Castroneves Leads Final Day at Barber Open Test

March 15, 2011

LEEDS, Ala. (March 15, 2011) - Team Penske's Helio Castroneves set the fastest lap during day two of the IZOD IndyCar Series pre-season open test at Barber Motorsports Park. Castroneves, driving the No. 3 Guidepoint Systems Team Penske Dallara/Honda, turned a lap of 1:11.9434 Tuesday around the scenic 2.3-mile permanent road course.

The winner of the inaugural Grand Prix of Alabama at Barber last season, Castroneves recorded his fast time late in the afternoon session. Fellow Team Penske drivers Will Power and Ryan Briscoe were also among the fastest drivers of the day as Power clocked the second-quickest time and Briscoe owned the fourth-fastest lap overall. Castroneves pushed very hard to earn the top time of the test as the No. 3 car went off track after setting the fast lap.

"I was expecting something different from the car because it kept changing throughout the day based on the track," said Castroneves, the three-time Indianapolis 500 champion. "I was expecting the car was going to push but it went the opposite way. The good news is that nothing was damaged. The field is so competitive - we have some new teams up at the top giving us a hard time. Also my teammates, they are two great talents - Ryan and Will - (we were) pushing each other but I'm glad we were able to put the No. 3 Guidepoint Systems car up at the top at the end of the day."

After a cold and wet start to the day after hard rains overnight, INDYCAR officials adjusted the schedule to allow the track to dry. The day wound up being perfect for testing with scattered clouds and comfortably cool temperatures in the afternoon, which led to fast times on track.

"This was a really good couple of days of testing and our Verizon car was very good," said Power, who topped Monday's practice times and also paced the abbreviated morning session on Tuesday. "We did a lot of work and learned tons of valuable information about our car here at Barber. Today we practiced pit stops, which are every bit as important as speed on the track with how tight the competition is in this series. I am definitely ready to get this season started."

The second day of the test demonstrated that all three Team Penske cars were very competitive as all three drivers spent time atop the leader board at some point over the course of the day.

"It was a really good couple of days here at Barber for the No. 6 IZOD Team Penske car," said Briscoe. "We are very happy with the car we finished with today. We even did a long run, which compromised our chance to do a sticker tire run for time, but we did a lot of great race prep and we should be in good shape for the race here in a few weeks. This is an exciting track and I'm very happy to be back in an IndyCar."

The IZOD INDYCAR Series season is set to open with the Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg on March 27 and the race will be televised live on ABC beginning at 12:30 pm ET. The series will then return to Barber Motorsports Park for the Honda Grand Prix of Alabama on April 10.