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Team Penske Race Preview - Fontana's Auto Club Speedway

October 17, 2013




THE RACE

IZOD IndyCar Series MAVTV 500 at Auto Club Speedway
Fontana, Calif.
October 18-19, 2013

THE CARS

No. 2 IZOD Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet
Driven By AJ Allmendinger    

No. 3 Auto Club Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet
Driven By Helio Castroneves    

No. 12 Verizon Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet
Driven By Will Power

THE BROADCAST


Race: MAVTV 500
Track: Auto Club Speedway (two-mile superspeedway oval)

Qualifying: Friday, October 18 at 5:15 pm ET
(Broadcast on NBCSN at 7:00 pm ET)    
Race: Saturday, October 19 at 8:00 pm ET (NBCSN)
Radio Broadcast:  IMS Radio/SiriusXM 211

THE NEWS AND NOTES

AJ Allmendinger
No. 2 IZOD Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet
IZOD IndyCar Series Championship Point Standing: NA    

· WELCOME BACK AJ:  Allmendinger will make his sixth start for Team Penske this season when he competes in the 2013 IZOD IndyCar Series season finale on Saturday night. Allmendinger last raced in the Chevrolet Indy Dual in Detroit presented by Quicken Loans on the streets of Belle Isle in June.

· SUPERSPEEDWAY SPEED:  Allmendinger had a strong result in his only other oval start for Team Penske this season as he qualified fifth for the Indianapolis 500, led 23 laps and wound up finishing seventh.

· FAMILIAR WITH FONTANA: Though this weekend will be his first IZOD IndyCar Series start in Fontana, Allmendinger has a wealth of experience racing on the track in NASCAR. He has made nine Cup Series starts at Auto Club Speedway with a top finish of 14th. Allmendinger finished 16th at Fontana back in March.

· THANKS IZOD:  Allmendinger will drive the No. IZOD Dallara/Chevrolet this weekend in IZOD’s final race as title sponsor of the IndyCar Series. This marks the third time this season that Allmendinger has driven the IZOD car. He raced in the company’s colors at Barber Motorsports Park and at the Indianapolis 500 this season.

THE Q & A 
   

AJ ALLMENDINGER

HOW EXCITED ARE YOU TO COMPETE IN THE INDYCAR SEASON FINALE WITH SO MUCH ON THE LINE  

"It's going to be a lot of fun to get back behind the wheel of the No. 2 IZOD Team Penske Chevy this weekend. It's been a few weeks since I've raced in IndyCar so it'll be important in practice on Friday to get comfortable in the car and with our setup. It will be an honor to represent IZOD in their final race as series sponsor and hopefully we can come through in a big weekend for Team Penske."

WILL YOUR EXPERIENCE RACING AT AUTO CLUB SPEEDWAY IN NASCAR HELP YOU THIS WEEKEND?

“It’s always good to know the track but there’s such a big difference between a Cup car and an IndyCar that it really doesn’t translate over. I’ll be working hard to get familiar with the IZOD car from the first practice so I understand what we need to go fast around Auto Club Speedway. And having Helio and Will there will only help with that process.”


THE NEWS AND NOTES

Helio Castroneves
No. 3 Auto Club Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet
IZOD IndyCar Series Championship Points Standing: 2nd (-25)    

· GOING FOR THE TITLE:  Castroneves enters this weekend’s season finale trailing rival Scott Dixon by 25 points in the battle for the IZOD IndyCar Series title. Fontana marks the first event in 12 races that Castroneves enters a race weekend not sitting atop the point standings.

· TERRIFIC IN TESTING: On September 24, Castroneves and the majority of the IndyCar drivers tested at Auto Club Speedway in preparation of this weekend’s race. Castroneves posted one of the fastest times at the test and he carries a little extra confidence as a result entering the MAVTV 500.

· FEELIN’ FONTANA: In nine total IndyCar starts at Auto Club Speedway in his career, Castroneves has earned seven top-10 finishes. He’s won two pole positions at Fontana – in 2003 and 2004 – and he equaled his best finish at the track last season with a fifth-place result.

· LEADING THE WAY: Though he fell to second in the series standings after mechanical issues at Houston, Castroneves still leads the series in several key statistical categories. His 15 top-10 finishes leads all drivers and his average finishing position of 7.6 is also tops among all competitors. In addition, he’s the only driver to be running at the finish of all 18 series races in 2013.

· AUTO CLUB AWESOME: For the second time this season, Castroneves will race in the Auto Club of Southern California Dallara/Chevy this weekend. He also raced the Auto Club machine to a 10th-place finish at Long Beach back in April and he’s competed in the AAA Insurance car at Barber Motorsports Park and in his win at Texas Motor Speedway.
    

THE Q & A

HELIO CASTRONEVES

ARE YOU EXCITED ABOUT RACING FOR THE CHAMPIONSHIP THIS WEEKEND?

"It's going to be an exciting weekend at Auto Club Speedway. We have put what happened in Houston behind us and we are ready to go fight for the championship. We had a very fast Auto Club of Southern California car at the Fontana test a couple of weeks ago and we go into this weekend with a lot of confidence. I have all the faith in the world in my team and I know we are capable of getting the job done on Saturday night. Everyone should make sure they are watching, because I have a feeling this is going to be an awesome race."

DO YOU FEEL ADDED PRESSURE ENTERING THIS RACE AS YOU TRY TO WIN YOUR FIRST SERIES TITLE?

"The way I look at it, we have nothing to lose this weekend. We have had a great, consistent year and we need to close it out with another strong finish and whatever happens will happen. I know we want to end the season with a win in the Auto Club car at Auto Club Speedway so let’s go try and make that happen.”
 

THE NEWS AND NOTES
 
Will Power
No. 12 Verizon Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet
IZOD IndyCar Series Championship Point Standing:7th (-102)    

· CLOSING STRONG:  Power will look to continue his strong run to end the season with a solid finish this weekend. He has won two of the last four races and he’s jumped from 11th to seventh in the series standings over the last five events.

· CALIFORNIA DREAMIN’: The West Coast has been a good place for Power in his career. He has earned wins in California in each of the last four seasons either winning on the streets of Long Beach or on the Sonoma Raceway road course, as he did in August for Team Penske.

· SUPER STARTER: With 14 top-five starts to his credit this season, Power continues to prove that he is one of the best qualifiers in the series, no matter what type of track he’s racing on. Winner of two Verizon P1 pole awards in 2013, Power leads all series drivers with an average starting position of 4.5.

· FONTANA REWIND: Power would just as soon forget last season’s series finale at Fontana. Entering the race leading the series championship standings, Power made contact with the wall in Turn 2 on Lap 55. After an impressive job repairing the Verizon car by the No. 12 crew, Power returned to the track only to retire as a result of the contact on Lap 66. Ryan Hunter-Reay went on to finish fourth and claim the series title.
    
THE Q & A

WILL POWER

WHAT DO YOU EXPECT TO SEE AT AUTO CLUB SPEEDWAY THIS WEEKEND?

"We're looking forward to ending the season strong with a good result this weekend in the Verizon Chevy at Auto Club Speedway. With the series championship and the manufacturer's title on the line for Helio and Chevy, it's definitely going to be interesting. We want to build on the good finishes we've had here in the last few races and score some points to hopefully help with both championships."

YOU RACED FOR THE TITLE LAST YEAR AT FONTANA. CAN YOU GIVE ANY ADVICE TO YOUR TEAMMATE ABOUT DOING THE SAME THING SATURDAY?  

“It’s really kind of two separate situations but it is interesting how it always seems to come down to the last race of the year. That just shows how competitive it is today in IndyCar. Helio and his team have done a good job all year, he was fast in the test there a couple of weeks ago and I think he’s going to be strong this weekend.”