Skip to content

Castroneves can be fifth straight driver to overtake points leader in final race

Oct 14, 2013, 3:00 PM EDT

Shell And Pennzoil Grand Prix Of Houston Getty Images

One of two historical markers will be achieved when it comes to deciding this year’s IZOD IndyCar Series championship at Auto Club Speedway, the MAVTV 500 at Fontana, Calif. this Saturday night.

Either Scott Dixon will match his numerological run of a title every five years (2003, 2008), or, Helio Castroneves will become the fifth straight driver to overtake the points leader in the final race.

Dixon has only been in contention for the title at the last race once in the last four years. At Homestead in 2009, he entered the weekend with a five point lead on teammate Dario Franchitti. That was erased when the Scotsman won as Dixon and Ryan Briscoe, Team Penske’s title challenger that year, needed an extra splash of fuel and finished in arrears.

But in each of the last three years, the other member of Team Penske, Will Power, has held the lead and managed to lose it every single time.

In 2010, it was due to contact at Turns 3 and 4 at Homestead. In 2011, Power was hit by another car in pit lane at Kentucky. And in 2012, at Fontana, Power lost control through Turns 1 and 2 and crashed out. Franchitti took the 2010 and 2011 crowns with Ryan Hunter-Reay winning last year’s.

Castroneves – who had led the points for 10 straight races through Houston Race 1 – now enters from a position of nothing to lose, rather than in a spot where he has the same pressure to keep the lead a la Power.

“That’s the mentality; we have nothing to lose, and we are going for it,” Castroneves said in a conference call last week. “Whatever it takes, we are going for it. Taking risks, taking every risk, to be honest, to put ourselves in that position. We feel as a team we have the equipment and we have the power, so we’ve just got to believe it.

“I know he’s strong enough mentally because he’s been in these situations,” Castroneves added of Dixon’s mental state. “But who knows what could happen.”

Castroneves enters 25 points down to Dixon. Any top-five result for Dixon secures the Ganassi driver the title, regardless of Castroneves’ result. A title for Castroneves would be the first of his 16-year IndyCar career and the first for Team Penske since Sam Hornish Jr. in 2006.

Latest Posts
  1. Road America adds new video boards, makes further track investments

    May 4, 2015, 5:18 PM EDT

    Photo: Road America Photo: Road America

    Road America invests millions into some track upgrades for 2015.

  2. Olympic gold medalist Nastia Liukin named grand marshal for 2015 Indianapolis 500

    May 4, 2015, 2:18 PM EDT

    Photo: IMS Photo: IMS

    Nastia Liukin named grand marshal for this year’s Indianapolis 500.

  3. Tequila Patron ESM makes its Ligier JS P2 Honda race debut in Spa (VIDEOS)

    May 4, 2015, 1:33 PM EDT

    Photo: Tequila Patron ESM Photo: Tequila Patron ESM

    Videos from the debut of the new Ligier JS P2 Hondas for Tequila Patron ESM at Spa-Francorchamps this weekend.

  4. Andretti, Honda open strongly on Indy 500 opening day

    May 4, 2015, 11:35 AM EDT

    Photo: Honda Photo: Honda

    Early days yet, but seems as though Andretti Autosport is starting the month of May out on the right foot.

  5. Westbrook, Valiante score TUDOR win in Monterey

    May 4, 2015, 11:24 AM EDT

    TUDORmrlswin Getty Images

    The No. 90 Corvette DP pairing ends on top in Monterey.

  6. Montoya fastest on opening day of Indianapolis 500 practice

    May 3, 2015, 8:42 PM EDT

    Photo: IMS Photography Photo: IMS Photography

    Day one of the month of May is in the books at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

  7. Iranian government planning to build Formula 1 circuit

    May 3, 2015, 5:00 PM EDT

    AUTO-PRIX-BHR-F1 Getty Images

    Could we see the Iranian Grand Prix join the F1 calendar in years to come?

  8. Chester confident Lotus can compete with Red Bull

    May 3, 2015, 3:30 PM EDT

    F1 Grand Prix of Bahrain Getty Images

    Lotus technical director Nick Chester expresses his confidence in the upcoming upgrade package for the E23 Hybrid car.

  9. A handful of new drivers, liveries make first outing for Indy 500 practice (PHOTOS)

    May 3, 2015, 2:11 PM EDT

    Mann and Daly. Photo: INDYCAR Mann and Daly. Photo: INDYCAR

    A run through of new driver firesuits and liveries thus far on the first day of practice for the Indianapolis 500.

  10. Di Resta, Wehrlein score podiums in opening DTM weekend

    May 3, 2015, 2:00 PM EDT

    DTM German Touring Car Hockenheim - Qualifying Getty Images

    Ex-Force India driver di Resta picks up his first podium finish since returning to DTM in 2014.

  11. MotoGP: Lorenzo claims first win of 2015 at Spanish GP

    May 3, 2015, 12:45 PM EDT

    Spain Motorcycle Grand Prix AP

    Spanish rider wins on home soil as Valentino Rossi scores his 200th podium finish.

  12. Conor Daly’s Smithfield Foods “Fueled by Bacon” special revealed at IMS

    May 3, 2015, 12:26 PM EDT

    Photo: Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Photo: Schmidt Peterson Motorsports

    Conor Daly’s “Fueled by Bacon” No. 43 Smithfield Foods Honda is revealed.

  13. WEC: Hulkenberg impresses on debut, finishing sixth

    May 3, 2015, 11:30 AM EDT

    © Porsche AG © Porsche AG

    The no. 19 crew fights back at Spa to finish sixth overall after six hours of racing.

  14. Maldonado reflects on complicated start to 2015 F1 season

    May 3, 2015, 10:15 AM EDT

    AUTO-PRIX-F1-ESP-TEST Getty Images

    Venezuelan driver returns to the site of his only grand prix victory next weekend.

  15. Sgt. Liam Dwyer wins Continental Tire race with man who saved his life watching from pits

    May 2, 2015, 8:57 PM EDT

    Dwyer-small

    Last-lap pass by co-driver Andrew Carbonell allows Sgt. Liam Dwyer to celebrate win with Sgt. Aaron Denning, the man who saved his life.

  16. Ricciardo relishing buzz of Spanish GP as F1 hits Europe

    May 2, 2015, 4:30 PM EDT

    F1 Grand Prix of Bahrain Getty Images

    Red Bull driver speaks about the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, which will play host to the Spanish Grand Prix next weekend.

  17. WEC: Audi no. 7 victorious again, defeating Porsche at Spa

    May 2, 2015, 3:31 PM EDT

    © FIA WEC © FIA WEC

    Benoit Treluyer, Marcel Fassler and Andre Lotterer claim their second win of the WEC season at Spa.