Edmonton good to Team Penske

Race winner Helio Castroneves of Brazil, driver of Penske Truck Rental Dallara Chevrolet is sprayed...

Race winner Helio Castroneves of Brazil, driver of Penske Truck Rental Dallara Chevrolet is sprayed with champagne by second place finisher Tukuma Sato of Japan, driver of the Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing Dallara Honda on the podium for the Edmonton Indy on Sunday. (Chris Trotman/Getty Images/AFP)

TERRY JONES, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 9:12 PM ET

EDMONTON - It's Penske Place.

All Roger Penske does at the Edmonton Indy is win and place people on the podium.

Helio Castroneves gave Penske his 359th career victory in the sport and what would have been his fourth win in five Edmonton Indy races if Castroneves hadn't been black flagged after he took the checkered flag in 2010.

Even as it is, Castroneves win made it three Penske wins here in five years while Will Power ending up in third, made it eight podium finishes of a possible 15.

“I like the odds every time I come here,” said Castroneves after finally climbing the fence for the fans here after having the win taken away and finishing second in 2008, 2009 and 2011.

“I like the odds every time I come over here. I think the place suits our set-up and our drive style as well,” said Castroneves.

“I don't know if it's the set-up philosophy,” said Power, who won the race in 2009 and 2011.

“It's hard to say. I would say in the past it probably was, on the original track here. But this is a very different track. We still came here and won last year and won this year, too.

“Some places just click for you. Some, every single time you go there, you get punished. But this place is a good one for me and for the team.”

Penske passed the credit around for this one.

“Helio did a great job,” said the man who first brought Mark Donohue here for a Can-Am race in 1968 and won two Can-Am and two Trans-Am races here in the Edmonton International Speedway days as part of his incredible win total which also includes 14 Indianapolis 500s, by fan the most of any owner.

“It's a credit to the team when you see the competitive field out there. You can't make a mistake.

“I take my hat off to Helio. It was a tough race. When they run that close for that many laps, I've got to take my hat off. And for Will Power coming from 17th, it was a great day for Penske Racing.”

Castroneves held off Japan's Takuma Sato to win the first non-oval race to go green from beginning to end since the caution-free Portland ChampCar Series race of 2007 while Penske team-mate Power put himself on the podium on third.

Canada's Alex Tagliani led more laps than anybody else in the race but lost the lead in the second round of pit stops when Team Penske put Helio Castroneves in and out a second quicker than Tagliani.

Power was happy to settle for third.

“Considering it was all green there was no such thing as a lucky yellow or a restart and gaining on the restart. Those are the sort of days you love. We don't get them very often in IndyCar to be full green on tracks where you can pass. So, yeah, I'm very happy.

“I would have been much more happy if I could have at least caught up to these guys and had a battle. But they were running fast. I could see them battling. I was hoping they would come together,” he laughed.

It was the second win of the season for Castroneves. He won the first race of the series in St. Petersburg, Fla.. And it set up the interesting possibility of Power and Castroneves having a Team Canada battle for the series title in the final four races of the series.

While Hunter-Reay kept the lead with 362 points, Castroneves moved into second with 339 and Power sits third with 339.

“Man, this is going to be a fight to the very end,” said Power. “I would expect that to be the case going into the last race. I think he's going to be right there at the end.

“What do you do? You just race him hard. Helio is definitely doing a good job. He's going to be tough to beat.”

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terry.jones@sunmedia.ca


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