Helio Castroneves’ win at Texas was slightly diminished by the post-race penalty for the underwing violation. He took time in the media center Friday morning ahead of the IZOD IndyCar Series’ Milwaukee IndyFest to explain how he felt after hearing the infraction had been issued.
“Honestly I was very shocked,” he said. “The team has done an amazing job. We will not let this outshine what we did. It was a simple mistake. It was still good to win and have the momentum.”
The grind of races – six in five weekends from Indianapolis at the end of May to Iowa next weekend – has made it very difficult for teams to keep up on the setup changes.
“People are so tired from changing the cars over from ovals to street course setup and back,” Castroneves explained. “It wasn’t a performance issue. But the downforce changed it up. Our setup was so good.”
Interestingly, the win at Texas was the first this year for Castroneves with his team boss Roger Penske calling his race. Castroneves worked for years with Penske Racing president Tim Cindric and more recently, with John Erickson. The points leader described what it meant to win one with Penske on the box.
“Roger is incredible to have; he helped a lot last race,” Castroneves said. “We should be two-for-two. I made a mistake in St. Pete. With his experience, you can’t buy that. Forget the computers. He’s been through so many circumstances. It’s unique and important to have him and with him on the box, we have a very good group this year.”
Milwaukee has been Castroneves’ “bogey track,” as he has yet to win here since his first start in 1998. This year marks the 15-year anniversary of his best result at the Mile, second in his rookie season with the late Tony Bettenhausen’s team.
Now, the points leader enters Milwaukee with a 22-point margin to Marco Andretti, and seeks that elusive first win in West Allis. He races this week in blue, black and white colors of PPG Industries on the No. 3 Chevrolet.