IRL Finale To Castroneves
October 17, 2004 | 4:03 P.M. EST
Following the event, IRL officials deemed Castroneves jumped the Lap 198 restart, but did not take away the win. He was fined $50,000 and docked 15 driver points.
"To have the victory at the end of the season certainly brings a lot of momentum going into 2005," said Castroneves.
It was Castroneves' first victory of the season and the sixth of his IndyCar Series career. His last IRL win came at Nazareth in 2003. The triumph also marks the second of the season for Marlboro Team Penske and is the team's 12th in IRL competition.
Tony Kanaan drove from the eighth starting position to a second-place finish and, in the process, punctuated his 2004 IndyCar Series championship-winning season.
"At the end, I only had one shot," said Kanaan. "I was just trying to keep up behind Dan and Helio and that wasn't possible, so I set myself up to pass Dan on the last corner and it worked pretty well."
Kanaan concludes his championship-winning season with 618 points, the most ever by an IndyCar Series champion, as well as setting an IndyCar Series record by completing all 3,305 laps of competition this season.
Today along with celebrating the championship, Kanaan's primary sponsor, 7-Eleven, announced it has extended its sponsorship agreement with Andretti Green Racing.
Wheldon, who finished second in the standings in his sophomore season, finished third third in the Klein Tools Dallara-Honda.
"We just lacked speed on the day and I'm not exactly sure why," said Wheldon. "The guys have worked hard all season and they deserve to finish second in the championship and I'm just ashamed the race didn’t work out the way we wanted."
Vitor Meira finished fourth.
Adrian Fernandez, who was seeking his third consecutive victory finished fifth to score his sixth top-five of the season.
"It has been a fantastic year, especially after what happened at the beginning of the year when we started very late and had no preseason testing." said Fernandez. "We came from the back, so finishing fifth in the championship was a great achievement for our team."
Kosuke Matsuura, who finished 19th due to a gearbox problem, clinched the Bombardier Rookie of the Year title. Matsuura, who led the rookie points battle since the start of the season, entered the Chevy 500 race weekend with a 35-point lead over Ed Carpenter.
"I am pleased and very happy to earn Rookie of the Year," said Matsuura. "It is very special to me. This was my first year to race on the ovals, and so many people helped me with my learning curve. I think we showed several times this year that we have a lot of potential. Unfortunately, we also had some bad luck as well."
The IRL IndyCar Series will kick off the 2005 season at Homestead-Miami Speedway on March 5.
Scheckter Re-signs With Panther Racing
Panther Racing announced earlier today that Scheckter will drive for the team in 2005.
"I'm happy that I've re-signed again with these guys," Scheckter said. "I really get on with them, and hopefully we can get some better results for our sponsors next year."