Second place for Helio Castroneves and a ninth for Team Penske teammate Will Power in race one means the Brazilian has gained 19 more points heading into today’s second race of the Honda Indy 2 in Toronto.
The Verizon IndyCar Series has just five races remaining this season, and four following the second race of the day.
Simon Pagenaud gained points on Power as well with fourth place, although he lost a few to Castroneves. The Frenchman now sits third, 58 back of Castroneves, but stayed alive despite a first lap spin that dropped him to the rear of the field.
Ryan Hunter-Reay lost ground after his incident with Tony Kanaan, and is now 64 back. He’ll need a big result in race two to help close the deficit.
Juan Pablo Montoya sits fifth in points, 95 back of Castroneves, to make it three Team Penske cars in the top five.
Race one winner Sebastien Bourdais now sits 10th after the victory.
Here’s the top 10 heading into race two (3 p.m. ET, NBCSN/NBC Sports Live Extra).
1. Helio Castroneves, 512
2. Will Power, 484
3. Simon Pagenaud, 454
4. Ryan Hunter-Reay, 448
5. Juan Pablo Montoya, 417
6. Carlos Munoz, 371
7. Scott Dixon, 361
8. Marco Andretti, 351
9. Tony Kanaan, 340
10. Sebastien Bourdais, 336
MotorSportsTalk continues its review of the Verizon IndyCar Series field, driver-by-driver, with a look at Ryan Briscoe. Despite not having a ride to start the year, Briscoe ended strongly courtesy of a series of strong runs at Schmidt Peterson Motorsports.
Ryan Briscoe, No. 5 Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Honda
- 2014: 11th Place, Best Finish 4th, Best Start 4th, 1 Top-5, 11 Top-10, 5 Laps Led, 12.8 Avg. Start, 10.6 Avg. Finish
- 2015: 18th Place (8 starts), Best Finish 5th, Best Start 2nd, 1 Top-5, 4 Top-10, 10 Laps Led, 17.8 Avg. Start, 12.0 Avg. Finish
For those who slag on Briscoe as being undeserving of top level equipment, his 2015 second half provided a friendly reminder of his overall ability level in what might be less than the best machinery.
Briscoe was thrust into the No. 5 car under trying circumstances to begin with, getting all of an hour’s worth practice replacing the injured James Hinchcliffe ahead of the Indianapolis 500. But subsequent drives on the ovals there, Texas, Fontana, Milwaukee and Iowa – even if the results were less than ideal – showcased a driver determined to show to the paddock he still had it, and then some. His defense against Juan Pablo Montoya in Sonoma was nothing short of brilliant, and courtesy of double points he actually finished ahead of full-season driver Stefano Coletti.
The Australian immediately gelled with the SPM team, engineer Allen McDonald and race strategist Robert Gue. He continues to prove he’s an asset, as he has enjoyed multiple opportunities to extend his career in various arenas of motorsport in both open-wheel and sports cars, the latter of which he won at both the Rolex 24 at Daytona and the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring with Corvette Racing this year.
Following an early retirement for Mercedes AMG Petronas teammate Nico Rosberg, Lewis Hamilton has closed even more on his third Formula 1 World Championship.
View it above in the race recap from the 2015 Russian Grand Prix.