Team Penske’s Helio Castroneves in the No.3 Hitachi Chevrolet put all the rumors about his Verizon IndyCar Series future behind him to take his first victory since the Detroit Grand Prix in 2014 on Sunday night in the Iowa Corn 300 at Iowa Speedway.
The Brazilian who started the race from third place on the grid took his 30th career victory and closed the gap in the championship to eight points from 34 to Scott Dixon.
Speaking following the race, which was Roger Penske’s first win at the Iowa Speedway, Castroneves commented by saying:
That was great. I can’t thank Team Penske, Hitachi and Chevy enough and all our partners and especially the people back in the shop. They don’t get much credit, but without their work and effort, we wouldn’t be able to do what we did. It’s a great team effort because we came here, we tried a lot of different setups between all four cars, and I picked the winning one, so it was really good. The car felt really good, and it was just great. It was a little bit off in the beginning. We missed a little bit on the setup, then we made some adjustments after the first stop or second stop, and the car was fantastic. It was really good. Yes, this win was a long time coming, but you can never stop believing, and my team never stopped supporting me on that. We didn’t have a yellow at the wrong time; we didn’t have issues with the tires or anything else that has gotten us so many times. And when everything comes together like this, you have to execute and we did just that.
Will Power in the No.12 Verizon Chevrolet took his 48th career pole position in Iowa and ended the race in fourth place just behind Castroneves, JR Hildebrand and Ryan Hunter Reay.
Speaking following the race, the Australian commented by saying:
I wish we could have gotten the Verizon Chevrolet to Victory Lane, but I don’t feel bad at all with where we ended up. It was a good day. Not unhappy at all. The car was pretty loose on that second to last stint, but very good on that final stint. We got another solid finish and scored some important points. But the story of today is Helio (Castroneves). I’m mega happy for him. It’s really kind of ridiculous that it has taken this long with how good they’ve been. Something always seemed to bite them, but not today. I couldn’t be happier.
Josef Newgarden started the race from 16th place in the No.2 Fitzgerald Glider Kits Chevrolet and came through the field to finish the race in sixth place and speaking following the race he commented by saying:
It was one of those not bad, but not great days. The Fitzgerald Glider Kits Chevrolet was really good, but we just couldn’t get over the hump. Everyone is so equal now that it really is challenging to make up large amounts of ground. We were a little behind the eight ball after qualifying 16th, but that’s the draw sometimes. I really couldn’t be happier for Helio (Castroneves). He’s been so close so many times. It was a great day for Team Penske.
Simon Pagenaud in the No.1 Menards Chevrolet started the race from 11th place and finished the race in seventh place and speaking following the race he commented by saying:
It took a little while to get the Menards Chevy running fast, but it definitely was at the end. There was so much tire degradation that it was difficult to get a great feel for balance. Essentially, seventh is not bad. It’s not what we want to do, but starting 11th and being unlucky with the draw in qualifying are factors. I can’t complain about it. That’s the sport. We just need to be patient and keep doing what we’re doing. At some point we’ll get another win. I feel awesome for Helio (Castroneves) – just super happy. Instead of concentrating on me today, I think we all should congratulate Helio. He’s been waiting for this win since 2014 and it’s kind of unfair considering how competitive he has been.