Castroneves gives Penske a weekend sweep in Detroit

 

The Sports Network

Detroit, MI (SportsNetwork.com) - One week after coming up 0.06 seconds short of winning the Indianapolis 500, Helio Castroneves put on a dominating performance to win race 2 in the IndyCar Series doubleheader weekend at Detroit's Belle Isle Park.

It was a weekend sweep for Team Penske in Detroit, with Will Power winning the first race on Saturday and then Castroneves taking the checkered flag in the second event on Sunday.

Castroneves grabbed the lead for the first time during a round of pit stops on lap 28 and then took command from there. The Brazilian led 42 of 70 laps. He had a sizeable advantage until a caution came on lap 59. Shortly after, the fourth and final caution setup a four-lap shootout to the finish.

After the last restart, Castroneves pulled away from his teammate, Power. He beat Power to the finish line by 1.6836 seconds for his 29th career IndyCar win but his first since June 2013 at Texas. He moved into a tie with Rick Mears for 11th on the series' all-time race winners list.

"Even when the race was over in Indy, we were already working on Detroit," Castroneves said. "I said, 'I want to win this race as bad as anybody.' As soon as it came out of the truck, the Hitachi car was outstanding. We massaged the car just a small bit, and it was absolutely perfect. Race number one, unfortunately the yellow didn't play in our favor. But we had the car, the strategy, but it didn't work that way. We at least were able to carry on the Team Penske flag."

Castroneves finished fifth in the first race after starting on the pole and leading the most laps with 30.

Power rebounded after being penalized for avoidable contact with Josef Newgarden on the first lap. Newgarden, Graham Rahal, who finished second to Power in race 1, and Justin Wilson were involved in an accident in turn 3.

"I think the biggest hit was a drive-through penalty," Power said. "Still, I was surprised to end up in second."

Charlie Kimball finished third, while his Chip Ganassi Racing teammate, Scott Dixon, placed fourth after starting last in the 22-car field. James Hinchcliffe was fifth.

After winning in Detroit for the third time, Castroneves did his signature victory celebration by climbing the fence along the frontstretch. His crew members joined him in the celebration. Castroneves' first two victories here came consecutively from 2000-01.

"The win feels just like 13 years ago," he said. "They're great. They're awesome. The crowd was great. The only thing, I need to hold my emotions better because I'm getting old."

Power reclaimed the top spot in the IndyCar championship standings. Indy 500 champion Ryan Hunter-Reay entered race 2 with the points lead, but Hunter-Reay experienced an electrical issue that put him out of the event after completing 61 laps. He ended up finishing 19th.

"I'll try to erase this one from my memory," Hunter-Reay said. "What put us out was we lost pressure in the shift actuator, so we couldn't get out of first gear. We started with a puncture, and we had to come in. Then we were off strategy. We tried saving fuel, then we had to abandon that because it went green in the middle. Nothing we did worked this weekend. We will just move on from these two races and focus on the future."

Hunter-Reay wrecked in qualifying and had to start 21st. He also crashed on the final lap of race 1, finishing 16th in that event. Hunter-Reay held a 40- point lead after winning the Indy 500.

With the win, Castroneves moved up to second in the standings, 19 points behind Power, while Hunter-Reay dropped to third in the rankings (-27).

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