Helio Castroneves escapes crash-filled Long Beach with points lead

Robert Laberge

Helio Castroneves battled back from a broken nose piece to score a top-10 at Long Beach. He leaves the third race of the season with a six-point championship lead over Takuma Sato.

Helio Castroneves maintained his championship lead in the IZOD IndyCar Series following a 10th-place Sunday on the streets of Long Beach. While it's his third-straight top-10 to open the season, it's also his first finish off the podium, which has invited the rest of the field to inch closer to the top spot.

Ultimately, Castroneves is relieved to have left the combustible Long Beach with the championship lead intact and is looking forward to reestablishing the momentum from the first two races. Like several other contenders on Sunday, Castroneves was continually bouncing off his rivals and at one point had to pit for a new nose piece.

"Tough day for the Auto Club Chevrolet, but my team did a great job getting me back out after our incident with the nose," Castroneves said. "I was trying to be careful but got bunched up and broke the front wing. At the end of the day the lemon became the lemonade with our finish. We are very happy to come out of here still leading the points and we have focus on what we need to do to improve."

As a result of his victory, Sato was the biggest gainer in the standings and jumped up nine spots to second place. He sits just six points out of the lead heading into the Sao Paulo Indy 300 from Brazil. The biggest loser of

  1. Helio Castroneves Ldr.
  2. Takuma Sato -6
  3. Scott Dixon -10
  4. Marco Andretti -12
  5. Justin Wilson -18
  6. Ryan Hunter-Reay -26
  7. Graham Rahal -33
  8. Will Power -37
  9. Simona de Silvestro -37
  10. James Hinchcliffe -38
  11. Charlie Kimball -39
  12. Tony Kanaan -40
  13. Simon Pagenaud -41
  14. Oriol Servia -42
  15. JR Hildebrand -45
  16. E.J. Viso -47
  17. Alex Tagliani -49
  18. Sebastien Bourdais -51
  19. Josef Newgarden -53
  20. Dario Franchitti -55
  21. Tristan Vautier -57
  22. James Jakes -59
  23. Ed Carpenter -63
  24. Ana Beatriz -69
  25. Sebastian Saavedra -74

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