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Team Penske Milwaukee Race Preview

August 13, 2014




THE RACE

Verizon IndyCar Series
ABC Supply Wisconsin 250
The Milwaukee Mile
August 17, 2014

THE CARS

No. 2 PPG 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    

· HELLO MILWAUKEE, MY OLD FRIEND: There are race wins where a driver may lead only the most-important lap, the last one. Then there are wins where it is clear to the rest of the field that they are racing for second place. Juan Pablo Montoya enjoyed one of those wins at the Milwaukee Mile during the 2000 season. After starting the race from the pole position, the Colombian-born driver went on to lead 179 of 225 laps to score his eighth-career Verizon IndyCar Series victory.

· IT’S FUN TO COMPARE: While the NASCAR Cup Series does not compete at the Milwaukee Mile, the series does race twice a year at New Hampshire Motor Speedway (NHMS), which is a similar facility and track design to Milwaukee. In 14 career Cup Series starts at NHMS, Montoya has captured one top-five finish and two top-10 finishes along with back-to-back pole positions in 2009 and 2010. Montoya hopes his success at NHMS will transfer to Milwaukee this weekend,

· STILL IN THE HUNT: Montoya continues to keep himself very much in contention for the 2014 Verizon IndyCar Series title. He is currently in fifth place in the standings, 101 points behind Team Penske teammate Will Power with three races remaining in the season.

· CHICAGO MEDIA TOUR: On Thursday afternoon Montoya will tour the city of Chicago – just under a two-hour drive from Milwaukee – to help promote this weekend’s ABC Supply Wisconsin 250. Of note, Montoya and his wife, Connie, went on their first date in Chicago in 2000.


THE Q & A    

JUAN PABLO MONTOYA

DO YOU FEEL THAT THE FINAL THREE RACES OF THE YEAR SET UP WELL FOR YOU SINCE THEY HAVE A LOT OF FAMILIARITY?

“These last three racetracks are definitely places that I feel like I can win. It’s not just because I know all three race tracks really well. It’s a combination of that and the improvements we have made as a team as the year has gone on. So, yeah, even though we are still a little over 100 points out of the lead I think we can make a helluva run between now and the checkered flag at Auto Club Speedway at the end of the month. We need to gain a fair amount of points this weekend to start putting pressure on the other guys and we know that’s not going to be easy. It would be great to see the No. 2 PPG Chevy in Victory Lane at Milwaukee.”

WHAT IS GOING TO BE THE TOUGHEST PART ABOUT TRYING TO WIN THE CHAMPIONSHIP?

“With any successful, multi-car team you are going to reap the benefits of having an ‘open book’ policy. But when you get down to the end of the season and all three cars are running for the championship that becomes difficult. Not difficult from the standpoint of wanting to quit sharing information because that is not how we do it at Team Penske. It’s difficult because Will (Power) and Helio (Castroneves) both know what I have on my car and I know what they have on theirs. That makes it really, really hard to pass someone on the racetrack when they know how to take away what you do well.”
    

 

THE NEWS AND NOTES

Helio Castroneves

No. 3 Hitachi Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet    

· A FIRST WIN WEEKEND?: Helio Castroneves has numerous Verizon IndyCar Series race wins on his illustrious resume. However, in 13 career starts at the Milwaukee Mile, he has yet to find Victory Lane. He looked to be on his way in the 2007 race. After qualifying in the top spot, Castroneves led a race-high 126 laps before getting caught up in an incident that took him out of the event. He will look for his first career win at The Mile on Sunday.

· STARTING UP FRONT: Castroneves is the active leader in Verizon P1 Pole Awards at Milwaukee with three. Those pole awards came in 1999, 2006 and 2007, respectively.

· 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 Verizon IndyCar Series active leader in career pole positions.

· LOOKING AT 30: A win in this weekend’s race at the Milwaukee Mile would give Castroneves his 30th career Verizon IndyCar Series victory. It would break a tie he currently holds with his Team Penske mentor, Rick Mears, for 11th place on the all-time series win list. Castroneves has won a race in 14 of the last 15 seasons.

· HITACHI VIDEO CHAT: On Friday, August 22, Castroneves will participate in a live video chat from Sonoma Raceway, beginning at 5 pm ET (2 pm PT). Fans can ask questions in advance using #HelioChat on Twitter, then log on to www.hitachi.us/motorsports/ to interact with the three-time Indianapolis 500 champion.
    

THE Q & A 

HELIO CASTRONEVES

YOU’VE HAD STRONG RUNS AT THE MILWAUKEE MILE IN YOUR CAREER. IS THIS THE YEAR TO GET YOUR FIRST WIN AT THE HISTORIC TRACK?

“I absolutely think that the No. 3 Hitachi Chevrolet can win this weekend at the Milwaukee Mile. I enjoy racing there because of all the history and the racing that the Verizon IndyCar Series puts on there. It’s a perfect oval for our cars. I’ve been close there before, but things just find a way of popping up and keeping us out of Victory Lane. But this year feels special so we are going to put all of those past races out of our minds and just worry about running the best possible race we can this weekend.”

DO YOU LIKE YOUR POSITION IN THE POINTS GOING INTO MILWAUKEE?

"The No. 3 Hitachi Chevrolet team has done an amazing job all year. We’re right there, man, but we still have three very intense races left. These next three tracks are very demanding so we have to continue to stay on top of our game. We know Will is going to be tough. Juan has as much – or more – experience than any of us on the remaining racetracks. Although it may be a little nerve-racking for Roger (Penske) I would love to have the three of us coming down to the wire for the championship at Auto Club Speedway. How cool would that be?”
 

 

THE NEWS AND NOTES

Will Power

No. 12 Verizon Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet      

· A NEW FAVORITE: Will Power has two career oval wins in the Verizon IndyCar Series, but none of them have come at the Milwaukee Mile. After labeling this his favorite oval on the circuit, Power will be looking to build on his third-place finish at the track in 2013 to increase his lead in the championship standings.

· POINTS LEADER: Power took back the lead in the Verizon IndyCar Series standings following a sixth-place finish at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course earlier this month. This marks the third time Power has led the standings in 2014 and the third time he has been in front in the championship chase with three races remaining in a season (2010 and 2012).

· LAPS LED LEADER: Power continues to enjoy a banner year when it comes to leading the field during Verizon IndyCar Series events as his series-leading 353 laps led can attest.

· 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.  

· TEAM PENSKE MAGIC AT MILWAUKEE: Team Penske is tied for the most all-time wins at the Milwaukee Mile with seven, the last coming in 2008 when Ryan Briscoe took the checkered flag. Other Team Penske victors at the legendary oval include current team advisor Rick Mears, Bobby Unser, Al Unser Jr. and Paul Tracy.


THE Q & A    

WILL POWER

HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT YOUR POSITION IN THE POINTS WITH THREE RACES REMAINING IN THE SEASON?

“We definitely want to stay aggressive – in a smart way – because we aren’t close to being in a safe position for the championship. If anyone knows that it is me. You can take a 50-60 point lead into the finale at Auto Club Speedway and still lose the championship because that is a double-points race. It’s a bit hectic for the drivers involved, but I’m sure it’s a great show for the fans. We do realize, though, that all we have to do is finish one spot ahead of all the other championship competitors and that will do it, but we are going to go out there and try to win races.”

ARE YOU BETTER PREPARED FOR THE CHAMPIONSHIP RUN NOW AFTER THE LAST FEW YEARS OF COMING CLOSE?

“In a sense, yes, but probably not in a way that everyone thinks. It doesn’t mean that I’m going to go out there and tip-toe around the track because I’m worried about crashing and losing the points lead, but I’m more prepared mentally than I have ever been. I haven’t let myself fret over the points all year long. I’ve just gone out and raced as hard as I possibly could. We have corrected, or I have corrected, a lot of the mental mistakes that were made early in the year. Now we are coming to some outstanding racetracks for the No. 12 Verizon Chevy team. I feel like we can win all three races that are left, I really do. A win this weekend at Milwaukee would be very sweet for me because I’ve come to really enjoy racing there.”