An accident with Scott Dixon in the first lap could have finished the race with Helio Castroneves in Sonoma on Sunday, but the Brazilian was able to reverse the negative. After dropping to the 26th position, climbed positions consistently and finished on 6th in the 13th race and penultimate stage of the 2012 IZOD IndyCar Series. This gain of 20 positions not only was one of the main highlights of the Californian race but mainly kept the driver for Team Penske in direct competition for the title, and remained in 3rd place overall.
Castroneves not fazed by losing his original position on the grid (4) to Scott Dixon when the green flag waved, starting to recover even in the first lap. His action was successful, but the IndyCar commissioners did not understand similarly, because the cars touched and the 3-time Indy 500 winner was held responsible for the maneuver, which resulted in a spin of Chip Ganassi Racing’s driver, Dixon.
Fulfilling the drive through on lap 3, Castroneves returned in 21st and fell even more – to 26th – after the 14th lap pit. From this he started a recovery strategy and was in the 18th position of the lap 38 pit stop. As he stopped to change tires and refuel for the last time (around lap 62), occupied the 12th position. From this point the race until the checkered flag, he only evolved in the standings and took the checkered flag in 6th.
In terms of the championship, the final positions did not change because the leadership continues with Will Power (2nd in Sonoma in the victory of Ryan Briscoe, Castroneves’ Team Penske teammate), followed by Ryan Hunter-Reay (18th in race) and Castroneves .
“I’ll be honest, I’m not happy with today’s result. Had chances to fight for victory and with the crash of the first lap, with Dixon, my race got quite complicated. I’m not going to discuss whether the drive through was correct or not, but I really have my doubts. For me it was a racing incident, but it happens, and if we look the other way, finishing in 6th after falling to last was great. I’m still going strong in the fight for the title. Now got a bit harder, but let’s go after that cup!, ” said the driver of the Chevrolet Dallara DW12 # 3.
The penultimate round will be next Sunday, September 2, street circuit in Baltimore, but reserved emotions of the decision are left to Fontana, CA, 500 miles at the Auto Club Speedway oval on the 15th of September.