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<< Sports >>

2014 MAVTV 500 :: IZOD IndyCar Series Championships

 

: : : AUTO CLUB SPEEDWAY IN FONTANA, CA : : :

~ Saturday, August 30, 2014 on NBC Sports ~

 

Tony Kanaan wins MAVTV 500; Will Power named 2014 IndyCar champion

Team Penske takes home its 13th IndyCar title

Photo credit: IndyCar.com

Tony Kanaan celebrates his first win in the 2014 season at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, Calif.

 

by Jason Rzucidlo
americajr@americajr.com

 

|

FONTANA, Calif. --This year’s MAVTV 500 went by very fast. Tony Kanaan took the checkered flag with by 3.67 seconds over his teammate Scott Dixon. Will Power finished ninth securing his first IndyCar title. Meanwhile, pole winner Helio Castroneves ended up in 14th position, dashing any hopes of becoming the IndyCar champion for this season.

"It's been a long time coming," Kanaan told IndyCar.com, who claimed his first victory since the 2013 Indianapolis 500 and announced that his wife, Lauren, was expecting their first child in January. "We had a team meeting this afternoon and (team owner) Chip Ganassi said if you win you can brag about it for seven months."

The race was completed in just two hours, 32 minutes and 58 seconds. That’s almost 45 minutes shorter than last year’s season-ending race at the Auto Club Speedway. There was only one caution flag due to Ryan Hunter-Reay spinning out in turn four from laps 175 to 186.

"It's 15 years of hard work. I was crying as I crossed the (finish) line," Power told IndyCar.com. “It’s surreal. It’s just a fantastic way to finish the season. I can’t believe I’m the champion.”

Will Power had the fastest lap in the race and the fastest leader lap with a speed of 218.982 mph on Lap 189. However, the average speed of the race was 196.111 mph.

There were 17 lead changes throughout the 250-lap race. Juan Pablo Montoya led the most laps at 85 while Tony Kanaan led 64 laps and Helio Castroneves led 41. Other lap leaders include Ryan Hunter-Reay with 26, James Hinchcliffe with 17, Will Power with eight, Scott Dixon with five, Ed Carpenter with three and Marco Andretti with one.

Castroneves started the race from the front and hoped to win his first IndyCar title. However, he was given a drive-through penalty for a pit lane entry violation on lap 218 that put him a lap down. Castroneves finished the race in 14th and second in the championship for the fourth time in his racing career.

“It’s another second, but well done to Will,” said Castroneves, a three-time Indianapolis 500 winner. “It stings a little bit, but it motivates me to come back stronger next year and win a championship.”

Mikhail Aleshin qualified seventh for Saturday’s MAVTV 500. He was involved in a multi-car crash on Friday night therefore he wasn’t able to start the race. Aleshin was upgraded to stable conidtion following a procedure for a chest injury at Loma Linda University Medical Center, according to a statement released by IndyCar.

A total of 1,980 Firestone Firehawk tires were delivered to Auto Club Speedway for the race. On April 20, 1994, Roger Penske and Kaiser announced the construction of the speedway on the site of the old Kaiser Steel mill. Team Penske’s Paul Tracy was the first driver to test on the track, but it took until 2013 for a Penske driver to win at the track.

Power permanently cemented into Fontana track’s history

Earlier on race day, Will Power added his footprints, signature and car number (12) to the speedway's Walk of Fame. A special plaque was also cemented in the ground. It is located outside of Gate C near the O'Reilly Fan Zone.

“I like him because of how exciting he drives,” says Brenda Clem, a racing fan from Fresno, Calif. “He’s aggressive, but not overly aggressive. He’s always going for that win. He’s such an amazing driver and such a nice guy too. I love all of the Penske guys. I think it’s fantastic. It’s so nice to see your driver win the race. I only get to go to one race a year. When I do, I try to see him multiple times. I get everything I can autographed.”

Steve McCulloh, another fan from Redondo Beach, Calif., added: “He seems to have the focus of a really good race car driver. This is great. I come out here for IndyCar, used to be CART, but I also do the Walk of Fames with NASCAR also. It’s just always nice to have them come out and make an impression. This is a major victory, not just a trophy. This is a piece of forever with their name on it and their footprints in it. It’s a nice thing that the track does. I love night races at the Auto Club Speedway.”

“I think he’s a good driver and I like his name,” said Ina Muckey, a fan from Camarillo, Calif. “We saw him win last year. We love watching all of the drivers get inducted if we can. We really like watching racing--any opportunity we can celebrate their wins, we participate in. We have season seats and we have been coming here since it opened. We very rarely have missed any races here.”

In other news, MAVTV has resigned its deal to continue as the title sponsor of the IndyCar race at the Auto Club Speedway for the next two years. Meanwhile, Helio Castroneves will have to wait one more year for another shot at becoming the IndyCar world champion.

Related Stories: Helio Castroneves practices with the L.A. Galaxy soccer team in Carson, CA; WATCH: Will Power's Walk of Fame ceremony at Auto Club Speedway

 

Photo credit: IndyCar.com

Power kisses the Astor Cup after becoming 2014 IndyCar Champion.

 

PHOTO BY JASON RZUCIDLO / ©AMERICAJR.com

Pit crew members

 

PHOTO BY JASON RZUCIDLO / ©AMERICAJR.com

Cars approaching the start-finish line at the Auto Club Speedway.

 

PHOTO BY JASON RZUCIDLO / ©AMERICAJR.com

The season-ending MAVTV 500 race under the lights

 

PHOTO BY JASON RZUCIDLO / ©AMERICAJR.com

Simon Pagenaud speeds off after getting new tires and fuel.

 

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