Helio Castroneves out to win his first IndyCar Series title

Posted Saturday, Jun. 08, 2013  comments  Print Reprints

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IndyCar Series co-leader Helio Castroneves is winless, but if he stays at the top of the standings, he’ll be happy to remain winless.

“That’s not our goal — the goal is to win the championship,” he said. “If it takes more second places than firsts to win the championship, then sign me in. I’m in, and I’m ready to do that.”

Castroneves enters Saturday night’s Firestone 550 tied for the series lead with Marco Andretti. Neither has won this year, and neither has won a series championship.

Each has been out of the top 10 in only one race this season.

“Marco started very young, and he is still a very young driver, but the experience he has accumulated over the years is paying off,” Castroneves said. “Probably, that’s why he’s sharing the top spot in the championship with me. It looks like he understands that even if you don’t have a car to win, it’s good to be patient.”

Castroneves is in his 13th year in IndyCar. He has been the points runner-up twice, in 2002 and 2008.

“A win, certainly, is a great feeling,” he said. “A championship, I don’t know that yet, and I would love to have that feeling at the end of the season.”

Power pole

Will Power won the pole Friday, his second pole position of the season and 31st career, tying him with Dario Franchitti and Sebastien Bourdais for seventh all-time.

“Last year, we thought we should have been on the pole, but we got it right this time,” said Power, who started fifth and finished eighth last year.

Marco Andretti is second, and Ryan Hunter-Reay is third, his best starting position at TMS. His previous best was 10th in 2008.

E.J. Viso earned his fifth consecutive top-five start.

Penalty overreaction

The IndyCar Series overreacted with penalties for driver behavior this week, Mario Andretti said.

“These guys are not kindergartners. They’re professionals, and they have emotions,” he said. “All sports are full of emotions. I could see if it’s out of hand. This is not out of hand. It’s just displaying personality.”

Sebastian Saavedra was fined $30,000 for an obscene gesture to Marco Andretti (the grandson of Mario) after contact between their cars at Detroit. Will Power was put on probation for throwing his gloves at Sebastian Bourdais after an accident, and Bourdais was put on probation for his comments to race officials after the accident.

“If A.J. Foyt and I had been fined for everything we said, we’d both be broke,” Mario Andretti said.

Munoz chances

Andretti Autosport would like to get “one or two” more races late in the year for Carlos Munoz, team owner Michael Andretti said.

Munoz, who started second at the Indianapolis 500 for Andretti Autosport, is running full time in the developmental Indy Lights series.

“We would love to be able to do it,” Andretti said. “As you see, we think he’s a great talent. He has to focus on his Indy Lights championship, too, that we’re going to try to win with him.”

Fun watching

Will Power said IndyCar Series racing is giving him the most enjoyment of the racing he watches.

“It’s about the only series I’ve watched and really enjoy just watching and not knowing who’s going to win, really, until the last 20 laps or so of the race,” he said.

Six drivers have won the seven races so far this year. None have been from big-budget Penske Racing or Chip Ganassi Racing.

Carlos Mendez, 817-390-7760 Twitter: @calexmendez

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