Team Penske’s Detroit weekend got off to a dream start with three of their four cars starting in the top three for Saturday’s opening race of the Chevrolet Dual in Detroit on Belle Isle. Verizon IndyCar Series points leader Simon Pagenaud started the race from pole position with team mate Helio Castroneves alongside him with Juan Pablo Montoya in the No.2 Verizon Chevrolet starting in third place.
At the start of the race, Pagenaud jumped into a commanding lead over team mate Helio Castroneves however with Juan Pablo Montoya and Will Power the pair had a minor coming together which caused problems for Power who later in the race suffered a gearbox problem and retired from the race on lap 44.
Speaking following the race Power commented by saying:
The Verizon Chevy was great today. We started in ninth and were able to quickly gain ground and get up front. The car was really fast and felt very comfortable. Then we had that pit stop and problem with the wheel. You can’t do much about it. Things happen. My crew is the best. It was just one of those things. We’ll regroup and give it another go tomorrow.
Montoya who led the race on several occasions ended the race where he started in third place place and speaking following the race he commented by saying:
After the last pit stop, we started having issues. But it was okay. We started pushing. It was a smart call. We were trying to play the rain. When we restarted, we never really pushed. We were trying to make sure we could make it to the rain, and the rain never came. We tried to run a smart race, but the rain didn’t happen. We got a decent podium out of it, so I’m pretty happy about that.
P1 Award winner and championship leader Simon Pagenaud in the No.22 Hewlett Packard Enterprises Chevrolet had a great start to the race dominating the first half of the event however he was left disappointed as he ended up coming home in 13th place after running out of fuel and coasting across the finish line. Despite missing out on the win in race 1, Pagenaud heads into Sunday’s race 2 with a commanding leading over team mate Helio Castroneves in the Verizon IndyCar Series points standings. Speaking following the race the Frenchman commented by saying:
The Hewlett Packard Enterprise Chevrolet was strong today. We were running strong all day in the front, but it ended up being a fuel strategy race after we got caught up during the first yellow when we were in the lead. From then on, strategy was difficult. We needed a load of fuel to make it at the end but unfortunately there wasn’t much we could have done. If we came in, it probably would have been the same. The crew did a fantastic job. It just didn’t work out for us.
Helio Castroneves was delighted with his Hitachi Chevrolet however despite starting the race from second place on the grid he was left disappointed as he ended the event in fifth place however with reigning series champion Scott Dixon retiring from the race Castroneves has moved into second in the championship and speaking following race one he stated:
I have to say the Hitachi Chevrolet was fantastic and ran really well and we were in great position to win. On the other side, we had to save fuel for about 30 laps. But if we look at the positive side, we’ve gained a lot of points in championship (now second) and that’s very good for Team Penske. We will go back tomorrow and look for better results.