Helio Castroneves did just enough to pad his lead in the IZOD IndyCar Series championship standings on Sunday afternoon finishing just one spot ahead of Scott Dixon
The two finished sixth and seventh and Castroneves extended his lead to 31 points with just five races remaining.
It was the three-time Indianapolis 500 winner's 10th consecutive top-10 finish and 13th of the 14 races run to-date this season including a win at Texas Motor Speedway.
Castroneves wasn't happy with his car all weekend and qualified 15th. Finishing in the top-10 was an accomplishment according to Team Penske and beating Dixon on the track was an added bonus.
"If you would have told me we would have finished in the top-10 today, I would have said you were crazy," Castroneves said after the race. "We made great strategy calls throughout the race. Working with (Roger) Penske is awesome; he relays great information over the radio. It was a great day for our PPG Automotive Refinish Chevrolet."
The past few championships have all come down to the final race of the season and every point has been pivotal. Ryan Hunter-Reay edged Will Power by just three points last season, giving Castroneves an inside perspective at how quickly things could change.
"I know that it was only a sixth place finish but it could win the Championship at the end of the year," Castroneves said. "I have said all along that we will continue to do our thing and not change a thing and it will pay off at the end of the day."
In addition to finishing ahead of Dixon, Castroneves also minimized gains made by Ryan Hunter-Reay, who remains third in the standings.
Hunter-Reay led 30 laps on Sunday and earned a fifth-place finish but only gained four points on Castroneves. With five races remaining, he is still 65 points out of the top spot.
The top-10 in the championship standings can be found below.
- Helio Castroneves
- Scott Dixon -31
- Ryan Hunter-Reay -65
- Marco Andretti -76
- Simon Pagenaud -103
- Dario Franchitti -111
- Charlie Kimball -128
- James Hinchcliffe -128
- Justin Wilson -133
- Tony Kanaan -140