Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama Preview
April 5, 2013
Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama
No. 2 IZOD Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet
Driven By AJ Allmendinger
No. 3 AAA Insurance Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet
Driven By Helio Castroneves
No. 12 Verizon Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet
Driven By Will Power
Race: Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama (2.38-mile road course)
Track: Barber Motorsport Park, Leeds, Ala.
Qualifying: Saturday 11:25 am ET (Broadcast on NBCSN at 5:00 pm ET)
Race: Sunday 3:00 pm ET (NBCSN)
Radio Broadcast: IMS Radio/SiriusXM 211
THE NEWS AND NOTES
IZOD IndyCar Series Championship Point Standing: N/A
· WELCOME BACK: Sunday’s race marks Allmendinger’s return to open-wheel racing after a seven-year hiatus competing in NASCAR.
· NOT YOUR AVERAGE NEWCOMER: Allmendinger brings a history of open-wheel racing success to Team Penske with five wins, two poles and 14 podium finishes in 40 previous CART/Champ Car World Series starts from 2004-2006
· BARBER EXPERIENCE: The American driver participated in Spring Training at Barber, working his way up to P15 in the last practice session and recording the second most completed laps of the 28 drivers to gain valuable track time in preparation for the race.
ON IF HE IS WHERE HE THOUGHT HE WOULD BE GOING INTO HIS FIRST RACE
“I wouldn’t say my comfort level is where I want it to be, but I am gaining more of that with each lap I’m in the IZOD car. It has been more difficult than I expected, not from a competition aspect because the racing has always been great, but these cars are so technologically advanced it really takes some time to get in front of the car.” – AJ Allmendinger
ON THE ADVANTAGE OF WORKING WITH A TEAM WITH SO MUCH SUCCESS AT BARBER MOTORSPORT PARK
“It really is a great advantage because I know whatever data they have is the best and the fastest. Helio and Will have set the standard and I am going to use their perspective every chance I get.” – AJ Allmendinger
THE NEWS AND NOTES
IZOD IndyCar Series Championship Points Standing: 2nd
· ST. PETE SUCCESS: Castroneves comes to Barber following a runner-up finish at St. Pete that saw him lead the most laps (46).
· OPENING WITH A BANG: The three-time Indianapolis 500 champion won the inaugural race at Barber in 2010 and captured the pole in 2012 on his way to a podium finish.
· CHAMPIONSHIP CONSISTENCY: Second place Castroneves enters the weekend a mere eight points behind leader James Hinchcliffe and he has finished 12 out of the last 16 races ranked in the top-three of the IZOD IndyCar Championship point standings.
· TURBO POWERED: Courtesy of Team Penske sponsor AAA, Castroneves’ car this weekend will feature branding for the IndyCar themed Turbo movie which will be released in July
ON CARRYING THE MOMENTUM FROM ST. PETE
“It was a great to start the season with a podium finish and we are confident that we can carry the momentum into Barber. The Hitachi Team Penske and Chevy guys proved they are able to put together a really fast car and we hope to repeat last year’s success again this year.” – Helio Castroneves
WHAT HE SEES AS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN ST. PETE AND BARBER
“Barber will be a different approach because of the high-speed corners and elevation changes. You also have tighter passing opportunities so you really have to be dialed in on when you want to make a move.” – Helio Castroneves
THE NEWS AND NOTES
IZOD IndyCar Series Championship Point Standing: 14th
· BARBER MASTER: Power has dominated the rolling hills at Barber, recording a pole win in 2010, winning from the pole in 2011 and recording another victory in 2012. He has led 124 of 270 possible laps over those three races.
· VIEW FROM THE FRONT: The Australian driver has started from the front row in eight of the last 11 races on road/street courses, with six of those starts coming from the pole position.
· GREAT REBOUNDER: Power has responded with a podium result in two of the last three races following a 16th place finish (which he recorded at St. Pete).
WHY TEAM PENSKE HAS BEEN SO SUCCESSFUL AT BARBER
“It really comes down to the Verizon Team Penske crew providing great race cars. The guys really do a great job here and there is usually a higher focus coming off the first race. It’s also a lot of fun for me to drive because it is so technical and we pull more G-forces here than any other road course ” – Will Power
ON IF HE LIKED THE WEEK OFF BETWEEN ST. PETE AND BARBER
“It was nice to have a break between to really get your head around what happened at St. Pete. I was able to gather my thoughts and think more about my approach. Of course you want to get back out and race as soon as possible but we needed to analyze what worked for us.”
– Will Power
PREVIOUS RACE RECAP
Dominating early with Power and Castroneves combining to lead the first 45 laps, the Team Penske drivers saw their races take unexpected twists as JR Hildebrand drove over Power’s Verizon car during a caution. That incident led to a 16th-place finish, and race runner-up Castroneves had his brakes lock up going into Turn 1, which allowed Hinchcliffe to pass him for the race lead.