We Got So Close Today
Team Penske’s Helio Castroneves driving the No.3 Shell Fuel Rewards Chevrolet will have to wait until next season to attempt to add to his three Indianapolis 500 championships.
The Brazilian ended Sunday’s chaotic 101st running of the Indianapolis 500 presented by PennGrade Motor Oil on the podium in second place behind 2017 Indianapolis 500 champion Takuma Sato.
Castroneves had a lucky escape going underneath the airborne No.9 Camping World Honda of Scott Dixon when the New Zealander was caught up in a huge accident.
As a result of his second place, Castroneves has moved into the lead of the championship on 245 points as the series heads to Belle Isle for the double header in Detroit.
Speaking following the 101st running of the Indianapolis 500, Castroneves stated:
The Shell Fuel Rewards Chevy team almost got it done today. It was so close. We’ve got to keep going. I take my hat off to Takuma (Sato) for having a strong car today. He really seemed to be getting better as the race went along. I say, ‘great job’ to my guys. They worked their tails off. We saw it all today. We were in the back and we led some laps. We avoided disaster and we almost got number four.”
Juan Pablo Montoya in the No.22 Fitzgerald Glider Kits Chevrolet did a great job in what was likely to be his final race of the season as the Colombian came through the field from 18th on the grid to finish in sixth place having run out of fuel early in the race.
Speaking following the race, Montoya stated:
“Our Fitzgerald Glider Kits Chevy was good. We had a problem there in the beginning when we ran out of gas in Turn 3. We should have had another half-gallon in the car. It put is in a tough position because we lost a lot of positions there. From there to come back to where we finished was great. We ran 12th or 13th most of the day and then the car was really good at the end of the race. The balance just wasn’t there. Then I told the guys on the last stop, let’s take swing and we did and the car came to life. I would have liked to have had some more laps at the end.
Reigning Verizon IndyCar Series champion Simon Pagenaud in the No.1 Menards Chevrolet started the race from 23rd place on the grid and finished the event in 14th and speaking following the race he commented by saying:
It wasn’t the finish we wanted today for the Menards Chevrolet team. But for the big picture it was a decent day. We’re still in that top group in points as we head to Detroit. That’s a place that suits us pretty well. The (Indianapolis) 500 remains a goal and we’ll take another shot at it next year.”
Josef Newgarden driving the No.2 Hum by Verizon Chevrolet in his first Indianapolis 500 as a Penske driver started the race from 22nd place and finished in 19th.
Speaking following the race he stated:
“It was an OK day. We just got caught up in that wreck there at the end. That hurt us. When we were up front we were good. We seemed to keep racing ourselves toward the front of the field. Then we would just get dropped back by a couple of issues. If we would have been up front the whole time, I think we could have finished in the top five. We performed really well today, things just didn’t go out way.
It was a disappointing race for Will Power in the No.12 Verizon Chevrolet. Starting the event from ninth place, the Australian was caught up in an accident on lap 183 and was forced to retire as a result.
Speaking following the race, Power stated:
I’m not sure what happened out there. All I know that I was sliding backward. It was an up and down day for the Verizon Chevy. We were able to stick our nose in there a few times and we were stuck back in the back other times. Then, we got caught up in that deal at the end that ended our day. We’ll move on to Detroit. The thing about this race is that we get to turn the page pretty quickly.”
What’s next for Team Penske? They head straight to Belle Isle for the Chevrolet Duel in Detroit double header this weekend.