Track: Raceway at Belle Isle
Race: Chevrolet Dual in Detroit presented by Quicken Loans (Race 2)
Date: June 5, 2016
No. 2 Verizon Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet – Juan Pablo Montoya
Laps Completed: 33/70
Laps Led: 0
Points Position: 9th (-124)
Recap: Juan Pablo Montoya encountered trouble when his car spun and crashed midway through the second Chevrolet Dual in Detroit race, leaving him with a 20th-place finish that dropped him to ninth in the championship standings. Montoya started 10th and started a march to the front in his Verizon Chevrolet. Montoya was approaching the top five and passed teammate and eventual race winner Will Power in the early stages of the race. However, contact with Scott Dixon led to a front wing change for the Columbian and was left to play catch up. In the end while trying to make his way back to the front, Montoya crashed on Lap 33 to end his day. The subpar result came on the heels of a third-place effort in Saturday’s first race in the Motor City.
Quote: “The car was pretty good. We moved up decent early in the race. We were even fast on the reds there. I had some contact with Dixon and it knocked the front wing off so we lost a lot of time coming in to fix that. I just was pushing trying to make up time.”
No. 3 Hitachi Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet – Helio Castroneves
Laps Completed: 70/70
Laps Led: 10
Points Position: 3rd (-86 points)
Recap: Helio Castroneves caught some bad luck when an unexpected yellow flag put him in a bad position while leading the race. Castroneves’ Hitachi Chevrolet was looking strong in the lead when his crew chose to keep him out on the track as other contenders pitted under green on Lap 49 of the 70-lap race. However, on the next lap, Jack Hawksworth’s car stalled on the track, bringing out a yellow flag. The ensuing pit stop under caution dropped Castroneves back to 15th place, and he was never able to catch Team Penske teammates Will Power and Simon Pagenaud, who went on the finish first and second, respectively. Castroneves started third and raced among the leaders through most of the race. The finish dropped Castroneves from second to third in the championship standings at the season’s halfway point. On Saturday, his fifth-place finish had moved him to second, 59 points behind Pagenaud. But Sunday’s race dropped Castroneves behind Scott Dixon into third place, 86 points off the lead.
Quote: “The Hitachi car was awesome once again. We made a move in the middle of the race to pass Simon. Everything was going really smooth. We had a nice lead. Unfortunately, we got caught by a yellow. We were coming in on that lap and the yellow came out and sent us to 13th place. Nothing you can do. Congrats to Will (Power) and Simon (Pagenaud) for finishing one-two here in Roger’s backyard. The good news is that we have Texas next week and we will get that one.”
No. 12 Verizon Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet – Will Power
Finish: 1st (26th-career Verizon IndyCar Series victory)
Laps Completed: 70/70
Laps Led: 10
Points Position: 7th (-117)
Recap: Will Power put himself back on track in an admittedly disappointing season Sunday by posting his first victory of the 2016 Verizon IndyCar Series season as Team Penske completed a 1-2 sweep of the second race of the Chevrolet Dual in Detroit. Power’s No. 12 Verizon Chevrolet finished 0.9203 seconds ahead of teammate Simon Pagenaud.
The victory was the 26th of Power’s IndyCar career. His last victory was at the Indianapolis Grand Prix in May 2015. Power started eighth in Sunday’s race after having the fastest lap in the morning qualifying session disqualified due to a penalty for interference. Before the race reached the halfway mark, Power had worked his way into the top five. With just over 20 laps to go Power hit pit road for his final stop of the day and his crew delivered with an outstanding stop. The caution flag waved on the next lap setting in motion a course of events that would lead to the victory. On the subsequent restart Power made a Lap 53 pass on Pagenaud that left just four cars, which all had to make one more stop, between Power and the race lead. The Aussie driver assumed the lead on Lap 61 when Alexander Rossi headed down pit road. Power led the rest of the way to notch his first win of the 2016 season. The victory was a reprieve for Power, who encountered mechanical issues in Saturday’s first race on Belle Isle and has struggled throughout the 2016 season after missing the season opener in St. Petersburg, Fla., because of illness. His best previous finish this year was a third-place effort in April at Phoenix International Raceway. Power won the IndyCar championship in 2014 and finished third last year. Sunday’s win vaulted him to seventh in the championship standings.
Quote: “The guys did a great job in the pits, got me out in front of the 28, then obviously on the restart, I thought, ‘I’ve really got to capitalize here, otherwise, we’re not going to win.’ It wasn’t a big risk because it was on the outside. Had I tried to go on the inside, it would have been a much bigger risk. I wasn’t willing to take that with Simon because he’s the championship leader. So, if I was going to do it, I had to do it on the outside and cleanly. There was a space and I went for it. But I’ve got to thank Verizon, thank the fans. I mean Verizon, man, it’s been a long time since the No. 12 Verizon Chevy has been in victory lane so I’m very happy for the whole Verizon crew. It just gives the whole crew some confidence. I think we’ve all kind of been stumbling a little bit, the whole group of us. It’s been a tough start to the year. I missed the first race and just had a few mishaps, you know, and now we’re there.”
No. 22 Hewlett Packard Enterprise Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet – Simon Pagenaud
Laps Completed: 70/70
Laps Led: 40
Points Position: 1st (+80)
Recap: Simon Pagenaud continued his dominating performance during the 2016 Verizon IndyCar Series season with a runner-up finish behind teammate Will Power that padded Pagenaud’s lead in the drivers’ championship to 80 tallies over Scott Dixon. Pagenaud started from the pole position for the second straight race and the fourth time in his last five starts behind the wheel of his Hewlett Packard Enterprise Chevy. Pagenaud held the lead through the first round of green-flag pit stops and held the lead for the race’s first 40 circuits before teammate Helio Castroneves was able to work past him for the lead. The second and final stop of the day came on Lap 49 for Pagenaud just prior to a caution on the next lap. The fortuitous turn of events put Pagenaud in a position to collect his fourth win of the season, but on the Lap 53 restart race winner Will Power capitalized on Pagenaud being a little slower on cold tires which proved to be the race-deciding moment. However, Pagenaud expanded his points lead by 21 points. He has won three of the first eight races and has finished on the podium six times. In Saturday’s first race of the Chevrolet Dual in Detroit, Pagenaud also started from the pole and finished 13th after a fuel-saving strategy didn’t work.
Quote: “I tell you (Will Power) made a great pass and he was very aggressive on the restart. I didn’t feel comfortable on cold tires – a really good car on long runs but I struggled on cold tires. He saw it and took his chance and that’s how you win races. At that point you’ve got to be smart and think about the big picture. Congratulations to him. There was no point in colliding and trying too hard. I tried at the end – we had some push-to-pass left. The HP car was really competitive all day but I’ll take second I think it’s a really good points day for us. Very happy for Roger (Penske) with a 1-2 finish – they put so much effort into making this event possible, so thanks to the Penske organization and I’m really happy for the whole team.”