DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – Less than four hours into the Rolex 24 at Daytona, a crash knocked one of Team Penske’s Acuras from contention and left Helio Castroneves steaming.
Driving the No. 7 entry, Castroneves was hit in the left rear by the fellow DPi car of Harry Tincknell when entering the tricky Bus Stop section of the 3.56-mile road course at Daytona International Speedway.
Castroneves told NBC Sports pit reporter Marty Snider that he had been radioing his team to relay to Tincknell to be patient as they worked through traffic.
“It’s not even four hours into the race, I was taking my time, dealing with traffic, and then the guy just decided to dive into (me) in a place that’s probably 120 mph,” Castroneves said. “For a risk that’s not going to pay off.
“We had a great car. It’s just … 24 hours! Ugh! I’m sorry that I expressed my feelings right now, but it’s just ridiculous. Especially when we tell the guy, look, we’re communicating and taking it easy. I’ll let you by, no problem. So many hours to go. It’s just frustrating.”
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Tincknell, whose car sustained minor damage, received a drive-though penalty from IMSA for “incident responsibility” and took the blame for the incident (“it was late on my part”) but also noted that Castroneves made passing more difficult by moving through the braking zones and backing off on the straightaways.
“It looks pretty bad for me,” Tincknell said. “I’m sorry for him, sorry for their team, sorry for our team as well because we damaged the car. If you’re dicing that so hard, sometimes you get sent to the wall. That’s what happened. I am sure I will take the blame for it and I will just take that on the chin. Sorry to them.”
Tincknell said Castroneves’ requests for patience and offering to let him by weren’t relayed but intimated it might not have mattered because of the massive closing speeds.
“He’s moving in a braking zone, and I had massive closing speed on the straight, and unfortunately got too close,” he said. “There’s a long way to go, and it’s easy to look back in hindsight on those mistakes and say, ‘Yeah, I shouldn’t have done it.’
“But if he was so worried about me being crazy, he could have just let me through.”
After repairs that took about 35 minutes, Castroneves returned to the race 23 laps down with just more than 20 hours remaining. Team Penske’s remaining No. 6 entry of Juan Pablo Montoya, Dane Cameron and Simon Pagenaud still was running second, but the No. 7’s chances were done despite also having decent speed.
“We found a good setup,” said Castroneves, who shares the car with Alexander Rossi and Ricky Taylor. “We actually were taking it easy. I was making sure I was staying away from the curbs. Ugh! Sorry. It’s just frustration right now. We’re going to cheer for the 6 car, hopefully, we can make this situation better at least. But it’s just stupid.”