Verizon IndyCar Series

VICS: Castroneves Slips in the Championship Point Race

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SONOMA, Calif. – So many times it is someone else’s misfortune that takes a toll on you. Sunday, in the GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma, Helio Castroneves felt that misfortune on lap one in turn 2.

The Team Penske driver maintained his second place standing for the championship title that will be determined next weekend, but his title hopes took a hit. Castroneves, who was running in the top-6, lost part of the nose to his car when contact between Ryan Brsicoe, Sebastien Bourdais and James Hinchcliffe turned turn two into a junk yard on the opening lap bringing out a full course yellow.

Forced to pit under green, Castroneves’ crew changed the nose to the car, made their service and got him on his way. When he rejoined the field, he was scored in 22nd, dead last.

Throughout the race, whenever Castroneves seemed to be moving up or getting his groove back, he would lose it. He hovered around 20th position for most of the day and at one time was ahead of his Team Penske teammate, Will Power, but was forced to settle for 18th place, while Power finished 10th.

Power started the day with a 40-point lead over Castroneves before picking up two bonus points for leading a lap and eventually the most laps. Currently, his lead is at 51-points, but the double point season finale race set for Fontana is only six days away. With 104 points up for grab in the MAVTV 500, there are sure to be fireworks on Fontana’s oval.

“There’s still a lot of points on the table and a lot of racing to come,” Power said. “You’ve just got to focus on the job at hand and get the most out of every situation.”

Power will look to defend his race win at Fontana last year with hopes to clinching his first Verizon IndyCar Series title.

One other driver is mathematically still in the title hunt. Schmidt Peterson Motorsports’ Simon Pagenaud is 81 points back from Power.

The season finale is schedule for Saturday, Aug. 30, with a 9:00 pm ET starting time. So who will it be – Power, Castroneves or Pagenaud?

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About Jacob Mullins

Jacob Mullins serves as the managing editor and senior NASCAR writer covering all three national touring series's. You can find him on on Twitter at @JMulls15. An intercollegiate athletic administrator by trade, Mullins can be found at the big tracks as well as the local short tracks in the Delaware, New Jersey and Pennsylvania area. Mullins enjoys social media, photography and graphic design. A native of West Chester, Pennsylvania, Mullins follows all forms of racing, Major League Baseball (Baltimore Orioles) and college football (Virginia Tech Hokies).

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