Skip to content

Still searching: Castroneves finishes 14th, falls short of IndyCar title (VIDEO)

Aug 31, 2014, 1:21 AM EDT

Helio Castroneves put up as big a fight as he could muster in Saturday night’s Verizon IndyCar Series season finale at Auto Club Speedway.

But the three-time Indianapolis 500 champion will have to wait another year to claim his first series title.

Starting from the pole position, Castroneves ran with the leaders throughout the night and was among the Top 5 when he prepared for his final pit stop with 34 laps to go.

But after going down on the apron, Castroneves slid up onto the track before coming down again to enter pit road. After his pit stop was completed, Race Control called him for a pit entry violation and forced him to serve a drive-through penalty.

And that was that. Castroneves ended up finishing 14th, and another championship bid went unsuccessful.

He winds up finishing 62 points behind Team Penske teammate Will Power, who won his first IndyCar crown with a ninth-place result.

“I was pushing extremely hard,” he told NBCSN afterwards. “I knew that the only way for us to get in front was through the pits and my in/outs seemed to be working really well except the last one, and I got a drive-through – my bad.”

As usual, however, Castroneves tried to stay positive after finishing runner-up in the series championship for the fourth time in his career. He congratulated Power on a well-deserved title before joking about how he hoped Power won’t raise the lodging rate for him in his house.

“At the end of the day, great season for Team Penske – No. 1, 2 and 4 for Juan Pablo [Montoya],” he said before adding with a laugh: “It’s another second.”

Down 50 points to Power at the start of Saturday’s MAV TV 500, Castroneves knew he had to go all-out in order to have a chance at claiming the Astor Cup.

After leading the opening few laps, he settled in among the Top 5 through the first half of the race. But following a wave of pit stops after the halfway point of the 250-lap event, Castroneves cycled all the way to the lead.

At that juncture, Power was running seventh and his championship lead over Castroneves was down to a single point.

But during a Lap 176 caution stemming from a Ryan Hunter-Reay solo spin, Castroneves was leapfrogged in the pits by eventual race winner Tony Kanaan and his Chip Ganassi Racing teammate, Scott Dixon.

Then, after the restart on Lap 188, Power rocketed past him and both Ganassi drivers to take the lead himself while Castroneves dropped back to fifth.

It all led to the final pit stops of 2014. And it was in that sequence where Castroneves made his costly error.

Asked in the post-race press conference if this latest title near-miss was the most frustrating, Castroneves was reflective.

“It stings a little bit. But that’s what motivates me. It’s good to be frustrated with second,” he said.

For him, the quest to become a series champion continues.

Latest Posts
  1. Button picks up McLaren’s first points of the season with eighth place finish in Monaco

    May 24, 2015, 10:55 AM EDT

    MONTE-CARLO, MONACO - MAY 23:  Jenson Button of Great Britain and McLaren Honda drives during final practice for the Monaco Formula One Grand Prix at Circuit de Monaco on May 23, 2015 in Monte-Carlo, Monaco.  (Photo by Paul Gilham/Getty Images) Getty Images

    The first points of the new McLaren-Honda era were scored on Sunday as Jenson Button finished eighth, but Fernando Alonso’s retirement slightly dampened the team’s spirits.

  2. Rosberg ecstatic after lucky Monaco win, but admits Hamilton was stronger

    May 24, 2015, 10:27 AM EDT

    MONTE-CARLO, MONACO - MAY 24:  (L-R) Race winner Nico Rosberg of Germany and Mercedes GP and third placed Lewis Hamilton of Great Britain and Mercedes GP react on the podium following the Monaco Formula One Grand Prix at Circuit de Monaco on May 24, 2015 in Monte-Carlo, Monaco.  (Photo by Paul Gilham/Getty Images) Getty Images

    Rosberg claims his third consecutive victory in Monaco after Mercedes wrongly pits Lewis Hamilton late on.

  3. Rosberg lucks in to third straight Monaco GP win after Mercedes’ mistake costs Hamilton victory

    May 24, 2015, 9:53 AM EDT

    MONTE-CARLO, MONACO - MAY 24:  Nico Rosberg of Germany and Mercedes GP drives during the Monaco Formula One Grand Prix at Circuit de Monaco on May 24, 2015 in Monte-Carlo, Monaco.  (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images) Getty Images

    Lewis Hamilton looked poised to win the race in Monaco, only for a mistake by the Mercedes team to hand victory to teammate Nico Rosberg.

  4. Ryan Hunter-Reay enjoying the random moments of his Indianapolis 500 win ‘in the strangest places’

    May 24, 2015, 9:09 AM EDT

    Indianapolis 500 - Coors Light Carb Day Getty Images

    The Andretti Autosport driver has been recognized when he least expects it since drinking the milk last season

  5. What to watch for: 99th Indianapolis 500

    May 24, 2015, 8:45 AM EDT

    CarbDayLede Getty Images

    What to watch for in the 99th running of the Indianapolis 500.

  6. Starting grid for the 2015 Monaco Grand Prix

    May 24, 2015, 7:30 AM EDT

    © AP © AP

    Lewis Hamilton will lead away the grid in Monaco ahead of Nico Rosberg and Sebastian Vettel.

  7. New aero kits handling fine, if not better than expected, in Indy’s dirty air

    May 24, 2015, 7:15 AM EDT

    CarbDayTow Getty Images

    To what effect the tow effect of the new super speedway aero kits will have on passing Sunday remains to be seen.

  8. WATCH LIVE: Monaco GP Race Day on NBCSN and Live Extra from 7am, NBC from 7:30am

    May 24, 2015, 6:45 AM EDT

    © Getty Images Getty Images

    Lewis Hamilton goes in search of his second Monaco win on Sunday, but can Nico Rosberg stop him and claim a hat-trick of victories around the streets of the principality?

  9. Ecclestone: Rosberg and Vettel poor for F1 business

    May 24, 2015, 6:15 AM EDT

    F1 Grand Prix of Germany Getty Images

    The F1 supremo explains how Lewis Hamilton’s love of the limelight and fame is doing wonders for the sport.

  10. 2015 Indy 500 driver-by-driver one-liners

    May 24, 2015, 6:00 AM EDT

    The original field of 33 for Sunday's 99th Indianapolis 500. Photo: INDYCAR The original field of 33 for Sunday's 99th Indianapolis 500. Photo: INDYCAR

    MotorSportsTalk’s Tony DiZinno analyzes the chances of each of the 33 drivers for this year’s Indianapolis 500.

  11. MRTI: Tan, Eidson win Saturday at Lucas Oil Raceway

    May 24, 2015, 5:08 AM EDT

    Tan leading in Pro Mazda. Photo: IMS Photography, LLC Tan leading in Pro Mazda. Photo: IMS Photography, LLC

    Weiron Tan and Jake Eidson are winners Saturday at the artist/track formerly known as Indianapolis Raceway Park.

  12. Tony Kanaan isn’t counting, but Indianapolis 500 milestone means much

    May 23, 2015, 6:04 PM EDT

    Tony Kanaan Tony Kanaan

    Chip Ganassi Racing driver will make his 300th career start Sunday.

  13. GP2: Richie Stanaway and Status secure maiden victory

    May 23, 2015, 5:30 PM EDT

    © GP2 Series © GP2 Series

    After taking the lead at the start, Stanaway goes wire-to-wire to take his first GP2 win in Monaco.

  14. Alonso: McLaren “too fragile at the moment”

    May 23, 2015, 4:30 PM EDT

    MONTE-CARLO, MONACO - MAY 23:  Fernando Alonso of Spain and McLaren Honda drives during final practice for the Monaco Formula One Grand Prix at Circuit de Monaco on May 23, 2015 in Monte-Carlo, Monaco.  (Photo by Dan Istitene/Getty Images) Getty Images

    Spaniard suffers another issue on his car during qualifying on Saturday, leaving him P15 on the grid before penalties.

  15. Formula E: Di Grassi disqualified, handing win to Jerome d’Ambrosio

    May 23, 2015, 4:00 PM EDT

    Jerome D`Ambrosio (L-R) of Team Dragon Racing, Lucas Di Grassi of Team Audi Sport Abt and Swiss driver Sebastien Buemi of team edams-Renault pose during the victory ceremony after the 2015 Fia Formula E Berlin championships in Berlin May 23, 2015. Di Grassi won, D`Ambrosio placed second and Buemi placed third.  AFP PHOTO / TOBIAS SCHWARZ        (Photo credit should read TOBIAS SCHWARZ/AFP/Getty Images) Getty Images

    The Audi Sport ABT driver delivers a crushing win in Berlin at the disused Tempelhof airport, only to then be disqualified in the hours following the race.

  16. WATCH LIVE: Eli Tomac defends Lucas Oil Pro Motocross points lead at Glen Helen

    May 23, 2015, 3:45 PM EDT

    Photo: George Crosland/ProMotocross.com Photo: George Crosland/ProMotocross.com

    Live coverage from Glen Helen starts with the pre-race show at 4 p.m. ET on NBC Sports Live Extra and continues with first motos at 5 p.m. ET. Second motos will be live on NBCSN at 7 p.m. ET.

  17. Ricciardo frustrated to only qualify fourth in Monaco

    May 23, 2015, 3:30 PM EDT

    Infiniti Red Bull Racing's Australian driver Daniel Ricciardo  during the qualifying session at the Monaco street circuit in Monte-Carlo on May 23, 2015, ahead of the Monaco Formula One Grand Prix. AFP PHOTO / ANDREJ ISAKOVIC        (Photo credit should read ANDREJ ISAKOVIC/AFP/Getty Images) Getty Images

    Red Bull driver matches his best qualifying result of the season, but feels a top three grid slot was within reach.

  18. “Karamo” aside, Sage Karam looks for big things in second Indy 500

    May 23, 2015, 3:00 PM EDT

    Photo: INDYCAR Photo: INDYCAR

    A pink Camaro, a Justin Bieber reference and an improved maturity level: all in the second month of May for Chip Ganassi’s rising star, Sage Karam.

  19. Grosjean to face five place grid penalty in Monaco

    May 23, 2015, 2:30 PM EDT

    Lotus F1 Team's French driver  Romain Grosjean  drives during the third practice session at the Monaco street circuit in Monte-Carlo on May 23, 2015, ahead of the Monaco Formula One Grand Prix. AFP PHOTO / JEAN CHRISTOPHE MAGNENET        (Photo credit should read JEAN CHRISTOPHE MAGNENET/AFP/Getty Images) Getty Images

    Lotus driver will start tomorrow’s race from 15th place on the grid.