Verizon IndyCar Series Race Report
Track: Texas Motor Speedway
Race: Firestone 600
Date: June 6, 2015
No. 1 Verizon Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet – Will Power
Laps Completed: 244/248
Laps Led: 7
Points Position (behind leader): 2nd (-35 pts)
Recap: Will Power led early in Saturday night’s Firestone 600 at Texas Motor Speedway, but the handling on the No. 1 Verizon Chevy gradually deteriorated over the course of the event. The reigning Verizon IndyCar Series champion paced the field for the first seven laps of the race before turning the lead over to his teammate, Simon Pagenaud. From there Power managed to keep the Verizon Chevy inside the top five throughout the first 97 laps, but it eventually fell out of the top 10 due to an ill-handling condition. Power ultimately finished four laps down to the race leaders in 13th position.
Quote: “It was tough day for the Verizon Chevy team. We got a bit blindsided there and chose the wrong downforce level fortonight but I think our problems were deeper than that. We just need to take a good look at what we missed. We’ll go back and look towards better results in Toronto.”
No. 2 Verizon Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet – Juan Pablo Montoya
Laps Completed: 248/248
Laps Led: 16
Points Position: Leader (348 pts)
Recap: Juan Pablo Montoya recovered from handling issues early on to finish fourth in Saturday night’s Firestone 600 at Texas Motor Speedway, retaining his lead in the Verizon IndyCar Series championship standings. It marked Montoya’s series-leading sixth top-five finish of the season. After briefly losing several positions over the opening laps of the race, Montoya climbed back inside the top five prior to a lap 84 caution period. After bringing the No. 2 Verizon Chevrolet down pit road for service he returned to the track in the lead. He held the top spot until lap 182 when Tony Kanaan was able to get around both he and teammate Helio Castroneves, who was running in the second position. As he overcame some handling challenges with the car, Montoya was able to keep his Chevy positioned in the top five for most of the remaining laps.
Quote: “Not a bad day for the Verizon Chevy team. The setup we had in the car was kind of temperamental. Small adjustments had a big effect. On our second stop we went the wrong way on a front wing adjustment and it was a handful to drive after that. But a decent finish and a decent points day. I had a lot of confidence coming into this weekend – I thought we could win the race. We finished fourth so it’s not terrible.”
No. 3 AAA Insurance Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet – Helio Castroneves
Laps Completed: 248/248
Laps Led: 7
Points Position (behind leader): 4th (-62 pts)
Recap: Helio Castroneves maintained his fourth-place position in the Verizon IndyCar Series point standings with the third podium finish of the 2015 season and the 84th of his career in Saturday’s Firestone 600 at Texas Motor Speedway. It also marked his fourth top-five result of the season and 10th career top-five at Texas. Castroneves, who has won at Texas three times, battled among the leaders throughout the race. After his first pit stop on lap 48 of the 248-lap race, Castroneves and the No. 3 AAA Insurance Chevrolet returned to the track in fourth place. At Lap 70, he was still in fourth place, trailing leader Tony Kanaan and Team Penske teammates Simon Pagenaud and Juan Pablo Montoya. Castroneves claimed his only lead of the race on lap 187 and maintained his position at the front of the field for the remainder of the event to secure the strong podium finish.
Quote: “It was an interesting race. There were a lot of scenarios between the high downforce, low downforce. I think I was the only one with the middle downforce. So it wasn’t bad. The AAA Insurance Chevrolet was running very good, especially in the beginning. The only issue for me was towards the end of the runs, I was getting a little too neutral, to be honest, for my taste. We had good battles out there, really intense, really tough. Any time you are running with guys like that that respect each other, it’s great.”
No. 22 Avaya Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet – Simon Pagenaud
Laps Completed: 246/248
Laps Led: 59
Points Position (behind leader): 11th (-135 pts)
Recap: After a strong start that saw him lead 59 laps – the second-highest total of the race – Simon Pagenaud battled handling problems with the No. 22 Avaya Chevrolet for an 11th-place finish Saturday. Pagenaud, who started second, surged into the lead on Lap 8 and held the top spot through the first round of pit stops before Tony Kanaan seized the lead at lap 67. After a yellow flag waved on Lap 83 and Pagenaud pitted under caution, his crew attempted to fix a problem with the car’s weight jacker. The car had to be restarted, and Pagenaud returned to the track in ninth place. The Avaya Chevrolet struggled to maintain consistent balance from that point on, and Pagenaud worked hard to secure a finish just outside of the top 10.
Quote: “An up and down night for sure for the Avaya Chevrolet team. The car was really good out front with the downforce setup we had on the car. Unfortunately we had an electrical issue with our weight jacker, which threw the balance of the car off until we got a chance to reset the system under the second caution. But when we did that the engine shut down all the way into the pit stall and we lost several spots. An unfortunate situation for sure, but the guys continued to work on the car to make it better. With our downforce setup it was just not the best in traffic. Now we go to Toronto – which is a place that I love – to try to get this team to Victory Lane.”