Castroneves’ is confident his car has the speed in terms of setup and a new Chevrolet engine will give him the horsepower he needs to finally win a championship.
“It was a good effort for the entire Team Penske,” Castroneves said. “The AAA boys, they did a helluva job putting everything together. Certainly in the morning we had a little issue with the right rear shock. The good news is we found it and it was awesome. The car was exactly how we left here, pretty fast. It was good.
“Unfortunately we didn’t have a crystal ball to tell me buddy here (Power) to slow down. Those guys were behind him, so I’m glad he went for it. That’s what the car was able to do. We showed that we did our homework. I’m proud of those boys.
“But again, this is a place that’s not only about the speed, you got to have a good balance as well. It’s 500 miles. It’s interesting for you to go and do two laps, but it’s different when you’re going to do 200 laps.
“In that particular area, yes, I feel that maybe our Chevy has a little bit more power. But when you go into the race, it evens out. I think the best combination, setup and engine and driver, will be the winner.”
Both Power and Allmendinger have gone into the weekend saying they will do whatever it takes to help Castroneves win the championship. But after the recent manipulation scandal in NASCAR at Richmond, what exactly does that mean to a race driver?
“Obviously, if Helio is coming up behind me, definitely make it easy for him to get by,” Power said. “He needs to lead the most laps. Yeah, I’ll do whatever I can to help him out.
“I want to have a good race. If that means just sitting behind him all day, that’s fine. It’s about the team.
“I can take a very high line, let’s just say that.
“If you just sit there and say, I’m going to race my teammate really hard for the win, what are we talking about? Everyone knows what the deal’s going to be. That’s what it’s going to be. Every single team in this pit lane in this situation would do the same thing. Not just back off over the line. It is what it is. Not going to let him go, but not going to race him hard. “
Castroneves vows he is going to race as hard as he can throughout the 500 mile race and knows the only attitude he has is to win and not pay attention to where Dixon is on the track.
“We’re going to race as hard as we can without taking each other out,” Castroneves said. “We’ll see what happens. If we got in that position, that’s a great problem to have. Hopefully it will be like that, then we’ll talk about it later.”
Team Penske has three cars in the race; Target/ Chip Ganassi has two with Dixon and Alex Tagliani, who is filling in for the injured Dario Franchitti.
“I hope is an advantage but, c’mon, Scott and Ganassi, it’s not the first-time rodeo for them,” Castroneves said. “They know what they need to do. We know what we need to do, as well.”
Also, Andretti Autosport is expected to announce on Saturday that it will leave Chevrolet and return to Honda for the 2014 season, according to sources.