Castroneves gets 1st IndyCar win of year at Texas
Castroneves gets 1st IndyCar victory this season, his 4th at high-banked Texas track
FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) — Helio Castroneves raced to his first IndyCar victory of the season, leading the final 132 laps Saturday night for his fourth career victory at Texas Motor Speedway.
Castroneves also won at the 1½-mile, high-banked track in 2004, 2006 and 2009.
“Texas is awesome. I love this place,” Castroneves said after celebrating by climbing up the frontstretch fence.
Former series champion Sam Hornish Jr. was the only other three-time IndyCar winner at Texas, and his last came for Roger Penske, who now has eight victories at the track which hosted its 25th IndyCar race.
Ryan Hunter-Reay of Andretti Motorsports finished second, more than 5 seconds back. He led 35 of the 228 laps.
With six other top-10 finishes in the first seven races, Castroneves entered the night tied with Marco Andretti for the season points lead.
Andretti, who led the first 53 laps after starting on the front row, finished fifth. He dropped to second, 22 points behind Castroneves.
Castroneves took the lead from Andretti, going around him in Turn 3 on lap 96, and stayed there. He is the seventh driver to win in eight races this season.
Before Oriol Servia spun out right in front of him on lap 113, Castroneves had built a 14-second lead over defending race winner Justin Wilson. Castroneves was able to get around Servia’s car without any issue.
That ended a sequence when Castroneves went 61 laps without a stop before going into the pit during that caution.
The top five finishers were Chevrolets, with Indianapolis 500 winner Tony Kanaan third, followed by Ed Carpenter and Andretti. The highest-finishing Honda was Dario Franchitti, just ahead of Castroneves teammate Will Power, the polesitter.
While nothing obscene, a clearly frustrated Andretti motioned with his hand to Sebastien Bourdais while completing a pass less than 70 laps in at Texas.
It was a week earlier in the first race of the Detroit doubleheader that Andretti was the target when Sebastian Saavedra flashed both of his middle fingers after the two made contact on the track. That motion by Saavera was caught on live television, and earned him a $30,000 fine from IndyCar.
Bourdais was placed on probation for the rest of the season for comments made toward officials on pit road after an accident with Power in Sunday’s race in Detroit. Power also was put on probation until the end of the season for throwing his gloves at Bourdais.
Andretti gave up the lead when he pitted after 53 laps. He had led only 38 laps in the first seven races, including 31 at Indianapolis last month. But he got in front for only four more laps at Texas.
Wilson started 20th, but had moved up to fifth within the first 85 laps. He finished 15th, two laps behind Castroneves.
The command for drivers to start their engines was given by Jennifer Simonds and Anna “Sam” Canaday, teachers who used their bodies to shield kindergarteners when an EF5 tornado made a direct hit on Plaza Towers Elementary School in Moore, Okla., on May 20.
CJ Gillaspie, captain of the West Volunteer Fire Department, which lost five members in a fertilizer plant explosion April 17, waved the green flag as the honorary starter.
Texas was the fourth of five races in a four-week span for IndyCar, which started with the Indianapolis 500 before the doubleheader weekend at Detroit. The series is in Milwaukee next Saturday before only one race the following three weeks.