Verizon IndyCar Series Race Report – Penske Racing

Verizon IndyCar Series Race Report

Track:​Exhibition Place street circuit – Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Race: ​Honda Indy Toronto
Date: ​June 14, 2015

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

Start: 1st
Finish: 4th
Status: Running
Laps Completed: 85/85
Laps Led: 30
Points Position (behind leader): Second (-27 pts)

Recap: Will Power led the early stages of Sunday’s rain-soaked Honda Indy Toronto, but settled for a fourth-place finish that kept him second in the Verizon IndyCar Series championship standings. Sunday’s result marked Power’s sixth top-five finish in 10 races of the 2015 season. Power led the first 30 laps of the race that included a green-flag pit stop on lap 12. After the stop he continued to lead Team Penske teammate Simon Pagenaud, who gave the reigning series champion a thrilling fight for the lead. On lap 30, Power pitted under caution from the lead as teammate Helio Castroneves and others stayed out on track and Castroneves took over the top spot. Power was the first of the leaders to leave the pits, emerging back on track in fifth place. He worked his way into the third position by lap 42, but eventually lost several spots while battling Pagenaud for position. A strong drive over the final laps resulted in Power crossing the finish line in the fourth position to maintain second in the series standings while closing the gap in points to teammate Juan Pablo Montoya.

Quote: “I was surprised at how quickly the race moved along. They said it was the end and I was like, ‘Really, that’s it?’ But, yeah, I was happy with the result. We went with a low risk strategy – we didn’t want to get caught out by the yellow. I felt like if we’d had five more laps our car was pretty strong because we had black (tires) and Helio had reds on. We gained some points back with a solid top four (finish). It was a championship type day for the Verizon Chevy team.”

No. 2 PPG Automotive Refinish Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet – Juan Pablo Montoya

Start: 3rd
Finish: 7th
Status: Running
Laps Completed: 85/85
Laps Led: 0
Points Position (behind leader): First (374 pts)

Recap: Juan Pablo Montoya maintained his lead in the Verizon IndyCar Series championship standings with a seventh-place finish in Sunday’s Honda Indy Toronto. He now leads Team Penske teammate Will Power by 27 points, with Penske’s Helio Castroneves in fourth place, 52 points off the lead. While trying to settle into an early rhythm on the wet Exhibition Place circuit, Montoya went slightly off course while racing with the No. 9 Chevy of Scott Dixon, dropping the PPG Automotive Refinish Chevrolet from third to eighth in the running order. He “short pitted” a few laps later on lap 10 to swap out his Firestone rain tires for the “red” alternate rubber. As a result he dropped back to 16th place, but was back up to seventh position by lap 15. On a Lap 46 restart, Montoya maintained his eighth place position, but he was passed by Takuma Sato and Graham Rahal a short time later. The 2015 Indianapolis 500 winner methodically worked his way back through the field over the remaining laps to secure his series-leading ninth top-10 finish of the 2015 Verizon IndyCar Series season.

Quote: “The PPG Automotive Refinish boys did a great job today despite the changing conditions. We sort of struggled when the track was wet and I made a couple small mistakes on track, but we recovered pretty quickly from those. After that it was a good race and we were really good on black tires from that point on. It was a nice, solid finish that allowed us to keep the points lead going into three straight oval races. I’m excited about that.”

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

Start: 7th
Finish: 3rd
Status: Running
Laps Completed: 85/85
Laps Led: 15
Points Position (behind leader): Fourth (-52 pts)

Recap: Helio Castroneves recovered from unfortunate luck on his second pit stop of the day to finish third Sunday in the Honda Indy Toronto for his fourth podium finish of the season. Castroneves made his first stop of the day on lap 11 to remove his Firestone rain tires in favor of the “red” alternate racing slicks. This move placed him on a different strategy than many of the other competitors, one that saw him take the lead in the race for the first time on lap 31. Race strategist Roger Penske made the call to bring Castroneves down pit road at lap 42 as the three-time Indianapolis 500 winner had built up a large lead that presented the possibility that he would receive tires and fuel before returning to the track in the lead. However, a caution flag was displayed before he could enter pit road. This resulted in Castroneves having to make his pit stop under caution, and he returned to the track in the 18th position. The fact that he was off-strategy from most of the field again played a big role in Castroneves taking the lead again at lap 63. After laying down a few blistering laps, he made his way down pit road for the final time at lap 66. A fast stop by his team, coupled with the significant lead he had built up, saw Castroneves return to action in the fourth position and he improved one spot to finish on the podium.

Quote: “After all the circumstances today – what a great job from the Hitachi boys. Roger (Penske) made a great call. I had no idea how they put me up there, but we were running really strong laps. The car was on rails. It’s a shame, certainly, it was crazy. I was pushing like I stole it. But in the end it was great. It was a shame with the weather a little bit, but thank God we were able to put some dry laps out there for the fans. The Canadian fans are always awesome. This is a great event and I hope when we come here next year we get a win.”

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

Start: 2nd
Finish: 11th
Status: Running
Laps Completed: 85/85
Laps Led: 0
Points Position (behind leader): 10th (-142 pts)

Recap: Simon Pagenaud battled among the leaders early in the Honda Indy Toronto before a troublesome restart on lap 46 dropped him from the fourth position to eighth. Pagenaud chased his Team Penske teammate, Will Power, for the lead early in the race to give the fans that braved the wet conditions a great show. After he pitted from second place on lap 30, Pagenaud restarted in the sixth position as teammate Helio Castroneves stayed on track and assumed the lead. Pagenaud moved up to fifth when he passed Rodolfo Gonzalez on lap 40, then moved up to fourth when Castroneves pitted under caution on the next lap. On the Lap 46 restart, however, Pagenaud lost four spots while battling Power for position before he pitted under the green flag on lap 55, dropping the No. 22 Avaya Chevrolet further back into the field. By Lap 69, Pagenaud was scored in 12th place before he gained another position on lap 72 to cross the finish line in the 11th place.
Quote: “Tough day today for the No. 22 Avaya Chevy team. We had a car that showed great potential to fight for the win today. Unfortunately, I lost a lot of positions on the restart trying to go around Will. I knew I had a good car and it was time to go to contend for the win. Toronto is a place where track position is very important. Once we got back in traffic our day became more difficult. I’m excited to go to California and continue our strong form on ovals at the Auto Club Speedway in two weeks.”