Helio Castroneves maintains championship lead after Iowa Corn 250

Chris Trotman

Helio Castroneves struggled to a eight-place finish on Sunday at Iowa but held on to the IndyCar championship lead by virtue of winning Saturday's final heat race.

Between the points-paying heat races on Saturday and the Sunday main event, the championship implications were huge over the weekend at Iowa Speedway for the IZOD IndyCar Series.

A standard qualifying session will pay just one bonus point to the pole-sitter but Saturday's third heat race paid up to 12 points to the top-nine drivers.

And at the middle point of the season, the big players came out on top with Helio Castroneves winning the final heat and James Hinchcliffe picking up his Series-leading third win on Sunday in the Indy Iowa Corn 250.

Once the dust had settled, Helio Castroneves maintained his championship lead over Ryan Hunter-Reay but the defending champion cut his gap to 11 points after Castroneves finished eighth. Hunter-Reay was second to Hinchcliffe on Sunday.

Marco Andretti lost some ground to both leaders after finishing ninth on Sunday - he trails by 55 points.

By virtue of his third win, and first on an oval, Hinchcliffe climbs to fourth but is 66points out, the result of several tail-end finishes to go alongside his victories. His position now solidifies the Andretti Autosport championship hopes with three team drivers all chasing Team Penske's Castroneves for the top spot.

The official championship order after Iowa can be found below.

  1. Helio Castroneves
  2. Ryan Hunter-Reay -11
  3. Marco Andretti -55
  4. James Hinchcliffe -66
  5. Tony Kanaan -79
  6. Simon Pagenaud -91
  7. Scott Dixon -92
  8. Takuma Sato -99
  9. Justin Wilson -105
  10. Will Power -123
  11. EJ Viso -129
  12. Dario Franchitti -130
  13. Ed Carpenter -139
  14. Charlie Kimball -139
  15. Graham Rahal -150
  16. Josef Newgarden -150
  17. James Jakes -160
  18. Simona de Silvestro -180
  19. Oriol Servia -181
  20. Tristan Vautier -185

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