Friday, March 7, 2014
By Jenna Fryerap Auto Racing Writer
The Associated Press
(Continued from page 1)
Safety team members work to remove Dario Franchitti, of Scotland, from his car after a crash during the second IndyCar Grand Prix of Houston auto race, Sunday, Oct. 6, 2013, in Houston.
The Associated Press
“It’s frustrating and disappointing,” Castroneves said. “It hurts. It really hurts.”
His car was towed to the garage with a broken gearbox, Castroneves made the long walk back still wearing his helmet, and team owner Roger Penske retreated without comment into a team transporter.
The team eventually replaced the gearbox and Castroneves returned to the track, 36 laps down and needing a miracle in Fontana, where the three-time Indianapolis 500 winner was fastest during an open test last week.
“The racing isn’t over, we know that. We’ve seen this thing go up and down,” team owner Penske said. “I think Will’s performance today shows the speed the team has in the cars. We’ve been here before, and we’ll go to a track we like and maybe it will bring us some luck.”
But Penske said Castroneves will likely have to change his engine before the finale which will incur a 10-spot penalty on the starting grid at Fontana.
“It’s a long race and we’re going to go for it,” said Penske, adding “it doesn’t make sense, as far as I’m concerned” that reliability and durability failed twice in two days in a season in which Castroneves had been the only driver to complete every lap heading into Houston.
Dixon said his strategy didn’t change when Castroneves pulled over Sunday with his problem. Dixon said he saw Castroneves drive over a bump in Turn 1 under yellow that had caused problems all weekend and it caused some of the underwing to fall off of his car. Dixon said oil began pouring out of Castroneves’ car.
“He hit really hard going through Turn 1 kink, instead of sticking to the left there, for some reason he went right in the middle and that’s when some of the underwing fell off when he hit that hard,” Dixon said. “With the amount of oil that was coming out of that thing, I knew it was pretty terminal.
“But at that point you are thinking you still want to win the race, and Will was being super aggressive and trying to win the race and help his teammate.”
Penske praised Power for holding off Dixon for the victory.
“With Will out there battling and taking some points away, he got his job done,” Penske said.
Power said his job in Fontana will be to help his teammate.
“Going into Fontana, it’s all about Helio winning a championship, so whatever I can do,” Power said. “If Helio needs to win the race and I need to be somewhere in between him and Dixon, then that’s what we’re aiming for.”