SONOMA, Calif. — official series release — Chris Jones/IndyCar photo —
The six drivers mathematically eligible for the 2015 Verizon IndyCar Series championship heading into the race gathered to meet with media members prior to Thursday’s practice session at the twisting Sonoma Raceway.
While all five drivers trailing leader Juan Pablo Montoya realize their chances are slim, none are giving up.
“If there’s a chance, it’s possible,” said Helio Castroneves, driver of the No. 3 Hitachi Team Penske Chevrolet, who’s fifth in points and trails Montoya by 77. “That’s exactly the mentality we have.”
All of the contenders chasing Montoya know the script is simple: Each pretty much must win the 85-lap race Aug. 30 and hope Montoya doesn’t fare well.
“That’s the best-case scenario,” said Graham Rahal, who currently ranks 34 points behind Montoya in second place. “We finish third, fourth, fifth (in the race), it becomes obviously a bit more difficult because you’re banking on Juan finishing 12th or worse. I don’t think that’s likely. We’re going to go out there this weekend and do the best we can and try to get a win.”
“Our car seems good, it seems competitive, seems consistent. It would be nice to start up front, but who knows what can happen. It’s going to be a long race.”
Will Power is the defending series champion, but knows what must happen if he has any hope of a repeat.
“Basically, I have to win, I need to get the bonus points,” said Power, 61 points behind Montoya in fourth place. “These other guys have to have a really bad day. It’s obviously kind of a longshot, you could say, when you’re relying on someone to have a bad day, but it’s still mathematically possible.”
Power, Montoya and Castroneves all drive for Team Penske and make up half of the contenders’ field. When asked if there were any team orders this weekend, Power was quick to fire back with a reply.
“Don’t take your teammate out. If it’s not your teammate, take the others out, all of them.”
CREDIT: IndyCar Communications