IndyCar »

Castroneves makes it seven from seven.

Sadly, on lap 14 Da Matta's fine run came to an end when his Toyota engine cried enough. The young Brazilian pulled forlornly into the pit-lane and climbed out of his machine to record another retirement and further watch his feint championship hopes disappear.

Cristiano's demise left Fittipaldi in fifth place although he was coming under increasing pressure from Papis, Moreno, Oriol Servia, Patrick Carpentier and Adrian Fernandez who completed the top ten. Andretti was still running in eleventh, a little way ahead of the still scrapping Vasser and Tracy who were now disputing the final points scoring position.

It had now become obvious to all and sundry that Franchitti was not happy with his car, Montoya's lead had suddenly grown to over four seconds and Castroneves was making an even more determined effort to pass the Scot. Indeed Franchitti told his team that his rear tyres were shot which allowed Castroneves to tuck in under the exhaust of the Team KOOL Green Reynard.

Franchitti wasn't the only driver who was unhappy with his car for Montoya had also radioed to his crew that there was something amiss with the balance of his car. Montoya's lack of balance, combined with traffic meant that as the leaders approached the 25 lap mark, the Colombian's lead had shrunk to a fraction over two seconds.

That gap was increased dramatically on the next lap when Franchitti made for the pit-lane for fuel and tyres. The Scotsman rejoined the track in ninth place behind the impressive Servia.

A lap later Montoya and Castroneves both pitted and although the Ganassi crew did enough to keep Montoya in the lead, Castroneves' stop was superb and the Penske driver came back onto the track ahead of Franchitti and closer to Montoya than he had been all afternoon.

Behind the lead trio, De Ferran had maintained his fourth position ahead of Fittipaldi, Papis, Moreno and Servia . Tracy had managed to find a way past Vasser and was now tenth while Andretti's day had gone from bad to worse when he was called back into the pits after breaking the pit-lane speed limit.

On lap 31 Fernandez, having an unspectacular run just outside the top twelve, spun at Turn 8 and stalled his Reynard-Ford. His machine needed to be cleared off the track which meant that the pace car was deployed for the first time.

The caution stayed out for a further three laps while the Mexican driver's machine was removed. As the green flag fell, Mark Blundell lost control of his Reynard-Mercedes and made light contact with the tyres. The Englishman kept the engine running and was able to rejoin the race after a slight delay, by which time the rest of the field had roared into the distance.

Montoya made a copybook getaway but so did Castroneves and during the next few laps, traditionally Montoya's strongest point in the race, Castroneves was able to peg the Colombian back. By lap 40 the gap between the top two was just 1.5 seconds and Castroneves looked comfortable in running at the same pace as Montoya. Behind them Franchitti had kept the pressure on Castroneves for several laps before he began to drop away, once again complaining of a poorly handling car.



Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Castroneves celebrates
Montoya leads Castroneves on Belle Isle
Max Papis - Team Rahal
Chevrolet announces Wednesday, April 29, 2015 that five-time Brickyard 400 winner and four-time NASCAR Sprint Cup champion Jeff Gordon will drive a Corvette Z06 pace car for the 99th running of the Indianapolis 500 mile race, on May 24 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. It is the 13th time a Corvette has served as the official pace car, dating to 1978, and the 26th time a Chevrolet has led the pack for “The Greatest Spectacle in Racing.”  (Photo by IMS for Chevy Racing)
Chevrolet announces Wednesday, April 29, 2015 that five-time Brickyard 400 winner and four-time NASCAR Sprint Cup champion Jeff Gordon will drive a Corvette Z06 pace car for the 99th running of the Indianapolis 500 mile race, on May 24 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. It is the 13th time a Corvette has served as the official pace car, dating to 1978, and the 26th time a Chevrolet has led the pack for “The Greatest Spectacle in Racing.”  (Photo by IMS for Chevy Racing)
Chevrolet announces Wednesday, April 29, 2015 that five-time Brickyard 400 winner and four-time NASCAR Sprint Cup champion Jeff Gordon will drive a Corvette Z06 pace car for the 99th running of the Indianapolis 500 mile race, on May 24 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. It is the 13th time a Corvette has served as the official pace car, dating to 1978, and the 26th time a Chevrolet has led the pack for “The Greatest Spectacle in Racing.”  (Photo by IMS for Chevy Racing)
Chevrolet announces Wednesday, April 29, 2015 that five-time Brickyard 400 winner and four-time NASCAR Sprint Cup champion Jeff Gordon will drive a Corvette Z06 pace car for the 99th running of the Indianapolis 500 mile race, on May 24 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. It is the 13th time a Corvette has served as the official pace car, dating to 1978, and the 26th time a Chevrolet has led the pack for “The Greatest Spectacle in Racing.”  (Photo by IMS for Chevy Racing)
Scott Dixon, driver of the #9 Coke Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet IndyCar V6, races to a third place finish Sunday, April 25, 2015 during the Verizon IndyCar Series Grand Prix of Alabama at Barber Motorsports Park in Birmingham, Alabama. (Photo by Phillip Abbott/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Josef Newgarden, driver of the #67 Hartman Oil CFH Racing Chevrolet V6 IndyCar, celebrates his victory Sunday, April 25, 2015 after winning the Verizon IndyCar Series Grand Prix of Alabama at Barber Motorsports Park in Birmingham, Alabama. This is Newgarden`s first victory in the IndyCar series. (Photo by Gregg Ellman/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Josef Newgarden, driver of the #67 Hartman Oil CFH Racing Chevrolet V6 IndyCar, celebrates his victory Sunday, April 25, 2015 after winning the Verizon IndyCar Series Grand Prix of Alabama at Barber Motorsports Park in Birmingham, Alabama. This is Newgarden`s first victory in the IndyCar series. (Photo by Michael L. Levitt/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Josef Newgarden, driver of the #67 Hartman Oil CFH Racing Chevrolet V6 IndyCar, races to victory Sunday, April 25, 2015 winning the Verizon IndyCar Series Grand Prix of Alabama at Barber Motorsports Park in Birmingham, Alabama. This is Newgarden`s first victory in the IndyCar series. (Photo by Phillip Abbott/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Helio Castroneves, driver of the #3 AAA.com Team Penske Chevrolet V-6 IndyCar, races fastest to win the pole during qualifying Saturday, April 24, 2015 for Sunday`s Verizon IndyCar Series Grand Prix of Alabama at Barber Motorsports Park in Birmingham, Alabama. (Photo by Phillip Abbott/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Helio Castroneves, driver of the #3 AAA.com Team Penske Chevrolet V-6 IndyCar, celebrates winning the pole during qualifying Saturday, April 24, 2015 for Sunday`s Verizon IndyCar Series Grand Prix of Alabama at Barber Motorsports Park in Birmingham, Alabama. (Photo by Gregg Ellman/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Will Power, driver of the #1 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet V-6 IndyCar, finishes second fastest during qualifying Saturday, April 24, 2015 for Sunday`s Verizon IndyCar Series Grand Prix of Alabama at Barber Motorsports Park in Birmingham, Alabama. Power will start in the front row next to teammate Helio Castroneves who won the pole position. (Photo by Phillip Abbott/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Simon Pagenaud, driver of the #22 Penske Truck Rental Team Penske Chevrolet IndyCar V6, finishes third fastest during qualifying Saturday, April 24, 2015 for Sunday`s Verizon IndyCar Series Grand Prix of Alabama at Barber Motorsports Park in Birmingham, Alabama. Pagenaud and Team Penske teammates Helio Castroneves and Will Power had the fastest qualifying times. Castrovenes won the pole position. (Photo by Phillip Abbott/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Rodolfo Gonzalez in the Dale Coyne Racing paddock at Barber Motorsports Park on Saturday April 25 2015. (Photo by: Shawn Gritzmacher for IndyCar Media)
Scott Dixon, driver of the #9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet IndyCar V-6, celebrates his victory Sunday, April 19, 2015 after winning the Verizon IndyCar Series Grand Prix of Long Beach in the streets of Long Beach, California. (Photo by Russell LaBounty/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Chevrolet sweeps the podium as Juan Pablo Montoya (l to r), driver of the #2 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet V-6 IndyCar; Scott Dixon, driver of the #9 Target Verizon Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet V-6 and Helio Castroneves, driver of the #3 Automobile Club of Southern California Team Penske Chevrolet V-6, celebrate Saturday, April 18, 2015 after finishing third, first and second in the Verizon IndyCar Series Grand Prix of Long Beach through the streets of Long Beach, California. (Photo by Russell LaBounty/LAT for Chevy Racing)

Start the conversation - Add your comment

Please login or register before adding your comments.

Although the administrators and moderators of this website will attempt to keep all objectionable comments off these pages, it is impossible for us to review all messages. All messages express the views of the poster, and neither Crash Media Group nor Crash.Net will be held responsible for the content of any message. We do not vouch for or warrant the accuracy, completeness or usefulness of any message, and are not responsible for the contents of any message. If you find a message objectionable, please contact us and inform us of the problem or use the [report] function next to the offending post. Any message that does not conform with the policy of this service can be edited or removed with immediate effect.




© 1999 - 2015 Crash Media Group

The total or partial reproduction of text, photographs or illustrations is not permitted in any form.