The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus


Two at TMS

Castroneves gets second win at Texas in third fastest race in IRL history

In the third fastest race in Indy Racing League history, it came down to a cycle of pit stops to decide the winner of the Bombardier Learjet 500 at Texas Motor Speedway.


Helio Castroneves earned his second career win at TMS, taking his third win of the season in front of an estimated crowd of 90,000.


Castroneves did not take the lead until lap 193. He called them the “longest laps I’ve had here.”

Dan Wheldon dominated the race, taking the lead in turn three of lap two from pole sitter Sam Hornish, Jr. and would go on to lead 171 laps of the 200-lap event.


On his last pit stop, the right rear tire changer dropped the wheel nut, costing valuable seconds and precious track position.


“We gave another win to Penske,” Wheldon said. “We can’t afford in a championship as competitive as this to give Penske wins, and that’s what we did today.”


Team Marlboro Penske and Target Chip Ganassi Racing were the top of the class during the entire race. The two IRL powerhouses lead all but eight laps of the race, yielding during a cycle of green-flag pit stops.


Wheldon wasn’t the only driver who had trouble on his last pit stop. Hornish, Jr., who ran second most of the race, stalled in the pits after coming in for a fuel-only stop on lap 191.


“We saved fuel all day long and tried to beat them at the end of the day, and it just didn’t work out for us-we ran the Marlboro Team Penske car out of fuel,” he said.


There were only two cautions in the entire event, leading to an average race speed of 185.710.

Buddy Rice, who brought out the second caution, was one of the three Rahal Letterman Racing cars that switched to the Dallara chassis. Rice and teammates Danica Patrick and Jeff Simmons were the last drivers to make the switch from the Panoz chassis in order to improve performance in traffic.


Unfortunately Rice did not get too much time to feel out the new car because his engine lost oil pressure on lap 70.


“I just can’t believe the luck I have at this place,” Rice said. “We just haven’t had good luck here at Texas. It’s a shame because I love to race here and I love night racing overall.”

Simmons day was slightly better, finishing the race 15th.


“Overall, I think we learned quite a bit with the Dallara-my Ethanol car wasn’t bad,” Simmons said. He added the three drivers were traveling to Kansas next week to test the cars and create improve their setups.


Castroneves said when the race started; the track was “very greasy” and said it was difficult for drivers to get side-by-side. Castroneves attributed the condition to the rubber that had been laid down on the track during a Super Late Model race held earlier in the afternoon.

“It was very hard [racing on the track] and I do believe it was that, [different rubber on the track] Castroneves said. “We had a similar situation in qualifying. The other guys always go first and it gives us a little bit of trouble.”


This is the second time team owner Roger Penske has had a driver in victory lane at Texas Motor Speedway in 2006. NASCAR driver Kurt Busch took the checkered flag at the NASCAR Busch Series O’Reilly 300 last April.


Castroneves padded his lead in the IndyCar Series driver points race, and is now 22 points ahead of Scott Dixon. Dixon’s teammate Wheldon is 37 points back followed by Hornish, Jr. 38 points behind.


For his efforts in the race, Castroneves won roundtrip transportation from his home to Richmond International Raceway on a private Learjet courtesy of race sponsor Bombardier when the IRL travels to the .75-mile oval. Castroneves is the defending champion of that race, which is scheduled for June 24.

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