Jun 1, 2014
DETROIT -- It was an impromptu eruption of joy on June 18, 2000, on Belle Isle, and the fence climb instantly became Helio Castroneves' signature victory celebration. Older but no less exuberant, Castroneves bounded to the fencing near Turn 1 to celebrate his 29th Indy car victory June 1 in Dual 2 of the Chevrolet Indy Dual in Detroit presented by Quicken Loans.
Castroneves, who started third in the 70-lap race in the No. 3 Hitachi Team Penske car, completed a sweep for engine supplier Chevrolet and Team Penske in the first of three Verizon IndyCar Series doubleheader weekends this season. His victory tied Rick Mears for 11th on the all-time list.
"We came out with the Hitachi car spot on," said Castroneves, whose crew joined him in scaling the fencing in front of the appreciative large grandstand crowd.
A week earlier, Castroneves was crestfallen after falling .0600 of a second short of joining Mears, A.J. Foyt and Al Unser as the only four-time winners of the Indianapolis 500 Mile Race.
“Indy 500. It just clicked something. It just made us hungry and here I am in Victory Circle where I won my first race. It's great energy again. In the beginning of the season, Chevy said, 'We want to win the Indy 500 and Detroit.' We were close to the Indy 500, but we were able to deliver two wins here in Detroit. I wanted it so bad," he said. "More than anything, I want this championship."
Click it: Dual 2 box score || How Power won Dual 1
Castroneves, who is the fifth different winner in seven races this season, moved to second in the standings -- 19 points behind teammate Will Power. Ryan Hunter-Reay, who amassed 126 points in winning the Indianapolis 500, dropped to third with a disappointing pair of races that carried full points.
It was the first victory for Castroneves since last June at Texas Motor Speedway, which hosts the always breathtaking Firestone 600 under the lights June 7 on the 1.5-mile, high-banked oval.
Power, who held off Graham Rahal's No. 15 National Guard Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing car by .3308 of a second to win the opening race on the 2.36-mile, 13-turn street course, was runner-up for his fifth top-five finish in the seven races.
Castroneves, who pitted for service for the final time on Lap 50, led Power by 9.4 seconds and was hoping for a clear road to the victory. But the third caution of the race, on Lap 59, set up what everybody thought would be a duel between the teammates following a Lap 64 restart.
But another caution followed on Lap 65 for a single-car incident -- after the No. 83 Novo Nordisk Chip Ganassi Racing car of Charlie Kimball and the No. 27 United Fiber & Data car driven by James Hinchcliffe overtook Scott Dixon for third and fourth -- that set up a three-lap sprint to the finish.
On the single-file restart, Castroneves wouldn't let Power get closer than the final margin of 1.6836 seconds. Kimball held third place -- advancing 17 positions -- for his best finish of the season and Dixon drove from last on the starting grid to fourth. Hinchcliffe placed fifth.
"A huge credit to the Target team coming from dead last to fourth. That's a huge accomplishment," said Dixon, the reigning series champion. "Overall, a good day and the team did a good job on strategy."
Hunter-Reay and the crew for the No. 28 DHL entry for Andretti Autosport had a long weekend. Contact in qualifying sessions for both races set him toward the rear of the grid (21st both races), and he finished a lap down in 16th place in Dual 1 and an electrical issue relegated him to 61 laps and 19th place in Dual 2.
“I’ll try to erase this one from my memory and move on to Texas," he 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."
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