Team Penske To Start Third and Fourth at Richmond Saturday

June 26, 2009

RICHMOND, Va. -- Team Penske's Helio Castroneves survived a scary moment on the third lap of his qualifying attempt Friday evening and the No. 3 Team Penske Dallara/Honda secured the third-place starting position for the SunTrust Indy Challenge at Richmond International Raceway..

Castroneves will start next to teammate Ryan Briscoe, who has finished second in three consecutive IndyCar Series events, when Saturday's race begins at 8:30 p.m. ET.

After the near spin during his qualifying run, Castroneves asked reporters their opinion of the anxious moment on the track.

"Did you see that?" he asked those gathered in the media bullpen shortly after he climbed from the car. "On TV it didn't look like much, but in the car I was like, ‘Whoa!'"

Castroneves got the No. 3 Team Penske car under control and completed the third and fourth laps to record an average speed of 165.931 mph, just a fraction better than Briscoe, who was clocked at 165.749 mph in the No. 6 Team Penske machine.

"That was too close," Catsroneves said, noting his crash last month during qualifying at Milwaukee. "I was just glued to the steering wheel, trying to steer as little as possible. We lost a little bit of time because of it. Milwaukee came into my mind a little bit. I just thought, ‘Man, let's just finish the thing.'"

Briscoe, the IndyCar Series points leader, said his primary goal as the championship comes into focus is to maintain consistency.

"We've been in contention everywhere, and that's got to be our goal in a championship," he said. "It's not easy to get the wins. Circumstances haven't worked out perfectly, but I don't think we need to do anything differently."

Penske Racing has had four pole positions in eight races this season. Castroneves has won once (2005) and finished second twice at Richmond's 0.75-mile oval. Briscoe now holds a slim two-point lead in the standings over Friday's polewinner, Dario Franchitti.

Saturday's 300-lap race will be televised live by Versus with coverage beginning at 8 p.m. ET.