Houston, TX- Most people will talk about the gearing issues which plagued Helio Castroneves in the Houston weekend, and rightfully so.
The Brazilian entered the Duals with a 49 point lead over second place in the standings Scott Dixon. For two straight races though he had a faulty gear box giving him finishes of 18th and 24th respectively.
Those finishes dropped him out of the points lead heading into the season finale at Fontana.
But another big named driver, Ryan Hunter-Reay, had gear box issues in both races as well. The defending series champ developed issues in Saturday’s race as he finished 20th. On the Lap 30 restart the American developed another gearing issue as he reported that he lost fourth gear.
He brought the No. 1 DHL/Sun Drop Chevrolet down pit road on Lap 33 and the team went to work on the Andretti Autosport car. He would go on to finish 21st as it was his third straight 20th or worse finish as he finished 20th in Baltimore on Labor Day Weekend.
These bad gear boxes or electrical issues has dropped him out of championship contention as he is becoming very frustrated. It was his sixth finish outside the top 15 in the last eight races as that was a complete 180 compared to last year’s championship run.
He told many before the race today that he didn’t know how much longer he could take it. I can’t say I blame him as he had high hopes to defend his series championship this year. He won the second race of the season in Barber and had another string in the early Summer with five finishes third or better in six races.
From there it was all down hill.
Eric Smith is the Lead Motorsports Writer for Race Review Online. Follow him on Twitter @ericsportsguru
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