader): Fourth (-66)

Recap: Three-time Indianapolis 500 winner Helio Castroneves led two laps on Sunday and attempted to mount a late-race charge for a fourth Indy victory after briefly falling outside the top 10 with only 10 laps remaining. Castroneves was able to race his way back into the seventh position before the checkered flag. After starting the race from the fifth position, Castroneves fell back in the running order as his Shell V-Power Nitro+ Chevrolet developed a slight understeer. After a front wing adjustment on the third pit stop of the day, Castroneves began to make his way back through the field. At lap 100, he was able to claim the lead for the first time. Castroneves found himself running seventh following a caution period on lap 152, but was shuffled back on the subsequent restart. A valiant effort allowed him to finish in the top 10 for the fifth time this season and also kept his 7.1 average finishing position in the race intact.

Quote: “We had several issues today. One was the restarts. Somehow we weren’t able to pull away. I don’t understand because as soon as everyone was like a freight train behind me. I have to go back and look at the timing. That was really a shame. After that, the car was actually not bad. Now we have to move on. The Shell V-Power Nitro+ Chevrolet guys did an amazing job of putting me up front. Unfortunately seventh is the best we could do.”

No. 22 Avaya Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet – Simon Pagenaud

Start: 3rd
Finish: 10th
Status: Running
Laps Completed: 200/200
Laps Led: 35
Points Position (behind leader): 11th (-130)

Recap: Simon Pagenaud – who appeared to have the best car and led the most laps among the four Team Penske drivers – fell back in the running order after contact near the end of the race and finished in the 10th position. The hard-luck finish dropped Pagenaud to 11th in the point standings, 130 points behind teammate and race winner Juan Pablo Montoya. Pagenaud led the second-most laps in the event and rarely dropped outside of the top-five positions. He, Scott Dixon and Will Power put on a thrilling show at the front of the field, routinely swapping the lead among the three quick drivers. With 50 laps remaining, Pagenaud held the lead and appeared on his way to challenge for the win, but he made contact with Dixon at lap 170 and damaged the front wing of his Avaya Chevrolet, which forced him to pit for repairs. Upon returning to the track at lap 176 in the 21st position, Pagenaud showed the strength of his Chevrolet by climbing back into the 10th position by the time the checkered flag fell.

Quote: “The car was amazing. I thank Team Penske for all their hard work. It was a great day. The Avaya crew was on it, fantastic pit stops. What a race – we led, we were just cruising behind Dixon, saving fuel. At Lap 170, we knocked our front wing on Dixon and we had to come back in and we were last. We came back up to 10th in 10 laps. That just shows you how good the car was. I’m disappointed, too, but I’m really happy for Juan Pablo and Team Penske. It’s amazing. This team’s incredible.”