Helio Castroneves

Helio Castroneves is the only IZOD IndyCar Series driver to complete all 1,753 race laps this season.

That statistic is a statement of consistency that has led to and kept the veteran atop the series championship standings entering round 14 of 19 and a testament to the No. 3 Team Penske car's crew.

Castroneves, who has finished in the top 10 the past nine races, enjoys a 29-point advantage over Scott Dixon heading into the Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio this weekend.

“Our approach is the same. That's what got us here,” said Castroneves, who remained ahead in the standings compliments of second- and sixth-place finishes in the Honda Indy Toronto doubleheader, which Dixon swept in the No. 9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing car. “Hopefully with that same kind of consistency, mentality, when we have a car to go for it we go for it. I think with that kind of thinking, it's going to take us there, as well."

Click it: Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio entrant list || Event information

Enjoy might be too strong, though, considering Dixon has won the past two races on the 2.258-mile, 13-turn road course and the past three races this season to vault into contention.

Additionally, the No. 3 car will soon have its fifth Chevrolet engine installed (No. 4 has used 1,832 of the minimum 2,000-mile threshold for approved change-out). Following Mid-Ohio, there are five races (plus practice and qualifying) remaining on the schedule. Castroneves and teammate Will Power are scheduled to test Aug. 7 at Sebring International Raceway and Sept. 24 at Auto Club Speedway in addition to an Aug. 21 Open Test at Sonoma.

Each occurrence of switching to a fresh engine above the allotted five for the season will result in a 10 grid-spot penalty. Castroneves incurred a grid penalty for the race at Iowa Speedway on June 23 -- after earning the Verizon P1 Award in the final heat race -- because of an unapproved engine change. The team installed a fresh Chevy engine for the Indianapolis 500 on May 26, but by rule had to re-install the previous engine (used for practice and qualifications at Indianapolis) and run it to the mileage threshold. An issue limited that engine's use to 737 miles.

Dixon has put 1,025 miles on his fourth Honda engine entering Mid-Ohio. He's scheduled to test Aug. 7 at Iowa in addition to the Aug. 21 Open Test.

A July 31 Open Test (9 a.m.-5 p.m.) at Mid-Ohio is open to race ticket-holders or spectators who purchase a race ticket at the gate, kicks off the race week. The Keyhole and the infield are open for viewing and fans are welcome to bring food and drinks. Follow the Open Test with Timing & Scoring

“We just have to keep focused on our work. I'm not worried less or more because it's Scott," Castroneves said. "The same thing was with (third-place) Ryan (Hunter-Reay). They're both on great teams. I trust my guys. I know we have the best equipment, the best guys out there. We know what we’re capable of. That's what we're focused on at this point."

Castroneves has held the top spot in the standings for a career-high eight races, dating to Race 1 at Detroit in early June, in pursuit of his first series title. The 90-lap race at challenging Mid-Ohio, where he last won in 2001 and last placed in the top five in 2010, is the next step to realizing his goal.

“I want (the title) more than anybody,” he said. “Especially having those guys behind me, I have that chance. Experienced guys, experienced teams. When you put yourself in this position, yes, I'm going to fight as much as I can.  If I have a good car to finish, I will finish strong.  If I don't have a good car to finish, I'll play smart.  You use different strategies, ways to put us there. That's what's happening at this point.”

The top four in the standings


Total points





Helio Castroneves


1 (oval)




Scott Dixon


3 (2 r/s, 1 oval)




Ryan Hunter-Reay


2 (1 r/s, 1 oval)




Marco Andretti