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Team Penske Pocono INDYCAR 500 Race Advance

July 2, 2014




 THE RACE

Verizon IndyCar Series
Pocono INDYCAR 500
Long Pond, Pennsylvania
July 6, 2014
 
THE CARS
 
No. 2 PPG Automotive Refinish Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet
Driven By Juan Pablo Montoya

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

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

 
THE NEWS AND NOTES
    
Juan Pablo Montoya

No. 2 PPG Automotive Refinish Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet    

·  MOMENTUM WEEKEND: Juan Pablo Montoya put together perhaps his most complete Verizon IndyCar Series weekend of the year last week at the Shell and Pennzoil Grand Prix of Houston. His second-place finish in the first race on Saturday was his highest of the season. He was in line for a second top-five finish in the second race on Sunday before a late-race flat tire resulted in a seventh-place finish.

·  NASCAR STATS: While this will be Montoya’s first career Verizon IndyCar Series start at Pocono Raceway, he has raced in 14 NASCAR Cup Series events at the triangle. In those starts he has earned one top-five finish, four top-10 results and one pole position at Pocono.

·  SOLID RETURN TO OPEN WHEEL: Montoya has shown solid progression during his first year back in the Verizon IndyCar Series since the 2000 season. In 10 starts in 2014 he has produced four top-five results and has finished inside the top seven in the last three consecutive races. He is currently ranked fifth in the series standings.

·  TEAM COLOMBIA: Team Penske has always adopted the “One Team” approach of three teams working together as one. On Friday, however, sides will be chosen – away from the track. That’s when Colombia and Brazil battle in one of the biggest soccer matches in the world for the right to advance to the semifinals of the 2014 World Cup. Montoya, a proud Colombian, will support the national team at a watch party organized by INDYCAR at Pocono Raceway. Montoya’s teammate, Helio Castroneves, will be on site and rooting for his home country of Brazil which should make for an interesting party on Friday afternoon.


THE Q & A    

JUAN PABLO MONTOYA

YOU’VE TESTED AT POCONO THIS YEAR SO WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN DRIVING AN INDYCAR AND A STOCK CAR AT THE “TRICKY TRIANGLE?”

“Obviously there is a huge difference in the miles per hour. It couldn’t be any more different between an open-wheel car and a stock car. In a Cup car it’s the only oval where you have to downshift. I will be wide open all the way around in the No. 2 PPG Chevrolet IndyCar. All three corners being different still presents a challenge, especially Turn 3. It’s very flat. Turn 1 is banked and very tight so you ask more out of the front end. But the speed is the biggest difference. There is really no comparison.”

WHY DO YOU THINK COLOMBIA WILL MOVE ONTO THE SEMIFINALS OF THE WORLD CUP ON FRIDAY?

“I really think Colombia is playing the best soccer of anyone in the world right now. They’re really attacking the goal with some ferocity. They easily took care of Uruguay, who was without their best player but it still wasn’t even close. My wife, Connie, actually went to one of the group games against Ivory Coast. She is really into the tournament. He might not admit it, but Helio knows in the back of his mind that Brazil was lucky to beat Chile. They will need more than luck against Colombia.”


 
THE NEWS AND NOTES
    
Helio Castroneves

No. 3 Hitachi Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet    

·  2013 POCONO REWIND: The Verizon IndyCar Series returned to Pocono Raceway in 2013 for the first time since August 20, 1989 when CART raced at the 2.5-mile oval. Helio Castroneves, making his first career start at Pocono, qualified the No. 3 Hitachi Chevrolet in the sixth position. He crossed the finish line in eighth place as the race came down to fuel mileage over the final laps.

·  TYING A LEGEND: With his 40th career pole award in the second race of the Shell and Pennzoil Grand Prix of Houston, Castroneves tied Team Penske legend Rick Mears for fourth on the all-time list. Castroneves is the active leader in career pole positions.

·  A HISTORIC WIN: With his 29th career series win in the Chevrolet Dual in Detroit presented by Quicken Loans last month, Castroneves now has won a race in 14 of the last 15 seasons. Castroneves is again tied with his Team Penske mentor, Rick Mears, for the most IndyCar victories in team history and for 11th place on the all-time Verizon IndyCar Series wins list.

·  TEAM BRAZIL: Born and raised in Sao Paolo, Brazil, Castroneves is a big supporter of the country’s No.1 past time, soccer. His longtime girlfriend, Adriana Henao, however, is from Colombia, along with teammate Juan Pablo Montoya. Castroneves will be outmanned within Team Penske, but he does have the host country on his side. Castroneves will also attend the INDYCAR viewing party at Pocono Raceway to watch the match on Friday afternoon.
    

THE Q & A

HELIO CASTRONEVES

WHAT DO YOU EXPECT THIS WEEKEND IN THE SECOND RACE BACK FOR THE SERIES AT POCONO?

“We had a great test at Pocono last month. We got out there early to make sure we have a nice, basic setup in the Hitachi Chevrolet when we roll off the truck. Turn 3 is going to be very exciting, for sure, but the track is still in good shape, very smooth. But I’m really looking forward to a better race this year. We had a chance to test this year with a bit of a notebook from last year’s race. Last year ended up being a fuel mileage race and I think we are much better off in that area this year. Chevrolet did a great job over the winter with that so we should be in good shape.”

WHY DO YOU THINK BRAZIL WILL MOVE ON TO THE WORLD CUP SEMIFINALS ON FRIDAY?

"C’mon, it’s Brazil! We are the host country and we have been the best in the world for many years now. Colombia is playing well, but I don’t think they are quite ready to challenge the big boys. This is as far as they have ever made it, so the pressure is going to be huge for them. When you win games you aren’t supposed to – like we did against Chile – you take on the role of the destined team. We are destined to win this because we haven’t lost on home turf since 2002. How are you going to stop (Brazilian players) Neymar and Hulk now?!”

 

THE NEWS AND NOTES
    
Will Power

No. 12 Verizon Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet    

·  READY TO REBOUND: Will Power did not enjoy his typical street course results at the Shell and Pennzoil Grand Prix of Houston last weekend. Known for his proven success on temporary street circuits, Power qualified 18th for both races with his best finish of 11th coming in the second event of the doubleheader, despite racing his way into the third position. Even with the tough results, Power still maintains the same lead of 39 points in the championship standings over Castroneves that he carried into the Houston race weekend.

·  POWER AT POCONO: Power made his first career start at Pocono Raceway in last year’s 400-mile event. He began the race from the fourth position and finished in the same spot after leading a total of 15 laps on the day.

·  MOVING ON UP: At just 33 years of age, Power has already won 23 career races. That places him tied for 18th place on the all-time wins list with Tommy Milton, whose 23 wins came when the series competed under the Automobile Association of America sanctioning body in the 1920s. Power is just seven wins away from entering the top 10 in career IndyCar victories.  

·  PENSKE PRODUCTION AT POCONO: When Pocono Raceway was a mainstay on the USAC and CART series schedules through the 1970’s and 1980’s, no team was more successful than Team Penske. A total of 20 races were run at Pocono  in those two decades with Team Penske recording eight wins (Rick Mears – 3, Bobby Unser – 2, Mark Donohue, Tom Sneva and Danny Sullivan – 1)
    
THE Q & A

WILL POWER

WHAT WILL BE THE BIGGEST DIFFERENCE IN CHANGING TO A 500-MILE RACE FROM 400 MILES AT POCONO LAST YEAR?

“You really hope that your car is working well or those added 100 miles can be brutal. The biggest adjustment will be on the fuel mileage. I have to believe that we are going to get some long green-flag runs just like we did at Indianapolis. Last year was a fuel mileage race and we were on the wrong end of it. We are getting much better fuel mileage this year with the Chevrolet engines. Pocono takes a great balance of fuel mileage and downforce. The No. 12 Verizon Chevrolet team has put in the work so I’m confident we’ll have that balance on Sunday.”

UNFORTUNATELY AUSTRALIA DIDN’T MAKE IT OUT OF THE GROUP STAGE OF THE WORLD CUP. DO YOU HAVE A FAVORITE TEAM THAT YOU’RE ROOTING FOR NOW?

“Not really, no. We’re decent at soccer in Australia, but Australian Rules Football is big Down Under. That and rugby. Those are sports, man! Honestly I was pulling for the United States in the World Cup. I was on a flight Tuesday during the match with Belgium and was kind of bummed when I landed and saw how they lost. I’m just going to enjoy the excitement around the match. That’s what makes our sport great – we have drivers from all over the world. But I feel bad for Helio. He’s kind of outnumbered within Team Penske.”