Helio Castroneves secured his first victory in three years as he dominated Sunday night’s Iowa Corn 300, leading 217 of the 300 laps to give Team Penske their first ever Verizon IndyCar Series victory around Iowa Speedway.
Castroneves sits just eight points behind championship leader Scott Dixon after his domination on Sunday around the 0.875-mile oval, with the Chip Ganassi Racing driver being forced to settle for eighth, and the win means that all four Penske drivers have taken victories in 2017.
Finishing second was Ed Carpenter Racing’s JR Hildebrand, who secured his second podium of the season after finishing third at the Phoenix International Raceway back in April, with the American also matching his career best finish in IndyCar, which came back in 2011 at the Indianapolis 500.
Hildebrand had a strong car all evening long, leading 38 laps of his own, but he was unable to match Castroneves in the final stages, with the Brazilian beating the American by 3.9647 seconds.
In a return to form, Ryan Hunter-Reay completed the podium for Andretti Autosport, and was the leading Honda-powered driver at the chequered flag behind two Chevrolets, although he was able to get the better on polesitter Will Power, who, despite leading 23 laps early on, did not have the pace of his Penske team-mate Castroneves.
Graham Rahal battled with Hunter-Reay and Power for the podium spot but traffic problems meant the Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing driver was forced to settle for fifth, while Penske duo Josef Newgarden and Simon Pagenaud, the defending race winner and defending series champion, were sixth and seventh respectively.
Dixon had a relatively quiet race to eighth, finishing just ahead of Ganassi team-mate Tony Kanaan, while James Hinchcliffe claimed tenth for Schmidt Peterson Motorsport in what was his 100th IndyCar start.
There were three caution periods for incidents on track, and a fourth due to light rain that caused a nine-minute red flag, with Mikhail Aleshin the first to crash out, spinning his Schmidt Peterson Motorsport machine into the turn two wall.
AJ Foyt Racing endured a tough day, with both drivers struggling with balance issues, and both drivers ultimately caused the other two caution periods, Carlos Muñoz hitting the wall at turn four on lap 130, while 38 laps later, team-mate Conor Daly followed suit at the same corner.
But no one was to deny Castroneves his first victory since Detroit back in 2014 – 54 races ago – and his first oval triumph since Texas Motor Speedway in 2013. There is life in the old dog yet!
Iowa Speedway Race Result
|1||3||Helio Castroneves||BRZ||Team Penske||1:55:11.2807s|
|2||21||JR Hildebrand||USA||Ed Carpenter Racing||+3.9647s|
|3||28||Ryan Hunter-Reay||USA||Andretti Autosport||+4.5845s|
|4||12||Will Power||AUS||Team Penske||+5.7403s|
|5||15||Graham Rahal||USA||Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing||+10.1811s|
|6||2||Josef Newgarden||USA||Team Penske||+11.0500s|
|7||1||Simon Pagenaud||FRA||Team Penske||+12.2562s|
|8||9||Scott Dixon||NZL||Chip Ganassi Racing||+14.3653s|
|9||10||Tony Kanaan||BRZ||Chip Ganassi Racing||+15.1184s|
|10||5||James Hinchcliffe||CAN||Schmidt Peterson Motorsports||+15.8243s|
|11||98||Alexander Rossi||USA||Andretti Herta Autosport||+1 Lap|
|12||20||Ed Carpenter||USA||Ed Carpenter Racing||+1 Lap|
|13||18||Esteban Gutierrez||MEX||Dale Coyne Racing||+1 Lap|
|14||8||Max Chilton||GBR||Chip Ganassi Racing||+1 Lap|
|15||83||Charlie Kimball||USA||Chip Ganassi Racing||+2 Laps|
|16||26||Takuma Sato||JAP||Andretti Autosport||+2 Laps|
|17||27||Marco Andretti||USA||Andretti Autosport||+2 Laps|
|18||19||Ed Jones||UAE||Dale Coyne Racing||+3 Laps|
|RET||4||Conor Daly||USA||AJ Foyt Enterprises||Retired|
|RET||14||Carlos Munoz||COL||AJ Foyt Enterprises||Retired|
|RET||7||Mikhail Aleshin||RUS||Schmidt Peterson Motorsports||Retired|