Race: Rainguard Water Sealers 600
Date: June 10, 2017
No. 1 DXC Technology Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet – Simon Pagenaud
Laps Completed: 248/248
Laps Led: 0
Points Position: 2nd (-13)
Recap: Simon Pagenaud fought a hard race during the Verizon INDYCAR Series’ Rainguard Water Sealers 600 at Texas Motor Speedway and ultimately finished third in a wild race. After starting 12th, Pagenaud had a great run on the rest of the field and moved up to seventh by Lap 29. Just past the 50-lap mark, the French-born driver moved into the top five and got to as high as second shortly after. The No. 1 DXC Technology Chevrolet did visit the pits on Lap 139 when they noticed blisters forming on the tires from excessive heat. In the closing stages of the race, Pagenaud’s team started making wing adjustments to find more speed. Pagenaud visited the pits for one final stop on Lap 226 for tires, fuel and more front and rear wing adjustments. Once the race restarted, Pagenaud ran in the fourth position for several more laps before taking over the third spot on Lap 243 when the final caution flag of the race waved which effectively ended the race. The defending series champion has moved up to second in the standings and is just 13 points behind Scott Dixon in the lead.
Quote: “Yeah, well, it was very much pack racing, so we were trying to get away from the pack, which we did for quite a while. It was a way also to save some fuel and stay behind (Will Power). I was trying to protect him so that we could just go as fast as we could and it worked out really well. At the end there, I was hoping we were going to go a little longer because I had a really good car. It was a lot of fun. It got a little crazy at the end. I tell you, it is just incredible how close we can race against each other. Good fun, good night for the DXC Technology Chevy, awesome working with Will. That is Team Penske, we all work together, you guys don’t believe us, but we do and we showed it tonight.”
No. 2 Hum by Verizon Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet – Josef Newgarden
Laps Completed: 201/248
Laps Led: 6
Points Position: 7th (-49)
Recap: It was a tough day for Josef Newgarden after beginning the Verizon IndyCar Series’ Rainguard Water Sealers 600 at Texas Motor Speedway with a strong car. Ultimately, Newgarden succumbed to a late-race incident which led to a 13th place finish for the No. 2 Hum by Verizon Chevrolet. In the early stages of the Saturday night race, Newgarden had a great run on the competition and moved up to second by Lap 29. On Lap 29, he made his first visit to the pits but a pit road speeding penalty sent the 26-year-old to the back of the field. The team began noticing blisters on the tire which took some of the air out of Newgarden’s sails. He worked his way back to the edge of the top 10 at the time of the Lap 152 red flag to clean the track from a multi-car crash. After the field went back to green, Newgarden’s fast car saw him running third on Lap 169. On Lap 189, Newgarden returned to the pits under caution not thinking that there would be a yellow flag, for fuel and tires. INDYCAR required the No. 2 Hum by Verizon Chevrolet to return to the pits for pitting just as the track went under the competition caution. After going back to green and with just 50 laps to go, Newgarden moved back up through the field and was ran sixth. After working into the fourth spot, Newgarden attempted to see if a third lane was working in but found some oil dry on the track and was sent spinning into the wall. The result was a disappointing finish in 13th. Newgarden ranks seventh in points – 49 in back of the top spot.
Quote: “It was definitely a bad decision. There may have been some oil dry up there, but going to the third lane was not a right idea. I was just trying to get some space with Dixon; I didn’t know exactly where he was going to go. I probably could have backed out of it sooner and realized it’s not going to be good up there. It’s just my fault, I feel bad for the guys on the No. 2 Hum by Verizon Chevy team. We’ve had fast cars and it’s always a shame when you make a mistake for your guys. I put that on me, just trying to race hard, and the third lane wasn’t there, so we didn’t have it tonight.”
No. 3 AAA Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet – Helio Castroneves
Laps Completed: 90/248
Laps Led: 0
Points Position: 4th (-21)
Recap: Unfortunately for Helio Castroneves, his Saturday evening at Texas Motor Speedway was short, but it was packed with action. Castroneves started the Rainguard Water Sealers 600 from the 10th position and lost a few positions in the early going. A Lap 37 caution started the first round of pit stops. James Hinchcliffe and Castroneves tangled on pit road resulting in a Hinchcliffe penalty for avoidable contact and multiple stops for the No. 3 AAA Chevrolet team to repair front wing damage and new tires. The extra time on pit road dropped Castroneves to the 16th position, but that quickly changed. Just over 20 laps later the Brazilian was up to the sixth position just before feeling a vibration. The team was about to bring him down pit road, but the right front blew heading into Turn 2 sending Castroneves into the wall. The race-ending crash relegated the 20-year Verizon IndyCar Series to a 20th-place finish which snapped a string of 11 consecutive top-10 finishes. The disappointing result dropped Castroneves from second to fourth in the championship standings – 21 points off the leader’s pace.
Quote: “I felt the vibration and called it in to the team, but we couldn’t get back to pit road. The right front went and it was straight into the wall. It was a pretty solid hit. The most disappointing thing about it is that the AAA Chevy was absolutely awesome tonight. After the pit road deal I was able to work my way through traffic. We were about to get into the top five when the tire went. There’s nothing anyone can do about it, but it drives me crazy because we had such a great car.”
No. 12 Verizon Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet – Will Power
Finish: 1st (31st Verizon IndyCar Series victory)
Laps Completed: 248/248
Laps Led: 180
Points Position: 5th (-40)
Recap: Will Power and the Verizon Chevrolet team dominated the Rainguard Water Sealers 600 on Saturday night at Texas Motor Speedway, but it wasn’t without its drama. Power led a race-high 180 laps en route to his 31st Verizon IndyCar Series career victory and the second of the 2017 season after winning the INDYCAR Grand Prix in Indianapolis in early May. The win moved Power into a tie for ninth on the series’ all-time wins list with Dario Franchitti and Paul Tracy. It was also his second win in Texas having also triumphed in 2011. Power began the evening from the ninth position and took the lead for the first time on Lap 47 after teammate Josef Newgarden was penalized for a pit road speeding infraction. The Aussie spent the next 100 laps battling at the front with Tristan Vautier, Tony Kanaan and Max Chilton. However, it was the side-by-side battle with Scott Dixon that was the highlight of the evening. The two exchanged the lead 10 times over the final 100 laps of the race. A multi-car crash on Lap 151 brought out a red flag that set the stage for a heated battle between Power and Dixon. When the race went green for the final time on Lap 229 the two past season champions put on an exhilarating display of car control at speeds of over 200 mph. Takuma Sato joined the fray in the closing laps but made contact with Dixon to bring out the final yellow flag of the night on Lap 244. Power was able to avoid the contact and took the checkered flag under caution. With the win, Power moved up to fifth in the point standings and is 40 markers behind the leader.
Quote: “In the beginning it was a matter of getting to the front. We talked about that in our pre-race strategy meeting, that track position is going to be everything because I know whoever would have the lead and the bottom of the track would be very difficult to pass. The Verizon Chevy team gave me phenomenal stops all night. Obviously that was the key, to keep getting out first. But a really good restart on Dixon that one lap, that one restart where he got out ahead of me. It was a pretty intense battle there at the end with Scott (Dixon). I was kind of working out in my head how I was going to get him over the line because he was kind of able to side draft me and be ahead on some laps, so it was really going to be an interesting finish. I’m just over the moon. Over the moon to win here – my second home. My wife is from here, so we spend a lot of time down here, so it’s just an amazing feeling.”
TIL NEXT TIME, I AM STILL WORKING ON MY REDNECK!