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Firestone 550

Fort Worth, TX
Race Review

FORT WORTH, Texas -- The winner of an IZOD IndyCar Series race at Texas Motor Speedway has gone on to claim the season championship five times. Helio Castroneves hadn't benefited previously, but could his fourth victory on the 1.5-mile, high-banked oval be the ticket to the title he covets?

There's 4½ months and 11 events left, though Castroneves made a strong statement with a 4.6919-second victory over reigning IZOD IndyCar Series champion Ryan Hunter-Reay in the drama-filled prime time race on ABC. He's the seventh different winner in eight races this season, and the first to win four races at Texas Motor Speedway.

Castroneves, driving the No. 3 AAA Insurance Team Penske car, passed Marco Andretti's No. 25 RC Cola car for Andertti Autosport on Lap 97 and dominated the remaining 131 laps in a competition not marked by fuel mileage but by tire management.

“Jonathan (Diuguid, engineer) did a great job, the Chevy guys did a great job because we were able not only to manage the tires, manage the fuel and it was setup," Castroneves said. "We were just doing a lot of homework and it paid off. Thank God it paid off."

Consistency has led Castroneves to the top of the championship standings with four top-five finishes in the eighth races heading to the Milwaukee IndyFest on June 15 at the Milwaukee Mile. With bonus points for leading the most laps (132), Castroneves broke a tie with Andretti to move 22 points clear. Andretti, who led 57 laps early, placed fifth. He was 8.4 seconds behind Castroneves with 27 laps left, but had to make a final service stop on Lap 204.

It was the first victory of the season for Team Penske and the sixth different team to hoist a trophy in Victory Circle.

"Helio drove a flawless race and a key victory in our season based on where we were in the standings," team owner Roger Penske said. "It probably was the best execution we've had in a long time. Helio now leads the points and that's critical as we are in this stretch of oval races. It will be a slugfest, but I like our position right now."

It was the 28th Indy car victory for Castroneves -- the first on an oval since 2010 at Twin Ring Motegi -- breaking a tie with Johnny Rutherford for 12th. Scott Dixon and Rick Mears are up next with 29 wins.

Tony Kanaan, who started 13th in the No. 11 Sunoco "Turbo" car, finished third and Ed Carpenter posted his best finish of fourth at the track. Carpenter came through the field after having to pit a second time on Lap 60 to remove a crew member's glove that got stuck in the front-wing assembly.

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Race Highlight Articles
Firestone 550
About the Track
Firestone 550 Track

Track Info

The 24 degrees of banking in the turns and the wide (58 feet) racing surface has produced memorable moments since the IZOD IndyCar Series began racing at the 1.5-mile oval in 1997.

Past Track Winners

2013Helio Castroneves
2012Justin Wilson
2011Will Power
2011Dario Franchitti
2010Ryan Briscoe
2009Helio Castroneves
2008Scott Dixon
2007Sam Hornish, Jr.
2006Helio Castroneves
2005Tomas Scheckter
2004Helio Castroneves
2004Tony Kanaan
2003Gil de Ferran
2003Al Unser, Jr.
2002Sam Hornish, Jr.
2002Jeff Ward
2001Sam Hornish, Jr.
2001Scott Sharp
2000Scott Goodyear
2000Scott Sharp
1999Mark Dismore
1999Scott Goodyear
1998John Paul, Jr.
1998Billy Boat
1997Arie Luyendyk
track videos
  • Firestone 550 at Texas: 'Fast Forward' highlights
  • Firestone 550 highlights: Back and forth on oval
  • Top four finishers talk about 228 laps at Texas
  • Drivers preview the first prime time race at Texas
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