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Castroneves wins second-day Detroit race

The SportsXchange

DETROIT -- Roger Penske should have been the one climbing the fence Sunday at Belle Isle Park.

A day after seeing Team Penske driver Will Power win the first leg of the Chevrolet Indy Dual in Detroit, the promoter of this Verizon IndyCar Series weekend saw another of his drivers, Helio Castroneves, win the second.

Castroneves won the race by 1.6836 seconds, scoring the 29th victory of his career. That ties him with Rick Mears for 11th place on the sport's all-time list. Of course, Mears won all those races with Penske.

"Oh, wow, I'm honored," Castroneves said of Mears, his mentor. "He does have more Indy 500 wins."

Castroneves celebrated this win by climbing a fence, which became his signature Spiderman move after winning a Champ Car race here in 2000, his first year with Team Penske.

Power was a winner, too. By finishing second in Sunday's race, he gained 30 points on Ryan Hunter-Reay, the 500 winner who finished 19th, to take a 19-point lead over Castroneves into Saturday night's oval-track race at Texas Motor Speedway.

Power even overcame a penalty on the first lap. He went to the inside lane to pass his nemesis, Simon Pagenaud, and he might have grabbed another position or two had his car not hopped over the curb in Turn 7 and hit Josef Newgarden, who spun.

Newgarden's car collected Graham Rahal's, and Justin Wilson was helpless in following them in. Wilson hit the back of Rahal's car.

After several minutes of review, Power was penalized a drive through pit road, dropping him to the back of the order. But he kept battling, kept driving the wheels off the car. By the time Mike Conway pitted on Lap 26, Power had cycled through to the lead. As the race settled into its second half, Power was the first one chasing Castroneves.

Sebastien Bourdais created the last bit of drama with wall contact on Lap 60. That erased Castroneves' 9.5-second lead and set up two sprints to the finish, but the 500 runner-up was up for both.

On those restarts with seven and then three laps to go, Power said he was not going to do anything to jeopardize the team's 1-2 finish.

"The last thing Roger wants to see is two cars in the wall there," he said.

Power insisted there were no team orders.

"Roger's a racer; he never gives team orders," he said. "Helio was very quick anyway, it would have been difficult to get by him."

Castroneves was sure he was going to win.

"I wasn't even looking to the mirror," he said. "I don't want to sound cocky, but I was confident I had the car."

Castroneves said Penske sounded nervous on the radio, barking out commands to pick up the pace to keep Power behind him. The Brazilian fired back.

"He needs to chase me; I don't need to go faster," Castroneves said. "I think he understood."

Rahal finished 21st due to the contact started by Power hitting Newgarden.

The other crash in the second race involved Ryan Briscoe, who had the middle car in a three-wide situation in Turn 3 on Lap 35. Briscoe was last into the group that included Takuma Sato on his left and rookie Jack Hawksworth on his right. Sato spun. No penalties were issued.

Notes: One day after Will Power and Simon Pagenaud banged wheels, they started the second race together on the fourth row. Power had said Pagenaud likes to make side wheel contact on purpose as if to say "I'll give that just to say hello and hurt your wrist if I can." Pagenaud denied doing any such thing. ...Takuma Sato was the surprising pole winner for the second race, delivering the session's fastest lap in the final seconds. The pole was the fifth of his IndyCar career and his second this season. A.J. Foyt Racing's driver also was the top qualifier for the season-opening race in St. Petersburg, Fla. ...James Hinchcliffe was again second best in a qualifying session. Not only did he start second for the second day in succession, he has been in that position five times in seven races this season without being higher. ...Former IndyCar driver EJ Viso continued to dominate the Stadium SuperTruck Series, a support division of IndyCar promoted by off-road standout Robby Gordon. Viso won a series race for the third consecutive day.

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