Castroneves Claims Pole After Weepers Cancel Iowa Qualifying

June 20, 2009

NEWTON, Iowa - Helio Castroneves insisted Penske Racing teammate Will Power join him Saturday evening as he accepted the pole position award for the Iowa Corn Indy 250 at Iowa Speedway.

That's because qualifying was canceled after trouble with seeping moisture on the racetrack, following heavy rains on Friday, prevented cars from getting on track. According to IndyCar Series rules, the starting lineup is set by entrant points when qualifying is cancelled. That put Castroneves' No. 3 Team Penske Dallara/Honda on the pole position and Ryan Briscoe's No. 6 Team Penske Dallara/Honda next to it on the front row.

It also put Castroneves in a sharing mood.

"I have to thank Will for this," Castroneves said as he accepted the pole award. "His help definitely helped me get the No. 1 position in the pits and helped me win this pole position. Unfortunately for the fans, they didn't get to see the excitement of qualifying. Fortunately, I ended up getting into a great situation with a good starting position."

Power drove the No. 3 car while Castroneves missed the IndyCar Series season opener in April at St. Petersburg, Fla. Power's effort at St. Pete - he qualified sixth and finished sixth - is a big reason why the No. 3 car leads the entrant points, a benefit that played a major role in Castroneves' win June 6 at Texas Motor Speedway when he had the first pit box due to entrant points and captured the race lead after a late stop.

"I always like to help out," Power said. "Starting on the pole here is really important, so it's great to see the two Team Penske cars on the front row. I love working with this team, and I have two great teammates. We all work well together. I experienced it during the month of May. I'm very glad to help out."

Briscoe, who leads the driver championship standings, indicated he was happy to start on the front row but would rather have qualified.

"It's unfortunate," he said. "But the good thing is we're up there in the points and get the front-row start. Hopefully that will help us tomorrow. I felt good for qualifying. I felt like Team Penske had a shot at the pole."

Sunday's race is scheduled to begin at 1:30 p.m. ET and will be televised by ABC-TV.

"Now that we have a Team Penske front row," Castroneves said, "we'll go for the win tomorrow."