IndyCar: Castroneves extends points lead heading into Toronto race two

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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).

TOP 10
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

Marco Andretti confident that fewer tests won’t hurt Andretti Autosport

Photo: IndyCar
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A small point of debate around the 2018 aero kit has been the manufacturer test days that took place through the Fall of 2017 and into the beginning of 2018. Chiefly, the debate has centered around teams who hadn’t participated in those manufacturer test days and if they’re starting the 2018 Verizon IndyCar Series season at a disadvantage as a result.

Team Penske, Ed Carpenter Racing, and A.J. Foyt Racing completed test days for Chevrolet, with Schmidt Peterson Motorsports and Chip Ganassi Racing doing so for Honda.

That left teams like Andretti Autosport out of the mix, with some voicing concerns as a result.

However, in a press conference during testing at ISM Raceway last weekend, Marco Andretti explained that he thinks Andretti Autosport should be able to catch up on development, citing the team’s resources – they’re the only IndyCar team with four full-time cars in their stable – and the fact that everyone is still adapting to the new kit.

“I feel like it’s early enough days that, yes, we can catch up,” Andretti said at ISM Raceway. “When there is anything new, a new car, new aero kit, at-track days are huge. We can sim all these things we want. To really get out there and confirm what we’re learning back at the shop is another thing.”

Ryan Hunter-Reay during testing at ISM Raceway. Photo: IndyCar

Andretti continued, “Yeah, I don’t think we should look at it like we’re behind the eight ball. With a four-car team, that’s where we can use it to our benefit. So far so good.”

Teammate Ryan Hunter-Reay, echoed Andretti’s sentiments, adding that while the situation is not perfect, they will need to adapt to it in order to remain competitive.

“Any time you have a new car, to put it into perspective, we’re on track three days on a road course before we get to (the season open in St. Petersburg). That’s a very short amount of time. It’s obviously not ideal, but we’re just going to lace up our boots and get on with it. That’s all you can do.”

Andretti Autosport will have one more team test, at Sebring International Raceway later on in February, before the season-opening Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg.

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