Will Power Wins IndyCar Season Opener in St. Petersburg
IndyCar - St. Petersburg, FL
Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg - March 30, 2014
1.8-mile, 14-turn street circuit
No. 2 Verizon Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet
Driven By Juan Pablo Montoya
Start Position: 18
Finish Position: 15
Current Driver's Points Position: 15
No. 3 Hitachi Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet
Driven By Helio Castroneves
Start Position: 10
Finish Position: 3
Current Driver's Points Position: 3
No. 12 Verizon Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet
Driven By Will Power
Start Position: 4
Finish Position: 1
Current Driver's Points Position: 1
Juan Pablo Montoya - No. 2 Verizon Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet
THE RACE REVIEW
· Competing in his first Verizon IndyCar Series race since the 2000 season, Montoya qualified the No. 2 Verizon Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet in the 18th position.
· The former IndyCar, Formula 1 and NASCAR race winner made his first start for Team Penske and his first career start on the St. Petersburg street circuit Sunday.
· Running for the first time on the softer “red” Firestone tires, Montoya made up ground early as he improved three positions by lap 14.
· Montoya brought the No. 2 Verizon Chevrolet down pit road just one lap later in an effort to improve his track position even further.
· Keeping solid pace with the race leaders, Montoya posted his fastest lap of the race on lap 18. The early pit strategy also helped him to race his way into the top 10 at lap 28.
· As the race stayed under the green flag for the first 75 laps of the 110-lap race, Montoya began to lose rear grip on his machine, which briefly resulted in the loss of one lap. He was able to take a “wave around” to get back to lead-lap racing under the lap 76 caution period.
· Over the remaining laps of the race, Montoya was able to keep the No. 2 Verizon Chevy inside the top 15 cars, as he took the checkered flag in the 15th position.
WHAT THEY ARE SAYING
ON HIS FIRST RACE BACK IN THE VERIZON INDYCAR SERIES
“It was a decent start to my second run in the Verizon IndyCar Series. We have to get a little better on the setups and that will come as we work more together. I think we were just a little too aggressive today and we just burned the rear tires off the No. 2 Verizon Chevrolet. We passed some cars today and really learned a lot about these cars. I didn’t think our pace was that bad, but it’s hard when you start from that far back in the field.”
Helio Castroneves - No. 3 Hitachi Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet
THE RACE REVIEW
· Castroneves qualified the No. 3 Hitachi Dallara/Chevrolet in the 10th position on Saturday afternoon, advancing to the second round of qualifying.
· A three-time winner of the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg that had shown good speed all weekend, Castroneves quickly advanced after the green flag waved on Sunday. He improved two positions on the first lap and moved into the top five by lap 15.
· By lap 26, Castroneves improved to second place and when race leader Takuma Sato visited pit lane at lap 27, Castroneves claimed the race lead. He led for two laps before making his first pit stop of the day.
· From lap 29 through the end of the race, Castroneves and the No. 3 Hitachi Team Penske car never ran outside the top three.
· After a very fast pit stop by the No. 3 Team Penske crew on lap 54, Castroneves was able to seize control of second place four laps later.
· Running behind teammate Will Power, Castroneves maintained a speedy pace in second place through most of the second half of the race.
· On the lap 87 race restart following a caution, the car of Ryan Hunter-Reay got past the No. 3 Hitachi Chevy as Castroneves was slowed by the pace when the green flag waved.
· Castroneves continued to run strong and he crossed the finish line in third place to earn his sixth career podium finish at St. Pete.
WHAT THEY ARE SAYING
ON FINISHING THIRD ON SUNDAY
"What a race! I was having such a great time. We knew exactly what the No. 3 Hitachi Chevrolet needed (during the warmup). That's why the warmup is great to try new things that maybe will work. At the end of the day, I knew what I needed to do. I was just pushing all the way along. Toward the end, my used red tires were a little difficult to manage and the 28 car was able to get around me. He had a little better tires as well. As I kept pushing, the tires were going away. But all the way, it's a great, great start to the season.”
ON HIS STRONG TRACK RECORD IN ST. PETE
"I just love this place. This is like my home race, living in Ft. Lauderdale and I just like racing on this circuit. The fans here are awesome and it’s always a great place to start the season. I’m glad the weather was good today and we could put on a good show to start the year right in the Verizon IndyCar Series.”
Will Power - No. 12 Verizon Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet
THE RACE REVIEW
· Power began Saturday’s race from the fourth position after advancing to the Firestone Fast Six final round of qualifying on Saturday.
· Starting on “red” Firestone soft compound tires, Power showed impressive speed from the outset of Sunday’s race and passed Tony Kanaan for third place on lap 12.
· Power made his first pit stop on lap 22 and the No. 12 Verizon crew equipped the car with standard “black” Firestone tires.
· Power continued to move to the front, improving to second place by lap 29 and he took the race lead for the first time when he passed Takuma Sato on lap 31.
· Except for a quick trip to pit lane on lap 52, Power held the top spot for the rest of the race as he led a race-high 74 laps in all.
· Power held off both teammate Helio Castroneves and 2012 series champ Ryan Hunter-Reay over two race restarts as he produced his second win on the streets of St. Pete to go along with his 2010 victory.
· Sunday’s win represented Power’s 22nd in IndyCar competition and it marked his third consecutive victory and fourth in the last six races dating back to last season.
· Over his seven career starts at St. Petersburg, Power has now won four poles and two races and has led 167 laps on the street circuit.
WHAT THEY ARE SAYING
ON SUNDAY’S WIN
“Man, I’m mentally tired. That was physical and hard, but pretty stoked to get the first win for Verizon as the series sponsor with the No. 12 Verizon Team Penske Chevy. It’s a great day, a great stop there when we all pitted at the same time late in the race. The boys got me out there. Really happy with that and we executed well today.”
ON HIS APPROACH TO THIS SEASON
“We worked so hard in the offseason. We came into the season wanting to win a championship for Roger (Penske), and the way it went down last year was really disappointing for Helio not to win. Between the three of us – Juan, Helio and myself – we’ve been working really hard to get the car right. The field is so tight that I’m just happy we had a good Verizon Chevy today. Didn’t quite have the pace in qualifying. That’s how you want to start the season. Last year was horrible, and this year it’s good to get a points lead.”
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