Tempers Flared in Late Stages at Road America

Photo Credit: IndyCar

As the laps of the Kohler Grand Prix of Road America at Road America were winding down, Ryan Hunter-Reay, Charlie Kimball and Helio Castroneves were battling hard for positions fourth through sixth.

The battle grew so intense at one point INDYCAR Race Control said Castroneves had blocked Kimball and told the Brazilian driver over the radio to either “yield to position or be penalized.”  So Spiderman let RHR pass him, which INDYCAR said that was legal and fit the bill.    

Ultimately, the series decision did not sit well with Kimball as he felt he got the short end of the stick.

Meanwhile, RHR had another battle going on as well, as he was battling the Flu and a slight temperature. The sickness didn’t help in putting his anger aside, as the fourth place finisher made it clear post-race he wasn’t happy and he wanted to speak to Kimball about being “ran off the track in sixth gear”.

“It was good in all considering, we really had to fight for it today,” Hunter-Reay added. “The car was not ideal in the beginning of the race, especially on used reds and blacks. Once we got going, in the end the – I think with the rubber down (on the track), everything started to suit us. The DHL car was good at the end. We had a pretty good fight with a few (other cars). There was some pretty dirty racing though by a couple others, but we’ll talk about all of that stuff here after the weekend. Just really great to see the fan turn out today here at Road America – any time you see a bunch of fans starting right away on Friday, you know it’s going to be a good weekend.”

Castroneves, a three-time Indy 500 winner, was very confused by the call made by Race Control.

“We tried to play a little bit safe and I tried to get the position – I literally did not see the guy,” Castroneves said. “Unfortunately, they’re calling it blocking. Now I have to give the position and they’re going crazy so I don’t know what to do. Then the 22 (Pagenaud) is having the issue so they’re telling me to pass the 22. It’s frustrating…it’s a shame. I don’t think we had a winning car, but a top-five is good for the points.”

Castroneves went on to say that it was a great day for the team, despite being disappointed in the fact they could’ve done better had they done some things differently at certain portions in the race. 

“I’m proud of my guys and can’t thank them enough for their hard work,” Castroneves added. “The event here this weekend was spectacular. The fans were just great. I hope we can keep coming back here.” 

Kimball, who got the short end of the stick finishing sixth, feels race control failed him.  He also wasn’t too happy with RHR as well.

“A lot of credit to the Novo Nordisk team today,” Kimball said.  “It’s nice to see Tony Kanaan on the podium and it was too bad for Scott Dixon. We worked a lot on the setup with Max Chilton’s guys and that was really helpful. I had a really good run on Helio (Castroneves) but he blocked me there toward the end. Then he gave a position back to Hunter-Reay and not me so I’m not sure what went down there. A lot of credit to the 83 guys on pit lane today. They kept giving me positions on pit lane. I’m pretty happy with the result and the fans were just incredible this weekend at Road America.”

While all of this was going on at the front of the field, mid pack Juan Pablo Montoya battled Josef Newgarden for seventh and saw everything that was going down in front of him.

“I’m not a big fan of how Charlie races,” Montoya quoted.  “He’s banging people on the straightaways, sending people off the track. It’s disappointing when people race like that.  We raced but we gave each other room. We were going at it, but giving each other room. I’m okay with that. I’m not okay with crowding people through the grass, and that’s Charlie. I’m just being honest. Ask others and they’ll tell you the same thing.”

Montoya noted he wasn’t happy with his finish, but stated it’s hard to put yourself up in the top-five when you start as far back as he did.

“We had really good pace in the DeVilbiss Chevrolet, but there’s nothing you can do to advance that many positions,” Montoya added. “We executed well. We did make a couple small mistakes in the first run, but we kind of got with the program and got better and better. We had a fun day. It was so exciting to come back to Road America. This place is incredible. It’s just amazing. If anyone complains about the racing today, then they should go watch horse racing or something.”