Helio Castroneves Breaks Iowa Speedway Winless Streak for Team Penske

Helio Castroneves Breaks Iowa Speedway Winless Streak for Team Penske

Iowa Speedway to host final race weekend of 2017 July 28-29

NEWTON, Iowa (July 9, 2017) – Will Power gave Team Penske its third consecutive pole at Iowa Speedway during qualifying but it was Helio Castroneves who made team history by winning the 11th running of the Verizon IndyCar Series Iowa Corn 300. Castroneves’ visit to Casey’s General Store’s Victory Lane gave Team Penske its 192nd INDYCAR win – most all time – and its first at Iowa Speedway.

“We’ve been close (to winning) so many times, and finally luck was on our side,” Castroneves said. “We’ve been working so hard together, but the Hitachi Chevy was on rails. We had a little bit of an issue in the beginning, but after we set up the car it was great. What a great finish. It’s just like the first time.”

Castroneves ended a three-year victory drought today, winning the Verizon IndyCar Series Iowa Corn 300 at Iowa Speedway to secure the 30th win of his 20-year Indy car career.

Castroneves led 217 of the 300 laps at The Fastest Short Track on the Planet and crossed the finish line 3.9647 seconds ahead of JR Hildebrand. The triumph is Castroneves’ first in the Verizon IndyCar Series in 54 races, since he won the first race of the Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix on June 1, 2014.

It also helped the 42-year-old Brazilian unofficially close within eight points of Scott Dixon for the championship lead after 11 of 17 races. Castroneves has never won a season championship.

“It’s great momentum to carry on for the championship, and this is exactly what we need,” said Castroneves. “Now we’re going to Toronto to another place that we run really well in the past, and I am really looking forward to that one.”

Hildebrand, in the No. 21 Fuzzy’s Vodka Chevrolet for Ed Carpenter Racing, equaled his career-best finish first accomplished at the Indianapolis 500 in 2011. Ryan Hunter-Reay, a three-time winner at Iowa Speedway, finished third.

By leading the 217 laps, Castroneves passed Al Unser for fourth on the career laps-led chart with 5,947. With 30 wins, Castroneves broke a tie with Rick Mears for 12th place on the all-time list.

Sunday Iowa Speedway Notebook

Notebook Items:

  • • Mazda Road to Indy
  • Leist continues winning ways for Carlin at Iowa Speedway
  • American Oliver Askew Dominates in Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda Iowa 60
  • • Up Next

MAZDA ROAD TO INDY

Two of the three steps on the Mazda Road to Indy open-wheel development ladder – Indy Lights presented by Cooper Tires and the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda – converged this weekend on Iowa Speedway in support of the Verizon IndyCar Series. Both feeder categories are now beyond the halfway mark in their seasons as drivers vie for prestigious and financially crucial Mazda Scholarships to assist in their progression toward America’s premier open-wheel series … the Verizon IndyCar Series.

LEIST CONTINUES WINNING WAYS FOR CARLIN AT IOWA SPEEDWAY

Rookie Matheus Leist blew the field away on a Lap 26 restart to pick up a dominant win in Sunday’s Indy Lights Mazda Iowa 100. He had checked out by so much, in fact, that when hard-charging Santi Urrutia crossed the finish line in second place, it was the Uruguayan who wound up doing celebratory “donuts,” mistakenly thinking he won.

“You know, I just saw the guys running there and I saw that I was quick,” said Urrutia. “When I passed [Dalton Kellett], because I never saw Leist on the front, so, OK, I’m leading the race, so I slow down a little bit just to save the [tires] and everything. So, when I finished the race I came to the front straight and did donuts and everything and my engineer came on the radio and said, ‘What are you doing?’ I’m celebrating the race, we won. ‘No, you didn’t win, we finished second.’

“We’re struggling a lot and everything, as a team, but we’re working, and finish second today is good points. The high line was super good.”

Pole-sitter and Sukup “First in the Field” award winner, Colton Herta, led for the first segment of the race until Garth Rickards’ Turn 2 spin brought out the race’s only caution on Lap 22. On the restart, Leist passed second-place Kyle Kaiser on the inside and then chased Herta for the lead into Turn 3, completing the pass at the start-finish line. The Brazilian jumped out to a more than six-second lead on the way to his first trip to Casey’s General Store’s Victory Lane and his third win in the past four races.

“The car was just perfect today,” said Leist. “The Carlin boys won the race here the past two years, and yeah, the car was just perfect and [I] managed to use the high line and it worked very well.”

This is the third consecutive win for Carlin, who won at The Fastest Short Track on the Planet in 2015 with Max Chilton and Felix Serralles last year.

AMERICAN OLIVER ASKEW DOMINATES IN COOPER TIRES USF2000 CHAMPIONSHIP POWERED BY MAZDA IOWA 60

Oliver Askew, the Sukup “First in the Field” award winner, converted his pole position into a flag-to-flag drive to victory in the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship powered by Mazda Iowa 60. Askew proved that lack of familiarity with left-turn-only courses was no hindrance, and won the series’ only oval race to score his sixth victory of the season in just eight races.

However, title rival Rinus VeeKay minimized damage to his championship aspirations by taking second.

Askew made a perfect start to hold off Pabst Racing’s Calvin Ming, who fell over a second behind within the first couple of laps and soon had teammate VeeKay on his gearbox.

In the end, Askew won by 3.8sec ahead of VeeKay and Ming who just held on ahead of Alexandre Baron and Robert Megennis. Askew now holds a 32-point advantage in the championship over VeeKay.

UP NEXT

Later this month, Iowa Speedway will host the final weekend of a phenomenal year of racing. The NASCAR K&N Pro Series and the NASCAR XFINITY Series will close the 2017 race season on July 28-29.

On Friday, July 28, Harrison Burton will put his NASCAR K&N Pro Series East championship lead on the line against the rising stars of both the K&N Pro Series East and West in the same race. Iowa Speedway represents the biggest stage for NASCAR K&N Pro Series teams and has hosted 14 previous combination races.

The 16-year-old son of former Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series driver and current NBC Sports analyst Jeff Burton, and member of the 2017-2018 NASCAR Next class, scored his fourth NASCAR K&N Pro Series East victory last night at Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park.

Burton will face stiff competition from drivers like reigning NASCAR K&N Pro Series West champion Todd Gilliland, Hunter Baize and Spencer Davis when the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East/West Series drivers take to Iowa Speedway’s 12-to-14-degree progressive banking, in the return of the NASCAR K&N Pro Series Casey’s General Store 150 presented by Vatterott College.

Later that night, Grand Funk Railroad – “The American Band” – will close out the NAPA Auto Parts Concert Series in style following the NASCAR K&N Pro Series Casey’s General Store 150 presented by Vatterott College. The high-energy five-piece group will hit the Pork Party Pavilion, overlooking Turn 4, as soon as the Casey’s General Store’s Victory Lane celebration ends.

On Saturday, July 29, The Fastest Short Track on the Planet will welcome back the NASCAR XFINITY Series, as 2012 winner at Iowa Speedway and championship points leader, Elliott Sadler, William Byron – the winner of the NASCAR XFINITY Series American Ethanol E15 250 presented by Enogen in June – and a host of other rising stars return to Newton, Iowa for the U. S. Cellular 250 presented by American Ethanol.

About Iowa Speedway

Iowa Speedway, The Fastest Short Track on the Planet, is a state-of-the-art 7/8-mile asphalt paved tri-oval race track and motorsports facility located in Newton, Iowa. Our remaining 2017 schedule includes two exciting race weekends: July 8-9 (ARCA Racing Series Fans With Benefits 150 and Verizon IndyCar Series Iowa Corn 300) and July 28-29 (NASCAR K&N Pro Series Casey’s General Store 150 presented by Vatterott College and NASCAR XFINITY Series U.S. Cellular 250 presented by American Ethanol). For tickets, call 1.866.787.8946. To learn more, visit www.IowaSpeedway.com, “like” us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter and Instagram.