Verizon IndyCar Series Race Report – Iowa Speedway

Verizon IndyCar Series Race Report

Track: Iowa Speedway
Race: Iowa Corn 300
Date: July 18, 2015

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

Start: 6th
Finish: 10th
Status: Running
Laps Completed: 300/300
Laps Led: 2
Points Position (behind leader): 5th (-55)

Recap: Will Power’s 10th-place finish in the Indy Iowa Corn 300 on Saturday night was Team Penske’s best result of the evening and it left him in fifth place in the Verizon IndyCar Series championship standings. After starting the race from the sixth position, the reigning Verizon IndyCar Series champion ran inside the top five for the majority of the first 100 laps of the 300-lap event. He briefly assumed the lead at lap 81 while the field began making green-flag pit stops, but he lost several positions when he came to pit road at lap 83. Power spent the rest of the event working his way back to the front of the field to secure his eighth top-10 finish of the year.

Quote: “The Verizon Chevy was really good from the middle to the end of stints, but we struggled to get going there on restarts and so we lost some track positions and we weren’t able to make that back up. We need to have a better car when the field is bunched up and the traffic is heavy. But we’ll take this and just focus on better results in Mid-Ohio.”
No. 2 Verizon Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet – Juan Pablo Montoya

Start: 3rd
Finish: 24th
Status: Contact
Laps Completed: 9/300
Laps Led: 0
Points Position (behind leader): 1st (445 pts)

Recap: Juan Pablo Montoya saw his race at Iowa Speedway come to an abrupt and early ending as a suspension malfunction resulted in a heavy collision with the outside retaining wall in Turn 2 on the ninth lap of competition. The 2015 Indianapolis 500 winner escaped injury in the incident. He only lost 12 points in the series standings as many of the other point leaders also encountered difficulties on the shortest track on the Verizon IndyCar Series schedule. Saturday’s result marked the first time in 18 races that Montoya failed to finish a race, dating back to the 2014 Iowa race.

Quote: “It’s just disappointing. Our Verizon Chevy was really good tonight. It was a little loose the first couple of laps, but I was just really taking it easy and biding my time. Something broke. As soon as I loaded up the right front going into the corner something gave up.”

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

Start: 1st
Finish: 11th
Status: Running
Laps Completed: 300/300
Laps Led: 50
Points Position (behind leader): 4th (-54)

Recap: Helio Castroneves started on the pole position for the Indy Iowa Corn 300 and led four times for 50 laps in the No. 3 Hitachi Team Penske Chevrolet as he looked to be one of the favorites to win the event. However, on lap 158, Castroneves nearly made heavy contact with the outside wall but was able to save his Chevrolet from incident. Unfortunately the slip let the No. 67 car of Josef Newgarden past him for the lead. With the loose-handling condition, race strategist Roger Penske called for a significant front-wing adjustment and an air pressure change on the following pit stop. As the sun began to set and the temperatures cooled, the chassis swung massively to a tight-handling condition and Castroneves eventually dropped down to 11th in the running order. He was able to cross the finish line in that same spot, narrowly missing out on his 200th career top-10 finish in Verizon IndyCar Series competition.

Quote: “The Hitachi Chevy was unbelievable the first half of the race until we had a huge moment on the exit of turn three while leading the race. I’m still not sure how I was able to catch it. After that it was all downhill because we adjusted the car for the oversteer, but then it really cooled off and we developed an understeer. Then we lost a lot of positions on restarts after I felt we got chopped off numerous times. We were able to minimize the damage a bit over the last few laps but, man, I really thought we had a Chevy that could win the race.”

No. 22 Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet – Simon Pagenaud

Start: 5th
Finish: 14th
Status: Running
Laps Completed: 299/300
Laps Led: 0
Points Position (behind leader): 10th (-151)

Recap: Simon Pagenaud started fifth in Saturday night’s Indy Iowa Corn 300 at Iowa Speedway, his 11th top-five starting position of the season. As the race began, however, he had to deal with a chassis that was handling too loose for his liking. The No. 22 Penske Truck Rental Chevrolet pit crew made adjustments to the front wing on the first two tops of the night, but Pagenaud still had trouble keeping pace with the race leaders. As the race moved into the final 100-lap segment and the track conditions cooled, Pagenaud was happy with the handling of his Chevrolet and he was able to maneuver his way back into the 14th position before crossing the finish line.

Quote: “We’re not quite sure what happened with the Penske Truck Rental Chevrolet. We practiced really well yesterday. At the end of the race we had the exact same car that we had in practice. But at the beginning it was just really, really loose and I could barely hang on to it. It was all about survival at that point. We made some adjustments on the first pit stop but it was still too loose. By that point we were really behind in having any chance at winning the race. The Penske Truck Rental Chevy was good on the last two stints. That is the positive that we can take away from tonight and go to Mid-Ohio.”