Verizon IndyCar Series Race Report

Track: The Milwaukee Mile – West Allis, Wis. (one-mile oval)
Race: ABC Supply Wisconsin 250
Date: July 12, 2015

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

Start: 14th
Finish: 22nd
Status: Accident
Laps Completed: 130/250
Laps Led: 0
Points Position (behind leader): Fifth (-70 pts)

Recap: Verizon IndyCar Series reigning champion Will Power raced among the top 10 for the first half of the ABC Supply Wisconsin 250 at the historic Milwaukee Mile before an incident with the No. 5 car driven by Ryan Briscoe took him out of the event on lap 132. The resulting 22nd-place finish dropped Power from second to fifth in the Verizon IndyCar Series standings. Power started from the 14th position but moved the No. 1 Verizon Chevy into the top 10 by lap 50. Power – the 2014 winner of this event – was able to maintain his position at the front of the field following pit stops on laps 51 and 97. After restarting in eighth place on a lap 132 restart, Power and Briscoe made contact while racing for position in the center of Turns 3 and 4 of the Milwaukee Mile circuit. As Briscoe began to spin, Power was on his outside and nearly avoided the No. 5 car as it headed for the wall, but Power was ultimately collected in the incident. He is now in the fifth position in the Verizon IndyCar Series standings, 70 points behind leader and teammate Juan Pablo Montoya..

Quote: “I saw Ryan start to spin there so I went out wide to try and miss him, and he clipped me and I went up into the wall. There is no question it is going to make (the championship battle) tough, but we will keep focused and go on to the next one. You kind of get frustrated but you just have to keep moving on. Eventually it will change and we will have one go right for the Verizon Chevy team. Just got to keep focused and move on to the next one.”

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

Start: 8th
Finish: 4th
Status: Running
Laps Completed: 250/250
Laps Led: 0
Points Position: First (439 pts)

Recap: Juan Pablo Montoya recovered from an early pit road speeding penalty to finish fourth in the ABC Supply Wisconsin 250 at The Milwaukee Mile and maintain his Verizon IndyCar Series championship lead. Montoya started eighth and held that position for the first 50 laps of the 250-lap event. He steadily began to make his way forward, eventually claiming the third position by lap 61. On Lap 98, he piloted the No. 2 Verizon Chevy down pit road for a green-flag pit stop, but was clocked going too fast on pit road entry and he had to serve a drive-through penalty that dropped him to 20th place in lap 101. Again using a fast Chevy and smart pit strategy, Montoya began to work his way through the field. On lap 192 he was scored in the third position before coming down pit road for the final time at lap 198. He returned to the track in 14th place, but began making his way back to the front of the pack, following pit stops by the leaders. On the final restart of the day at lap 232, Montoya was scored in the second position but he didn’t have enough Firestone tires left to hold off the advancements of teammate Helio Castroneves and Graham Rahal, who both had newer rubber in the closing stages. After a spirited battle with one of his chief opponents to the championship, Scott Dixon, for the fourth position, Montoya crossed the finish line there to preserve his series-leading eighth top-five finish of the season.

Quote: “It was completely my mistake on the pit road speeding penalty. I had my finger on the (pit road speed) button but it’s really bumpy getting onto pit road so I don’t know if I didn’t hit it, or if I hit it twice. That put us behind a bit. With about 120 laps to go I told the guys that I think we can make it on one more stop and we did it! It’s great. Our Verizon Chevy was really good today. We grew our points lead with only four races to go. The crowd was fantastic. We always want to see the stands full when we race. It was a solid crowd today and that made it more fun behind the wheel.”

No. 3 Hitachi Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet – Helio Castroneves

Start: 24th
Finish: 2nd
Status: Running
Laps Completed: 250/250
Laps Led: 0
Points Position (behind leader): Third (tied, -69 pts)

Recap: After he started last in the 24-car field, Helio Castroneves drove from the back to a second-place finish Sunday in the ABC Supply Wisconsin 250 at The Milwaukee Mile. The impressive performance moved him from fifth to a tie for third in the Verizon IndyCar Series championship standings. Castroneves had to start of the rear of the field when the team was late to technical inspection prior to qualifying, but he quickly moved No. 3 Hitachi Team Penske Chevrolet through the field after the start of the race. By lap 27 of the 250-lap race, Castroneves was up to the 17th position. He kept the Hitachi Chevy on the fringe of the top 10 throughout much of the event to set himself up to take advantage of some good fortune. He received his break when a caution flag flew at lap 222, just a handful of laps before he was scheduled to make his final pit stop of the day. A great stop by his No.3 team resulted in Castroneves being the first car off pit road – and fourth in line – when the race resumed at lap 232. He was able to get around his teammate, Juan Pablo Montoya, and he held off Graham Rahal over the final laps to secure his 86th career top-three finish. Castroneves is now tied for third in the standings with Rahal, 69 points behind Montoya.

Quote: “I was pushing to the limit, no question (about it.) I knew the Hitachi Chevrolet would be very good, but the 11 car (race winner Sebastien Bourdais) was very fast. That seemed to be the key here. That was a hell of a job by the guys. We had a little miscue with qualifying, but we never lost faith. We focused on the race. I’m just so proud and honored to be part of this team. ”

No. 22 Penske Truck Rental Dallara/Chevrolet – Simon Pagenaud

Start: 17th
Finish: 9th
Status: Running
Laps Completed: 250/250
Laps Led: 0
Points Position (behind leader): 10th (-161 pts)

Recap: A ninth-place finish helped Simon Pagenaud maintain 10th place in the Verizon IndyCar Series driver standings. After starting the race from the 17th-position, Pagenaud lost a few spots as the handling on his Penske Truck Rental Chevy was not to his liking in the early portions of the ABC Supply 250 at the Milwaukee Mile. Following two pits stops – including one for a wing adjustment on Lap 95 – Pagenaud briefly moved up to the fifth position on lap 150. A green-flag pit stop on lap 163 dropped him back to 15th but the Frenchman never gave up on the day. Timely pit strategy allowed Pagenaud to gain valuable track position late in the event as he worked his way back into the fifth position at lap 199 before having to come down pit road for his final pit stop of the day. He returned to the track in the 15th position at lap 200 but battled back up to ninth place. He’s currently 161 points behind series leader and Team Penske teammate Juan Pablo Montoya.

Quote: “It was a good run for the Penske Truck Rental Chevy team. We started 17th because we missed the balance a little bit in qualifying. Milwaukee isn’t an easy place to pass, but I’m pretty happy with the result. It was a really good performance but again, the results don’t exactly show the performance. I think we made a good improvement on the setup for the car and the way I want it. Now, we are working for the future really and we are just starting to scratch the surface. It just takes time to get a team to fully come together. The guys were amazing during pit stops today. It is just details to work on.”