Castroneves emerges from Detroit Dual 1 as points leader

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Difficult days for Marco Andretti and Takuma Sato, the IZOD IndyCar Series points leaders heading into Saturday in Detroit, shuffled the deck for tomorrow’s second race of the Chevrolet Indy Dual at Detroit (grid here).

Helio Castroneves, who finished fifth, now leads the standings by three points over Ryan Hunter-Reay (182-179). Andretti (178), Sato (168) and Justin Wilson (161) are all within striking distance.

“I just saw that I’m on top of the points, but I mean really Mike Conway, great job,” said the new points leader – at least for a day. “It just proves that the series is very competitive with the teams. And now we’ve taken the points lead, which is very good.”

Castroneves also led the points after Barber and Long Beach in April, but Detroit race one marked the fourth consecutive race where the lead has changed hands. Sato led it after his runner-up finish in Brazil, and Andretti took over the top spot after the Indianapolis 500. Two-time winner James Hinchcliffe, obviously, led the points after his win to open the season in St. Petersburg.

Sunday marked Andretti’s first race this season outside the top seven. He made contact with Sebastian Saavedra and pitched the Colombian into the barriers.

Some other points notes after Saturday in Detroit:

  • The top 10: Castroneves 182, Hunter-Reay 179, Andretti 178, Sato 168, Wilson 161, Scott Dixon 154, Hinchcliffe 143, Tony Kanaan 141, Simon Pagenaud 126, Charlie Kimball 122.
  • Beyond the top 10, E.J. Viso and Simona de Silvestro (117 apiece) have just 13 points between them and Graham Rahal, who is 16th.
  • Race winner Mike Conway (58 points, 24th) is ahead of Saavedra, despite running only two races to Saavedra’s six. Conway is only two behind AJ Allmendinger, who is 23rd. Conway has the potential to take all points but one of the maximum 108 this weekend if he wins on Sunday and leads the most laps.
  • Top-10s for Will Power (eighth) and Dario Franchitti (sixth) see them now 13th and 14th in the standings, separated by three markers (113-110).
  • Dragon Racing’s teammates Saavedra and Sebastien Bourdais are the only full-season drivers not to score a top-10, and rank 25th and 21st in the points.