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
Mike Conway poses for pictures with the team from Ed Carpenter Racing after victory in the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Mike Conway (centre), driver of the #20 Fuzzy’s Ultra Premium Vodka / Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet IndyCar V6, celebrates his victory with champagne Sunday, April 13, 2014 after winning the IndyCar Grand Prix of Long Beach in Long Beach, California. Will Power (right), driver of the #12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet IndyCar V6, finished second. (Photo Credit: Phillip Abbott/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Mike Conway, driver of the #20 Fuzzy’s Ultra Premium Vodka / Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet IndyCar V6, celebrates his victory Sunday, April 13, 2014 during the IndyCar Grand Prix of Long Beach in Long Beach, California. With the victory, Conway moves into second place in the driver point standings. (Photo Credit: Phillip Abbott/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Mike Conway, driver of the #20 Fuzzy’s Ultra Premium Vodka / Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet IndyCar V6, celebrates his victory Sunday, April 13, 2014 during the IndyCar Grand Prix of Long Beach in Long Beach, California. With the victory, Conway moves into second place in the driver point standings. (Photo Credit: Phillip Abbott/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Mike Conway, driver of the #20 Fuzzy’s Ultra Premium Vodka / Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet IndyCar V6, raises his arm as he crosses the finish line Sunday, April 13, 2014 to win the IndyCar Grand Prix of Long Beach in Long Beach, California. With the victory, Conway moves into second place in the driver point standings. (Photo Credit: Phillip Abbott/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Will Power, driver of the #12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet IndyCar V6, races to victory Sunday, March 30, 2014 during the Grand Prix of St. Petersburg in St. Petersburg, Florida. Helio Castroneves, driver of the #3 Hitachi Team Penske Chevrolet IndyCar V6 finished third. (Photo by LAT/ Russell LaBounty for Chevy Racing)
Will Power, driver of the #12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet IndyCar V6, races to victory Sunday, March 30, 2014 during the Grand Prix of St. Petersburg in St. Petersburg, Florida. Helio Castroneves, driver of the #3 Hitachi Team Penske Chevrolet IndyCar V6 finished third. (Photo by LAT/ Russell LaBounty for Chevy Racing)
Will Power, driver of the #12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet IndyCar V6, celebrates his victory Sunday, March 30, 2014 during the Grand Prix of St. Petersburg in St. Petersburg, Florida. Helio Castroneves, driver of the #3 Hitachi Team Penske Chevrolet IndyCar V6 finished third. (Photo by LAT/ Russell LaBounty for Chevy Racing)
Will Power, driver of the #12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet IndyCar V6, celebrates his victory Sunday, March 30, 2014 during the Grand Prix of St. Petersburg in St. Petersburg, Florida. Helio Castroneves, driver of the #3 Hitachi Team Penske Chevrolet IndyCar V6 finished third. (Photo by LAT/ Michael L. Levitt for Chevy Racing)
Start of the race. (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Start of the race. (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Fans watch the racing (Photo by: Chris Owens for IndyCar Media)
Chevrolet Racing introduces the 2014 Chevrolet Camaro Z/28 Indianapolis 500 pace car Tuesday, March 25, 2014. Three-time Indianapolis 500 winner Dario Franchitti will drive the Camaro Z/28 to pace the 98th running of the race on May 25. It’s the eighth time a Camaro has been the pace car, starting in 1967 – and the 25th time a Chevrolet has paced the race. The 2014 Camaro Z/28 is the most track-capable model in its history, building on the legacy of the original SCCA Trans Am-series contender introduced in 1967. (Photo Courtesy of IMS Photography for Chevy Racing)
Chevrolet Racing introduces the 2014 Chevrolet Camaro Z/28 Indianapolis 500 pace car Tuesday, March 25, 2014. Three-time Indianapolis 500 winner Dario Franchitti will drive the Camaro Z/28 to pace the 98th running of the race on May 25. It’s the eighth time a Camaro has been the pace car, starting in 1967 – and the 25th time a Chevrolet has paced the race. The 2014 Camaro Z/28 is the most track-capable model in its history, building on the legacy of the original SCCA Trans Am-series contender introduced in 1967. (Photo Courtesy of IMS Photography for Chevy Racing)
Chevrolet Racing announces Tuesday, March 25, 2014 that three-time Indianapolis 500 winner Dario Franchitti will drive a 2014 Chevrolet Camaro Z/28 to pace the 98th running of the Indianapolis 500 on May 25. It’s the eighth time a Camaro has been the pace car, starting in 1967 – and the 25th time a Chevrolet has paced the race. The 2014 Camaro Z/28 is the most track-capable model in its history, building on the legacy of the original SCCA Trans Am-series contender introduced in 1967. (Photo Courtesy of IMS Photography 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 - 2014 Crash Media Group

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