Even after being in first place for 133 of 250 laps scheduled, earning the bonus points for leading the most laps in Iowa Corn Indy 250 Grand Prix, Helio Castroneves lost performance at the end of the race, problems of handling, and ended in 6th place, this saturday June 23rd at Iowa Speedway, venue for the 9th race of the IZOD IndyCar Series. The evening event in the city of Newton, in the U.S. state of Iowa, had a one-hour delay because of rain.
The driver of the Team Penske took the lead of the race before the start, since the pole position Dario Franchitti abandoned still in alignment laps, because of engine problems. Ranked 2nd on the grid, Castroneves led the first 51 and then to his first pit (lap 70), returned to the 1st post. From this, a new period in the leadership was fulfilled by the second pit on lap 156.
It was after this second pit that he returned to the track in 11th position and began to climb. Given the maintenance of good performance observed since the start, returned directly to the fight for victory after the third and last stop. This offensive action continued until the last 30 laps to the checkered flag, but the situation had changed because the tires had great trepidation, jeopardizing the stability of DW12 Dallara Chevrolet # 3.
Despite losing positions successively, finishing in 6th represented a one position gain in the championship, from 5th to 4th place. “The vibration on the tires, caused losing a race that was almost at hand,” lamented Castroneves, who declined to speculate about why the tires had trepidation until a technical review. He said about the team’s work: “We adopted the strategy of three stops and my crew was fantastic in all of them.”
Photo by Steve Swope