Castroneves gets a second chance to regain control of the championship in Sunday’s second race and wants to put the disappointment of Saturday in his rear-view mirror.
Castroneves slowed down on lap 22 after having problems with shifting. He came into the pits and his Team Penske crew repaired the Gear Cluster, Gear Control Unit (GCU) and the steering wheel in just nine laps.
But Castroneves would have two off-course excursions for the remainder of the race and finished 18th, 10 laps down to Dixon.
“I am starting with the good news is that we are still leading (championship), and I didn’t know that,” Castroneves said. “Second, we did have a much better car in the start of the race than in qualifying, and we are still leading. The team did a hell of a job, and I guess it’s just more excitement for you guys.
“Obviously, that was a tough finish for the Shell/Pennzoil team. Early in the race, the car was bottoming out in a couple of places, and then I just couldn’t shift. It was a hell of a job by the Shell and Pennzoil guys to figure out the problem and get me back on track. It’s tough, but it’s something that’s out of our control. I tried to earn as many points as I could and really just focus on making the car better so we can be ready for tomorrow.
“On the positive side, we still have the lead in the championship, and I think we will be in good shape for Sunday. We need to have a good qualifying and bounce back with a strong race tomorrow.”
Castroneves may be leading the championship but Dixon is charging and vows not to let up on Sunday.
“We are going to try to get maximum out of it in Sunday’s race,” Dixon said. “It’s always tough. The heat in Saturday’s race was tough along with the bumpiness of the course. We’ll dig deep and try to get another win. We’ll give it a good shot and try to stay on the podium.”