Helio Castroneves has been quietly lurking in the championship race this season, taking advantage of mistakes by others to position himself for a run at the IndyCar Series title.
After his win Sunday in Edmonton, Alberta, everybody knows he’s in the mix for his first career championship. Everybody also knows he’s going to be tough to beat down the stretch.
“We are always there, maybe playing a little bit quiet and silent, which I like, because many, many more years we were aggressive,” Castroneves said. “Continuing to work in that low profile, and in the end of the day at Fontana (the season ending race), that’s the day it counts.”
Castroneves thrust himself into the championship race with his second victory of the season. The Brazilian relied on pit strategy from his Penske Racing crew to take the lead, then held off hard-charging Takuma Sato over the final 15 laps to triumph.
It moved him one spot in the standings to second – he passed teammate Will Power – and he’s trailing leader Ryan Hunter-Reay by 23 points with four races remaining.
JOHNSON TAKES LEAD
Pro Stock racer Allen Johnson captured his fourth Mopar Mile-High NHRA Nationals at Bandimere Speedway in Morrison, Colo., with a winning run of 6.951 seconds at 197.31 mph to take over the lead in the season standings.
Antron Brown (Top Fuel), Jack Beckman (Funny Car) and Eddie Krawiec (Pro Stock Motorcycle) also won. The NHRA comes to Pacific Raceways in Kent from Aug. 3-5.
Elliott Sadler held off a charge by Ricky Stenhouse Jr. on a green-white-checker finish to win the NASCAR Nationwide Series race at Chicagoland Speedway in Joliet, Ill. … Fernando Alonso led from the start in his Ferrari to win the German Grand Prix in Hockenheim and extend his Formula One championship lead, while two-time defending champion Sebastian Vettel was penalized and dropped from second to fifth. Vettel was penalized for overtaking Jenson Button from outside the track, having gone off the circuit with all four wheels with one lap remaining in the 67-lap race.