Hinchcliffe races to win in Sao Paolo
Marco Andretti completed the podium much to the delight of his Andretti Autosport crew.
Oriol Servia and Josef Newgarden rounded out the top-5.
Josef Newgarden, who was running 0.5285 of a second behind Sato on Lap 70 of 75, finished a career-high fifth after making up 20 spots relative to his starting position.
Sato acquired the lead when leader JR Hildebrand pitted under caution on Lap 57. On the Lap 60 restart, Newgarden's No. 67 Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing car and Simon Pagenaud in the No. 77 Schmidt Hamilton HP Motorsports car both overtook Hinchcliffe.
Sato, who logged the final 38 laps (96.2 miles) on a set of Firestone alternate tires, takes a 12-point lead over Andretti in the championship standings heading into the 97th Running of the Indianapolis 500 Mile Race on May 26. Helio Castroneves, who led in points through three races, is third after placing 13th on the 2.536-mile, 11-turn temporary street circuit. Hinchcliffe moved to fourth (22 points back).
INDY 300 POST-RACE QUOTES:
MICHAEL ANDRETTI (Owner, Andretti Autosport): "That's IndyCar racing. That's what it's about. It seems that so many of these races go down the last turn of the last lap. That's what makes this such a great sport. I'm glad we came out on the good end of the stick for sure. It's awesome to have two cars on the podium. Ryan was on pole but unfortunately had bad luck with a flat tire, which if not for that, I think he would have been on the podium as well. All-in-all it really was a great weekend for the whole Andretti Autosport group. (Strategy for James heading to the end): Finish ahead of the cars in front of you (laughter). That was basically it, and that's what he did."
LARRY FOYT (Team Director, A.J. Foyt Racing): "It's been a great turnaround for our team for sure. We struggled for speed actually this weekend in Brazil, we struggled to find a set up. Takuma just drove another good race and the guys had a good pit stops. It was funny the way the yellows were falling. It was kind of a gamble on what we did and we got lucky it worked out. We had a chance to win it and Takuma had a chance to win it, we just ran out of tires at the end. The guys, our engineers and Takuma just never gave up. (On momentum going into Indy): I don't think I've ever come down Gasoline Alley and had to take a left to our pit box. This team is really doing a fantastic job. Takuma is driving just amazingly. It's been good so going into the month of May, obviously this is a long month and anything can happen, but always a positive to have good momentum going into Indy.
JOSEF NEWGARDEN (No. 67 Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing Honda): "I thought we had a really strong race. Good solid points, top five is really good going into Indy, especially considering where we started. And that's exactly what we wanted to do coming out of here is to score solid points and get good momentum going into the 500, and I think we have that. A little bit of a disappointment, I think we had a better car than fifth, but you've got to take what you can sometimes. I'm pleased for all the hard work that gets put in for everyone here and that's been put in for the last year, and it's good to get representative results. We will try to take this momentum and do well at the 500."
ORIOL SERVIA (No. 22 Panther DRR Chevrolet): "It was a great car today. The last two races I had a great car in qualifying. The way the wrecks in qualifying have gone, we have started at the back, but we have gone through the field twice today and finished fourth. I really thought we had a podium; really we had a car to win. It's just I don't know what is going to happen in the future. We just announced that the team is out of money after Indy so we are hoping we can put it together. We work so hard to have the car and the team we have. We are contenders. We just need to find a little more money to continue, but I'm very happy today. We are working well we are doing our jobs right and something is going to happen."
HELIO CASTRONEVES (No. 3 Hitachi Team Penske Chevrolet): "The Hitachi car was pretty good all day and for most of the race we were getting the breaks we needed with the caution flags to move up the field. Unfortunately things got a little anxious on the restart and we got some damage to the front wing and rear tire. Even then, I thought we could make a move but it was tough to talk strategy with the lack of radio communication in many places. But we are happy to still be in the top three in points and hopefully we can now turn to page to what should be a great Indy 500"
SIMON PAGENAUD (No. 77 Schmidt Hamilton HP Motorsports Honda): "It was a tough day at the office today. We had a good recovery from qualifying to finish in the top 10, which is hard to do when you start at the back of the field. The team did a fantastic job at the strategy to put our car as high as third. Our recovery was good, but it was a really difficult race. We struggled here but we're working at it and we learned a lot. It will be good for the future." (About moving on to Indianapolis): "
"I'm looking forward to going to the ovals now since we've been struggling on the street circuits. We have a strong oval package that we've been working on all winter. It will be nice to be back home for sure and see what we can do at the biggest race of our year."
E.J. VISO (No. 5 Team Venezuela-Andretti Autosport-HVM Chevrolet): "Finishing sixth is not really what we expected. It was a race full of surprises, and unfortunately that last stop was not for us. Luck was not on our side; we pitted right before the yellow came out and it didn't play in our favor. Going from ninth after that to come to sixth after passing some cars, we knew we had the pace, and we are here to win races. I'm very happy for James' second win and Marco's podium. It's something that only gives us confidence as a team to keep working hard for the next races."
RYAN HUNTER-REAY (No. 1 DHL Chevrolet): "Extremely disappointing today. Absolutely had the car to win. The guys gave me a great, great carâ€¦the pit stops were awesome. Definitely needed to capitalize on this opportunity, but we got a flat tire about halfway through the race which pretty much sidelined us. We pit super early on the last stop, had to save fuel the remainder of the race. I was lifting halfway down the straightaway soâ€¦ we were wounded and stayed that way. Happy for the teammates - James on the win and Marco on the third."
TRISTAN VAUTIER (No. 55 Schmidt Peterson Motorsports): "It was a rough day. Our pace was ok and we had a good strategy. The first part of the race was great because I made up a lot of positions. The last caution threw off our strategy though, and we lost a ton of positions. To top it off we ran out of fuel on the big straightaway of the final lap and lost two more spots. We put ourselves in a tough situation yesterday with my qualifying mistake, and then things didn't go our way today in the race. The crew did a fantastic job getting the car back together though and we're looking forward to Indy with rookie orientation in just five days."
SCOTT DIXON (No. 9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing): "The start was okay, the pace was good. We were saving fuel and keeping pace with the others pretty good, hoping that we would run the full-course of the first stint and maybe go a few laps further and jump a few people. We had the caution and the first restart, where we were fine, second restart, got into Helio and broke the front wing. After that, it was real easy to lock the front tires so we slipped back. I think strategy-wise it might have been better to start on blacks, like everybody else, and run the course that way but it's just one of those days where the car initially had good speed but once the stuff started rolling downhill it started rolling pretty good."
CHARLIE KIMBALL (No. 83 Novo Nordisk Chip Ganassi Racing): "It was a really solid day for the No. 83 Novo Nordisk car. I really can't say enough about the Chip Ganassi Racing guys, not just help from my teammates but these guys in pit lane were rock solid. We had great pace; we were able to get quicker all-day long, pass cars and move forward. We were able to take advantage of a pretty aggressive strategy. I'm happy to leave here with another top-10. Heading into Indy we needed another good result. Another top-10 will really help our momentum and confidence as we head toward the big one."
DARIO FRANCHITTI (No. 10 Lexar Honda): "The Lexar car was very quick today. Unfortunately, there were pretty disastrous pit stops where we lost a lot of stops both times. I used my overtakes to get back through, so it was a shame, because the car was a lot better than that today. I think the boys in engineering boys did a great job to get here with a good car. We have to have perfect days, and we didn't there, so it's back to the drawing board."
ED CARPENTER (No. 20 Fuzzy's Vodka/Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet): "We were running some very competitive laps in the middle of race and, but on a restart, I got pushed into the outside wall in Turn 1. I thought I was going to make through the incident OK, but then someone slid into me and I nipped the wall. At the end, we were playing the fuel strategy pretty well but I clipped the wall with the left rear. It bent the toe link, so we pitted for a few laps. It was a good exercise for the crew but it cost us some positions. Overall, the results don't show how well the Fuzzy's car worked today. But we have to get back home now and get ready for the 500. Everyone on the team is excited about going to IMS including me. I think we are well prepared for the 500 this year."
GRAHAM RAHAL (No. 15 blu eCigs Honda): "At the start, we kind of faded a little bit and I don't know why. I couldn't initially get by many people then all of a sudden the blu eCigs car came to us a few laps in and we started to charge back up through the field. We got lucky with the one yellow and barely made it into pit lane. Then unfortunately got hit by James on the one restart and went from probably looking at a sure-bet podium to last place. We were first at the time and that would have put us first when it all thorough. At the point I had been struggling with brakes a little bit and I drove into Turn 1 and locked the right front and I couldn't get it unlocked. I don't know what else to say I couldn't get it unlocked, I tried to center the tire to have a lane and it didn't work. I am very frustrated. The car was quick. Was it the quickest? No, but it was quick enough so I am pretty disappointed."
SIMONA DE SILVESTRO (No. 78 Nuclear Entergy Areva KVRT Chevrolet): "I think it was a really good race. We had to save fuel on the strategy we ran and with the yellows we got stuck behind slower traffic. The last stint we could go hard and we passed a lot of cars. That was a lot of fun. I wish the whole race would have been like that. I think it was good, but I think it would have been better if we had come in and got some more fuel to run harder. The car was on rails on blacks and on reds, so that was a lot of fun. It was a pretty good ending even though I think we had a chance to finish a little higher. I'm happy with my second straight top-ten finish."
JAMES JAKES (No. 16 Acorn Stairlifts Honda): "The start went pretty much as planned really. Everyone stayed in position for a little bit but then as the tires went off we managed to move the Acorn Stairlifts car up the grid a little bit. Then we had the restart after not pitting and I made a mistake, just got the brakes too hot. I wasn't able to stop the car and pushed Graham wide. Then we had to pit for a new wing. From then on, we were at the back but managed to pick people off again and were pretty aggressive. We got into the top six, a good position. It was difficult out there with the Chevy's being so strong in a straight line. You really had to be aggressive in your maneuvers. I was behind Marco and I tried to set him up for one of the corners and I just ran wide and hit the wall and had to come in for a new nose. That put us in the back again and we moved up a couple of spots from there. It was a tough weekend and we just wanted to get some solid points. They guys worked hard to switch over to the second chassis but it just wasn't to be. We will move on to Indy. Everyone is looking forward to going there. "
ANA BEATRIZ (No. 18 Ipiranga Honda): "I'm disappointed that we couldn't have had a better finish for our sponsor Ipiranga today. Things were going really well this weekend and we thought we were going to have a good result today in the race. The exhaust broke on the car and ended our day way too soon. I'm excited to be running again in the Indy 500 for Dale Coyne Racing and hopefully we can produce a good result there for Ipiranga."
JUSTIN WILSON (No. 19 Dale Coyne Racing Honda) : "I was trying to trying to pass Viso and I just locked up the brakes coming into turn five," said Wilson. "The front wing got wedged into the tires and we needed to be pulled out. That ended up putting us two laps down. I just feel bad for the No. 19 Boy Scouts of America team as they gave me a very competitive car today. Now we will focus on Indy for the next three weeks and hopefully bring the team a good finish."
SEBASTIAN SAAVEDRA (No. 6 Dragon Racing Chevrolet): "It's a very tough, to be honest. Starting in the back we made progress going towards the front, but in the end unfortunately, the fuel numbers didn't match up and we ended up doing another stop which destroyed us. So we'll learn from here and now we're on our way to Indy. It's been a tough start of a season, but we have the speed and we have the potential. We just need to put things together."
JR HILDEBRAND (No. 4 National Guard Panther Racing Chevrolet): "The definite good thing was that the National Guard Chevy was really good. We were really good in the tight sections of the track, and we tried hard to make for a neutral car, because we thought we'd be saving fuel. And it was working well for a while, and I was able to make up a lot of time in the infield sections where you're not saving fuel anyway, which allowed me to save a lot on the straights. Then the team lost telemetry, and when we lost it, we didn't have a clear understanding of where we were on fuel, so we ended up pitting at an inopportune time, and ended up behind everybody and still had to make as many stops as everybody in front of us. It was frustrating because we were going fast enough up front to hang with anybody. But, despite that, the last two weekends I don't think we've made a change to the car that hasn't made us better, so we're looking forward to Detroit and Toronto later in the year, which is something I haven't said in years past. But now it's time for Indianapolis - and that's our wheelhouse. Next week is as important as the first week on the racetrack to get prepared, so we'll be smart about that like we have in the past and we'll be hauling ass when we get there."
SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS (No. 7 Dragon Racing Chevrolet): "Overall it was a black and white day. There were some very good things and some very, very bad things. We made a mistake at the start, just touched James (Hinchcliffe) and unfortunately it was just enough to separate the end plate from the main plane. The wing just went like a parachute. So I made it to the fuel window that we could make it on three stops pretty easily, but it was just one of these things where everything went downhill pretty fast. We thought it was going to be a really good day after we cycled to the front. But my guys and the Sarah Fisher Hartman guys looked very much alike in black firesuits, and I didn't get anything on the radio saying they were laying out at the same time. I just got ready to pull in their box, and we were in the next box, so I came around but couldn't get back in. So we basically lost like six positions. Then there was another pile up that we ended up being a part of because we weren't where we were supposed to be. We had to put the old wing back on, which was broken. We were just going to try to make the best out of it and we had a very fast car. It's very frustrating for the guys at Dragon, but that's the way it is. We did the best we could with the circumstances."
ALEX TAGLIANI (No. 98 Barracuda Racing Honda): "The team made great improvements considering we weren't here last year, and we didn't know the track from a car and setup perspective. So with a two-day weekend and a quick turnaround, I think we had a good car for the race. We had good strategy and we were running up front. And then on the second restart, I got hit from the back. I came in to change a tire and then when we went back out we had to pound some fast laps to make it back up. The other yellow flag then came at the right time for us so we didn't improve as much as (Josef) Newgarden, who had a similar strategy as us. So a bit of bad luck there."
1. (5) James Hinchcliffe, Dallara-Chevy, 75, Running
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