Helio Castroneves didn’t take over the lead until the late stages of the Edmonton Indy but, once he did, there was no keeping him from winning his first-ever race in the Alberta city.
“In the end for us it was a great result,” Castroneves said. “A result we were looking for for a long time.”
Castroneves had three times finished as runner-up of the Edmonton Indy in the last four years. He actually thought he had won the race in 2010 only to have it taken away by a penalty for blocking. On Sunday, the exuberant Brazilian just concentrated on the open road in front of him and won his second IZOD IndyCar Series of the season. Takuma Sato finished second in the race and Will Power was third.
“I was so focused,” an elated Castroneves said after the race. He commended runner-up Sato for keeping up the pressure behind him as the two battled the final 10 laps of the race, practically thanking his competitor for not allowing him to get too ahead of himself. “You have to be on it every step of the way.”
Castroneves jumped into the lead after a tremendous pit stop and a super-fast lap after the stop. With race leader Alex Tagliani in the pits, Castroneves sped to the front of the field and he would not give up that position for the rest of the race. Asked if he had taken on a full load of fuel, Castroneves shrugged his shoulders and said he simply did what his crew asked him to do.
“They told me when I was in the lead to save a little bit of fuel,” he said. “I couldn’t do the math. I’m not very good at math.”
As for his customary celebration after winning a race, Castroneves said he actually hadn’t planned on climbing the safety fence.
“I realized when I was going to the Victory Circle lap … Oh, I got to climb the fence,” he recalled, adding that the fence was a little looser than at other tracks. “I have to say it was a little soft. (But) I would not let it go until the crowd stopped screaming. Everybody was really excited.”
Ryan Hunter-Reay continues to lead the IZOD IndyCar Series. Castroneves climbs into second place by virtue of the win this weekend. Will Power drops to third.
The next race on the schedule is the Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio, on Aug. 5 in Lexington, Ohio.