Penske's Castroneves and Montoya puzzled by Phoenix tyre failures

Penske drivers Helio Castroneves and Juan Pablo Montoya were left perplexed by the tyre problems that forced them out of victory contention in the Phoenix IndyCar Series race

Penske's Castroneves and Montoya puzzled by Phoenix tyre failures

Castroneves started on pole and led the first 39 laps before cutting a left-front tyre and having to pit during green flag racing.

"The bizarre thing is I wasn't even pushing," Castroneves said.

"I was taking it easy and controlling the lead.

"I didn't have any indication of vibration and when I went into Turn 1 the car wouldn't turn. Then in Turn 2 the car wouldn't turn and it was too late.

"By the next lap, the tyre was gone. I came back to the pits and it was frustrating.

"It's a big loss. We had a big opportunity but I can't think anything about it."

REPORT: Dixon beats Penske pack for Phoenix victory

Castroneves' problem put team-mate Montoya in the lead and he was in front for 56 laps before having a vibration issue.

"I picked-up a vibration and every time I followed somebody, the vibration kept getting worse and worse," Montoya said.

"I passed [James] Hinchcliffe and the vibration was unbearable.

"It just blew up completely. It wasn't like a cut tyre that just goes down. It was like completely done.

"I saved the car because every time I pushed behind anybody I picked up the same vibrations and I just felt being where we were the last thing we needed was to go two laps down again because of a tyre.

"I just couldn't do anything."

Montoya led the series after winning the St Petersburg season-opener but is now down to third, nine points behind new leader and Penske team-mate Simon Pagenaud as he could only recover to ninth at Phoenix.

"It's not the finish we wanted, but we'll look ahead to Long Beach and go from there," he said.

Castroneves is sixth in the standings and has yet to finish on the podium this year.

He could only get back to 11th at Phoenix, where many drivers felt the downforce package and high speeds made passing tough.

"It was difficult to pass but I was able to fight back to the top 11," said Castroneves.

"I have to say I was surprised a big wreck didn't happen.

"It was a shame the second groove didn't open up. If we had a second groove it would be a better race."

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