NEWTON, Iowa – Helio Castroneves ended a three-year victory drought today, winning the Iowa Corn 300 at Iowa Speedway to secure the 30th win of his 20-year Indy car career.
Castroneves, driving the No. 3 Hitachi Team Penske Chevrolet, led 217 of the 300 laps on the 0.894-mile oval and crossed the finish line 3.9647 seconds ahead of JR Hildebrand. The triumph is Castroneves’ first in the Verizon IndyCar Series in 54 races, since he won the first race of the Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix on June 1, 2014.
It also helped the 42-year-old Brazilian unofficially close within eight points of Scott Dixon for the championship lead after 11 of 17 races. Castroneves has never won a season championship.
Hildebrand, in the No. 21 Fuzzy’s Vodka Chevrolet for Ed Carpenter Racing, equaled his career-best finish first accomplished at the Indianapolis 500 in 2011. Ryan Hunter-Reay, a three-time winner at Iowa, finished third.
By leading the 217 laps, Castroneves passed Al Unser for fourth on the career laps-led chart with 5,947. He went from third place to first on Lap 268, passing Hildebrand and race leader Marco Andretti, and pulled away from there.
It was also the first win at Iowa for Team Penske in the 11th race at the track. With 30 wins, Castroneves broke a tie with Rick Mears for 12th place on the all-time list.
The Verizon IndyCar Series is in action again July 16 with at the Honda Indy Toronto on the streets of Exhibition Place. The race airs live at 3 p.m. ET on CNBC and the Advance Auto Parts INDYCAR Radio Network, with an encore presentation a7 7 p.m. on NBCSN.