By Amy Konrath
SPARTA, Ky. (Saturday, Sept. 4, 2010) – Helio Castroneves, who pitted on Lap 147 of 200 on the 1.5-mile Kentucky Speedway, inherited the lead when the leaders had to take a splash of ethanol in the final stages of the Kentucky Indy 300 and went on to win his second race of the season.
Pole sitter Ed Carpenter finished second at the track for the second year in a row and Panther/Vision Racing teammate Dan Wheldon was third. Tony Kanaan charged from 26th in the 27-car field to fourth and Dario Franchitti was fifth.
Franchitti closed the IZOD IndyCar Series championship points gap on Will Power, who finished eighth, to 17 with two races left.
Also on Sept. 4, Pippa Mann did everything right to win her first Firestone Indy Lights race. J.K. Vernay did just about everything right during the season – and just enough in the Drive Smart. Buckle Up Kentucky 100 – to virtually wrap up the series championship.
Mann, the pole sitter in the No. 11 Sam Schmidt Motorsports car, jumped to a large lead after a Lap 5 restart and cruised to a 6.8372-second victory over James Hinchcliffe’s No. 2 TMR-Xtreme Coil Drilling entry. She’s the second female (Ana Beatriz at Nashville and Iowa) to win in Firestone Indy Lights.
Vernay, who was third in the No. 7 Lucas Oil/CJ/Sam Schmidt Motorsports car, takes a 48-point lead over Hinchcliffe into the season finale Oct. 2 at Homestead-Miami Speedway and only needs to take the green flag to clinch the title.
DAY 2 NOTEBOOK:
For the second year in a row, Conquest Racing will be fielding a hometown favorite at the Indy Japan 300 with Roger Yasukawa signing on to drive the No. 36 car at Twin Ring Motegi. Yasukawa, who started competing in the IZOD IndyCar Series in 2003, will be competing in his sixth Indy Japan 300 at the 1.5-mile oval and his first with Conquest Racing.
ROGER YASUKAWA: “I am really excited to be back in the car for the Indy Japan 300 race in a couple of weeks. I always enjoy being able to race in front of my family, friends, and fans in Japan, and would like to thank Conquest Racing, CWE and VIDA for this opportunity. I have not driven an IndyCar for a year now, but I am very confident that the team will give me a strong car. I have worked with several crew members of the No. 36 car in the past, so it shouldn’t take too long to gel with the team. We’re expecting a record crowd for the Japan race this year, and I’m sure it is going to be very exciting.”
ERIC BACHELART (Owner, Conquest Racing): “We’re very happy to have Roger join the team and to be able to give him the opportunity to once again compete in front of his fans and family in Japan. Roger will bring great experience to the team that will be good for everyone and we look forward to working with him.”
“Holy G-forces Robin!! U r def missing it @ the @KYspeedway!”
Terrell Owens’ tweet to Cincinnati Bengals teammate Chad Ochocinco – known for his own tweeting in interesting places, such as the end zone – a third of the way through the Kentucky Indy 300 was one of the dozens the veteran wide receiver sent from the IZOD Performance Pit trackside.
The up-close view of the 218 mph-plus racing followed his own up-close view of the 1.5-mile oval in “The Fastest Seat in Sports.” Two-time Indianapolis 500 champion Arie Luyendyk was behind the wheel of the two-seat IndyCar as it led the 27-car field on pace laps and ramped up the mph to catch the rear of the field heading to the green flag.
“Dude, by far the best thing I have done in my life,” he said upon exiting the car with Bengals-stripped helmet in hand. “I live on the edge a little bit and that fit right in. I like to go fast. I had the best driver in the world.”
Daniel Herrington will take over the driving duties of the No. 29 William Rast car for Bryan Herta Autosport in the Drive Smart. Buckle Up Kentucky 100 at Kentucky Speedway.
Sebastian Saavedra qualified 12th for the 67-lap race on the 1.5-mile oval. Saavedra, who started third and finished 11th in the Chicagoland 100 a week earlier, is fifth in the Firestone Indy Lights standings. He has seven top-10 finishes and one pole start in 11 races in the No. 29 car. He also competed in the Indianapolis 500 in a Bryan Herta Autosport entry.
“Sebastian Saavedra’s father informed me last night that Sebastian has decided not to participate in today’s race,” Herta said. “This turn of events has come to me, our sponsor and our entire race team as quite a surprise. Needless to say I am deeply disappointed.
“We greatly appreciate and admire Daniel’s willingness to step into our No. 29 William Rast Indy Lights entry on extremely short notice.”
Herrington, who won at Chicagoland Speedway in 2009 in a Bryan Herta Autosport car, has not competed in Firestone Indy Lights this season.
Saavedra made the following statement via his twitter account: “I will not be racing for the rest of the season with Bryan Herta Autosport. It was a tough decision but it’s made. After the last races, things haven’t gone the way they should. And at last my managers and main sponsor made the decision to stop to not continue harming my racing career and name. I’m frustrated and sad to break the news but that’s it. I’m very thankful to all my mechanics, and engineers. Unfortunately, things did not work contract wise but I will still be working hard to bring my countries name high.”
Team Penske has made some crew changes beginning this weekend at Kentucky Speedway.
No. 3 Team Penske (Helio Castroneves)
*Inside Front- Mike Brown (previously on the No. 12 car)
No. 6 Team Penske (Ryan Briscoe)
*Fueler – Larry Rutkauskas (previously on the No. 12 car)
*Air Jack – Damon Lopez (previously on the No. 12 car)
No. 12 Verizon Team Penske (Will Power)
*Inside Front – Matt Rosentel (previously on the No. 3 car)
*Fueler – Matt Giese (previously on the No. 6 car)
*Air Jack – Harry Reynolds (previously on the No. 6 car)
DRIVE SMART. BUCKLE UP KENTUCKY 100 POST RACE NOTES:
* Pippa Mann is the winner of the Drive Smart, Buckle Up Kentucky 100. This is her first Firestone Indy Lights win. Her previous best finish was second at Chicagoland last weekend.
* Mann is the second women to win in the Firestone Indy Lights. She joins Ana Beatriz as the only women to win in Firestone Indy Lights.
* James Hinchcliffe finished second, his seventh podium of the 2010 season. He has only finished outside the top-10 once this season.
* J.K. Vernay finished third and now leads James Hinchcliffe by 48 points. By simply starting the next race at Homestead-Miami Speedway, Vernay will clinch the Firestone Indy Lights championship.
* Adrian Campos Jr. finished fourth, matching career best finish. He previously finished fourth at Iowa.
DRIVE SMART. BUCKLE UP KENTUCKY 100 POST RACE QUOTES:
PIPPA MANN (No. 11 Sam Schmidt Motorsports, winner Drive Smart Buckle Up Kentucky 100): “In some ways, it has been a tough year with what happened in Indy and Birmingham. We came fairly close last weekend, but we just missed it in qualifying and in the race. This weekend we started out right and got it in qualifying and took it in the race. I said my game plan was to run away and hide, but realistically I didn’t think it would happen. I am so pleased and my team gave me an awesome car. I was praying that a caution didn’t come out because if a caution didn’t come out we had a really good chance of winning. I was praying that no one got into it behind me.”
JAMES HINCHCLIFFE (No. 2 TMR Xtreme Coil Drilling, finished second): “It was certainly an interesting race. I have never seen a 1.5-mile oval play out like that in Firestone Indy Lights. It just shows how we mix it up because at Chicago we had the third closest finish and this was probably the biggest winning margin in history of 1.5-mile ovals. I am a little bit disappointed that we didn’t get the chance to go up and fight against Pippa (Mann) because we set the car up to be good in traffic. When we were running in clean air we weren’t quite slippery enough. We have to be happy with the points today and look ahead.”
J.K. VERNAY: (No. 7 Lucas/CJ/Sam Schmidt Motorsports, finished third): “I took a good start after I was able to overtake Martin Plowman. If I would have caught him sooner, it would have been a different story. The car was great for me, but at the end we experienced some understeer. Campos was quick at the end and I wanted to keep my place and finish behind James Hinchcliffe to keep the championship. It was a great race and I am really happy. I want to congratulate Pippa (Mann) for doing a great job and Sam Schmidt Motorsports.”
ADRIAN CAMPOS JR. (No. 2 TMR Xtreme Coil Drilling, finished fourth): “The car was tough to drive at the beginning, the first laps, the temperature of the tires or something. When I got the correct temperature on the tires, the car was working really, really good. I went up to the front really fast. The guys of the team gave me a really good car and they did a really good job. I was trying to overtake J.K. He was so very, very strong. He was defending his position on the inside. When two cars are going that close and you are trying to overtake someone with no one in front, it’s really tough. I was trying it with fourth, five and sixth gear. You know trying to try every way to overtake and get to the podium, but it wasn’t so.”
GUSTAVO YACAMAN (No. 10 Cape Motorsports with Wayne Taylor Racing, finished fifth): “We had a really hard week and we struggled to even to get the car over here. Just finishing the race was really good. We have all four pieces on the cars and that’s always good, especially after being taken out last week. I had a huge moment in Turn 2 in the middle. I got sideways big time and I thought the race was over, but I managed to save it. It was good payback to beat (Charlie) Kimball after last week and bring it home with four wheels on the ground, rolling like a baby.”
KENTUCKY INDY 300 POST-RACE NOTES:
* Helio Castroneves wins the Kentucky Indy 300. This is Castroneves’ second win of the 2010 season. He previously won at Barber earlier this season.
* Castroneves’ win moves him to fourth in the overall championship points standings, 30 points ahead of teammate Ryan Briscoe. It is his 24th career Indy car victory (18 IZOD IndyCar wins and 6 CART wins)
* This is Castroneves’ first win at Kentucky Speedway. He has finished in the top-five in eight of his nine starts at the track.
* Ed Carpenter finished second, equaling a career-best finish. Carpenter also finished second at Kentucky last year.
* Dan Wheldon finished third, his second consecutive podium finish of the season.
* Dario Franchitti finished fifth, his seventh consecutive top-five finishes. Franchitti extends his lead in the AJ Foyt Oval Championship over teammate Scott Dixon (228 to 201).
* Danica Patrick finished ninth, extending her record streak of races running at the finish to 31.
* Bertrand Baguette finished 10th, a career best IZOD IndyCar Series finish. His previous best finish was 11th at Mid-Ohio earlier this year.
* Five different teams finished in the top 10.
* Ryan Hunter-Reay’s finish of 21st ends his streak of eight consecutive top-five finishes.
KENTUCKY INDY 300 POST-RACE QUOTES:
HELIO CASTRONEVES (No. 3 Team Penske, Kentucky Indy 300 winner): “Unfortunately we had an issue with our pit stop, but we started to make ground and head to the front. I tried to stay steady. You have to remember it is 200 laps. We were loose in the beginning, but at the end it was meant to be. I remember in 2008 here I ran out of fuel and finished in second. When the team told me to save fuel I was just trying to keep it up and stay in the draft. It was similar to what happened in 2008 and this time it paid off for Team Penske. I am very excited for this win and to be a part of the IZOD IndyCar Series.
ED CARPENTER (No. 20 Panther/Vision/Fuzzy’s Vodka, finished second): “For Dan and I to finish second and third is a little disappointing because we were so strong all weekend. Dan had a dominant car today and it’s tough being in our position when you have a guy win on fuel mileage. I think we are very proud having two Panther cars on the podium. We made a pretty big wing change after we were loose and that slowed us down in the pits. We dropped back a few positions and then worked our way through the field.”
DAN WHELDON (No. 4 National Guard Panther Racing): “The whole Panther racing team has done a phenomenal job to be able to bring the two cars to these last two races. Having Ed (Carpenter) on board is a fantastic addition and we have a great relationship. The race went very well and the #4 boys did a fantastic job in the pits. The ending was unfortunate. I would like to have Ed race with us in Motegi as well. I am bummed that the race didn’t turn out different, but it will motivate us for the last two races. The quality of the Honda was fantastic out there. ”
TONY KANAAN (No. 11Team 7-Eleven, finished fourth-place): “I promised my fans on Twitter I would pass 11 cars on the first lap. It was only 10. I apologize to all of my followers that I couldn’t do it. It was a great race. I worked with Marco (Andretti) and Ryan (Hunter-Reay) so well. It was fun. I hate strategy races. Dan Wheldon deserved to win this one. Racing is never fair, but that’s the way it is.”
DARIO FRANCHITTI (No. 10 Dixie, finished fifth): “From where we were after the first lap to where we finished the night, it was an exciting race. We marched our way from 14th to third, I guess. We were hovering around the front. We were second, running behind Dan (Wheldon), but Helio (Castroneves) had the fuel to go to the end and we did not. We finished ahead of Will (Power) which was one of the things we needed to achieve, but it would have been nice to have finished a little further up. I enjoyed racing with Tony (Kanaan) up front we were working well together. Everybody was fighting for grip and sliding around a little. It was not a bad night.”
MARCO ANDRETTI (#26 Meijer, finished sixth): “The Meijer car wasn’t as strong in traffic as we needed it to be. I wasn’t able to work my magic on the high line and we fell on the wrong side of strategy. It’s still nice to be able to finish inside the top 10, but after running in the top three for most of the night, I was hoping for more out of the finish.”
WILL POWER (No. 12 Verizon Team, finished eighth): “The Verizon car was great out front. I had a little understeer back in traffic. Really, my night was quite good, although after my last stop I think I hit some oil from an earlier incident between Turns 3 and 4. I pushed up straight towards the wall – I was very close to hitting it. Congratulations to Helio and Team Penske for bringing home the victory. We have our work cut out for us for the championship, but we still have the lead and onward we go.”
DANICA PATRICK (No. 7 Team GoDaddy.com, finished ninth): “That was a lot of work for a ninth-place finish. I had a good car all night and was running with the lead pack the entire time. Right before the final pit stop I was in the top six so I thought it would end up playing out that way. My GoDaddy guys did a great job tonight and I really appreciate all their hard work.”
BERTRAND BAGUETTE (No. 34 RACB Conquest Racing, finished 10th): “I think it was a good race for us, starting P6 and running third for a while. It felt good for the team and for me to be in that position. Unfortunately, we lost some positions during a pit stop, which put us at the back of the pack. I was able to gain some positions on the restart but then I got stuck behind Tracy. He was difficult to overtake because he was going on the inside and outside and never doing the same thing. We finally did get by him and in the end score our first top 10. We’ve been continuously improving, which is good, and hopefully we can do even better at the next one.”
PAUL TRACY (No 24 Motegi Wheels/ Dad’s Root Beer/ Dreyer & Reinbold Racing, finished 12th): “It’s been a long time since I did this style of racing. We started in the back, worked our way forward, and the Motegi/Dad’s car was great tonight. I got going and going better and better through the race. We kind of just got separated from the lead pack. We had just a little bit of imbalance in the car and to come home 12th was a pretty good result for the team. We’re happy with that and my first race on a mile and a half in six years. I felt pretty good with how I ran and how the team performed and no complaints.”
ALEX LLOYD (No. 19 Boy Scouts of America, finished 13th): “We had some decent stints and some not so great stints. There was a little contact when (Takuma) Sato spun at that beginning and we clipped the rear a bit. After we pitted at that first caution, we struggled with the car. We made it better and were running reasonably well by the middle of the stint. We were running pretty well towards the middle of the stint, but just lost too many spots in the second half of the race. It was a solid day, but not what we were hoping for. We struggled a bit this weekend.”
ALEX TAGLIANI (No. 77 FAZZT Race Team, finished 15th): “Again I’m very proud of the team I think they did a great job on the car. We had a really good solid car to finish in the top 10 easily especially when we were in traffic I think the car was fast. We seem to be quicker than Dario; definitely in turbulence the car was good really. So we started having some problems with the brakes and every time I came in the pits I really had a hard time to slow down in my box and slow down to get onto the speed limiter so we kept losing a lot of spots. It’s 2 races in a row where the car was good on the oval so I’m please with the set up; it’s just unfortunate that we didn’t have a good clean race. It’s a big learning curve, learning year, it’s the first time for me here in Kentucky and as a team we are learning every race. A year from now when we come back here I think it’s going to be a totally different race. Overall I’m really pleased with the car set up.”
RAPHAEL MATOS (No. 2 HP de Ferran Dragon Racing, finished 16th): “After a disappointing qualifying run yesterday, we were expecting a tough race tonight and it certainly was. The result was clearly not what we hoped for, but at least we salvaged some points. The crew did a great job with pit stops. Unfortunately, we just didn’t have the speed tonight.
HIDEKI MUTOH (No. 06 Formula Dream/Panasonic, finished 17th): “It was a tough race; I struggled at the beginning again and lost many positions. We made a big change overnight. I trust the team on the change but I needed time to adapt to the new balance. It took me a while to get the right balance with the tools inside the car. On the second pit stop we adjusted the front wing and it was a good change. After that I was able to work on the car even more with my tools and I think the balance was pretty good but unfortunately we were one lap down so I let the top guys by. Seventeenth place was not what we were expecting but at least we finished the race and we have data to check to improve on for Motegi. I’m looking forward to racing at home again.”
RYAN HUNTER-REAY (No. 37 Team IZOD, finished 21st): “We had a great day going. We went from 27th to the top five and were just biding our time. I liked the clean air there, working with my teammates. We tucked in line, were just waiting to fight it out at the end and had a problem in the right rear that ended our night. It’s unfortunate. The IZOD guys did a great job all weekend. After we had the incident on Friday, for them to put a car out there that could run back up to the front says a lot about the team and the guys working on the car.”
The next IZOD IndyCar Series race is the Indy Japan 300 on Sept. 19 at Twin Ring Motegi. The race will be telecast live in High Definition at Midnight (ET) by VERSUS on Sept. 19. The race will air live on the IMS Radio Network, XM channel 145 and Sirius channel 212. The race also will be carried on www.indycar.com. The 2010 Firestone Indy Lights season concludes with the Miami 100 on Oct. 2 at Kentucky Speedway.
IZOD IndyCar Series
Kentucky Indy 300
SPARTA, Ky. – Results Saturday of the Kentucky Indy 300 IZOD IndyCar Series event on the 1.48-mile Kentucky Speedway, with order of finish, starting position in parentheses, driver, chassis-engine, laps completed and reason out (if any):
1. (8) Helio Castroneves, Dallara-Honda, 200, Running
2. (1) Ed Carpenter, Dallara-Honda, 200, Running
3. (3) Dan Wheldon, Dallara-Honda, 200, Running
4. (26) Tony Kanaan, Dallara-Honda, 200, Running
5. (11) Dario Franchitti, Dallara-Honda, 200, Running
6. (15) Marco Andretti, Dallara-Honda, 200, Running
7. (4) Scott Dixon, Dallara-Honda, 200, Running
8. (2) Will Power, Dallara-Honda, 200, Running
9. (17) Danica Patrick, Dallara-Honda, 200, Running
10. (6) Bertrand Baguette, Dallara-Honda, 199, Running
11. (16) Justin Wilson, Dallara-Honda, 199, Running
12. (23) Paul Tracy, Dallara-Honda, 199, Running
13. (18) Alex Lloyd, Dallara-Honda, 199, Running
14. (10) Tomas Scheckter, Dallara-Honda, 199, Running
15. (13) Alex Tagliani, Dallara-Honda, 199, Running
16. (20) Raphael Matos, Dallara-Honda, 199, Running
17. (5) Hideki Mutoh, Dallara-Honda, 199, Running
18. (7) Mario Moraes, Dallara-Honda, 198, Running
19. (24) Milka Duno, Dallara-Honda, 195, Running
20. (25) Graham Rahal, Dallara-Honda, 195, Running
21. (27) Ryan Hunter-Reay, Dallara-Honda, 174, Mechanical
22. (21) Sarah Fisher, Dallara-Honda, 134, Mechanical 23. (12) Vitor Meira, Dallara-Honda, 79, Contact 24. (9) Ryan Briscoe, Dallara-Honda, 79, Contact 25. (19) Simona de Silvestro, Dallara-Honda, 78, Contact 26. (22) E.J. Viso, Dallara-Honda, 45, Mechanical 27. (14) Takuma Sato, Dallara-Honda, 0, Contact
Winner’s average speed: 174.402
Time of Race: 01:41:50.0059
Margin of victory: 13.1597 seconds
Cautions: 2 for 23 laps
Lead changes: 11 among 7 races
Lap Leaders: Carpenter 1-10, Wheldon 11-53, Power 54-55, Briscoe 56, Tracy 57-60, Power 61 – 141, Wheldon 142-143, Dixon 144, Castroneves 145-147, Wheldon 148 – 195, Carpenter 196, Castroneves 197-200.
Point Standings: Power 552, Franchitti 535, Dixon 469, Castroneves 448, Briscoe 418, Hunter-Reay 404, Kanaan 392, Andretti 347, Wheldon 346, Wilson 335.