Sunday, June 9, 2013

Spiderman's back! Helio Castroneves wins IZOD IndyCar Firestone 550 at Texas Motor Speedway

Credit: Debbie Ross/Skirts and Scuffs
On Friday, Helio Castroneves was not happy when Penske racing teammate Will Power won the Verizon P1 Award for the IZOD IndyCar Series Firestone 550 by nearly two mph over the second place qualifier. He muttered about setups, then promptly went to work getting those setups.

Credit: Debbie Ross/Skirts and Scuffs
On Saturday, Castroneves became Spiderman again, climbing the fence after scoring his fourth career win at Texas Motor Speedway. He not only broke his tie with Sam Hornish Jr. for most IndyCar wins at the Great American Speedway, but he moved past Ft.Worth's Johnny Rutherford for 12th on the all-time wins list.

Castroneves took the lead from Marco Andretti on lap 96 and never looked back. He won by 4.6919 seconds over second-place Ryan Hunter-Reay, with Tony Kanaan right behind.

"The boys did a hell of a job and Chevy did a great job because we were not only able to manage our tires and manage our fuel but it was the setup," said Castroneves. "We did our homework, and thank God it paid off. Texas is awesome. I love this place!"

Hunter-Reay was less enthusiastic about the night, despite his second-place finish.

"Man the drivers had to drive it tonight," he said. "That was an interesting race."

He and Kanaan agreed that the reduced downforce combined with rapid tire falloff made the cars a handful.

Ed Carpenter and early leader Marco Andretti rounded out the top five.

Credit: Debbie Ross/Skirts and Scuffs
"It's always good when you win a race. Everything is beautiful!" said Castroneves. Owner Roger Penske agreed, "I always like to get some of Eddie's money."

The race featured five lead changes among four drivers with Castroneves in front for 132 of the 228 laps.

Only three cautions slowed the pace:
Laps 5-13, Pippa Mann lost an engine in Turn 3
Laps 54-62 Scott Dixon had a mechanical issue and stalled in Turn 4
Laps 113-121 E.J. Viso spun in Turn 1.

With the win, Castroneves takes sole ownership of the points lead, 22 up on Andretti.

The series heads for Milwaukee IndyFest June 12 - 15.

Janine, aka Lisa or LJ, Cloud, a fifth-generation Texan, lives in Houston and considers Texas Motor Speedway her home track.

She's been a part of the Skirts and Scuffs team since May 2011, going from contributor to media rep, photographer, and associate editor covering both NASCAR and IZOD IndyCar. Janine considers it a privilege to represent the site at the track and to share with readers the excitement of the world of motorsports.

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