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Team Penske Pocono IndyCar 400 Preview

July 4, 2013




THE RACE

Pocono IndyCar 400
Pocono Raceway (2.5-mile tri-oval)
Sunday, July 7, 2013

No. 3 Hitachi Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet
No. 12 Verizon Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet

THE BROADCAST

Race: Pocono IndyCar 400
Track: Pocono Raceway – 2.5-mile tri-oval     

Qualifying: Saturday – 1:15 pm ET
Race:           Sunday – 12 pm ET (ABC)      

Radio Broadcast:  IMS Radio/ SiriusXM 211
 

THE NEWS AND NOTES

No. 3 Hitachi Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet
Helio Castroneves - @h3lio
IZOD IndyCar Series Championship Standing: 1st

· ENTER THE TRICKY TRIANGLE: As INDYCAR returns to race at Pocono Raceway for the first time in nearly 24 years, Castroneves prepares to make his first career start this weekend at the unique 2.5-mile tri-oval track.

· MEARS AS HIS MENTOR: Though he has never raced at Pocono, Castroneves has the benefit of one of the best racers ever at the Tricky Triangle in his corner. Team Penske advisor Rick Mears will serve as the spotter for Castroneves this weekend and Mears has quite a history at Pocono. In nine career races at the track, Mears earned three wins (1982, ’85 and ’87), four poles and six podium finishes with 472 laps led.

· MORE THAN HALFWAY HOME: With the 19-race 2013 IZOD IndyCar Series season past the halfway point, Castroneves continues to lead the championship standings. The three-time Indy 500 winner holds a nine-point advantage in the series standings over defending champ Ryan Hunter-Reay. Pocono marks the seventh event out of 10 this season that Castroneves has led the points entering race weekend.

· OUT FRONT: In addition to leading the series championship standings, Castroneves also ranks high in several other key statistical categories. He tops the Road Course championship rankings as well and is second in the Oval Course standings. Castroneves is the only driver to complete all 1,423 laps of competition in 2013 and he ranks second with four podium results. His average finish of 5.8 leads all series regulars as well.

· HITACHI HELPS FANS CHEER FOR GEAR: Hitachi, the sponsor of Castroneves’ No. 3 Team Penske IndyCar, has launched its “Cheer for Gear” Sweepstakes. Fans can enter for a chance to win authentic racing gear and diecast model cars autographed by Castroneves. Each entrant will be automatically entered into the Grand Prize drawing to win a trip for two to the IZOD IndyCar Series race in Sonoma, Calif., in August. Enter at www.facebook.com/hitachimotorsports through July 14.
    
THE Q & A

ARE YOU LOOKING FORWARD TO RACING AT POCONO?

“I always like going to new tracks and I’m really looking forward to racing at Pocono this weekend. The track has so much history and it’s great that INDYCAR is back at Pocono. We’re also back racing the No. 3 Hitachi Team Penske Chevrolet this weekend and we learned a few things in the test at Pocono last week and we’ll get a chance to learn even more Thursday at the series open test. We need to make sure we keep the lead in the championship coming out of this weekend and we’re happy we have a guy like Rick Mears, who’s had so much success at Pocono in the past, in our corner. With the long straightaway and the unique three corners at Pocono, it’s going to be an awesome race for the fans to watch on Sunday.”
    

THE NEWS AND NOTES

No. 12 Verizon Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet
Will Power - @12WillPower
IZOD IndyCar Series Championship Standing: 10th (-123)

· POISED FOR POCONO: Will Power will make his first start at Pocono Raceway this weekend and he will be looking to add to Team Penske’s remarkable record of success in the return to the venue. Penske Racing earned seven victories at Pocono when Indy cars raced at the track from 1971-1989. The list of winning Penske drivers at Pocono includes: Mark Donohue, Tom Sneva, Bobby Unser, Rick Mears (three wins) and Danny Sullivan.

· CONTINUING THE CLIMB: Power continues to climb his way back into contention in the IZOD IndyCar Series standings. After falling to a season-low 18th in the standings after the Sao Paulo race, Power has continued to rise up the rankings and he enters Pocono now 10th place in points.

· ROUND AND ROUND: Ironically, Power, the series’ three-time defending road course champion, has had his best success this season on oval tracks. Power’s average finish on road courses so far in 2013 in 14.8 while his average finishing position on ovals is 11.5. The native of Toowoomba, Australia earned his top finish of the year with a third-place result at the Milwaukee Mile short oval in June.

· TESTING. TESTING: Power tested the No. 12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet at Pocono last week, along with Castroneves and a number of other IZOD IndyCar Series drivers. Power and Castroneves will get another opportunity to experience the Tricky Triangle on Thursday, July 4 at the INDYCAR open test at Pocono prior to the start of race weekend activities on Saturday.

· POLE POWER: With 31 career pole positions, including two earned this season, Power continues to be a qualifying force. Power has earned one oval track pole this season when he topped qualifying at Texas and he also started from the first position last race at Iowa. Power qualified second when he finished as runner-up to Castroneves in the qualifying heat race at Iowa but he moved up to the top spot when Castroneves and the No. 3 Hitachi team were assessed a grid penalty for switching engines prior to the start of the race.

THE Q & A

WILL THE TESTING AT POCONO HELP THE TEAM THIS WEEKEND?

“We had a good test with the Verizon car at Pocono last week and we look forward to getting some more time on track this week before the race on Sunday. Pocono is a pretty interesting track with the tri-oval and the unique and separate corners. You have to make some decisions on how you set up the car and how it handles through the three turns. It will be good to spend the day running the Verizon Chevrolet at the INDYCAR open test on Thursday so we look at all of our options heading into race weekend. Hopefully we’ll get a good crowd this weekend because I know we’ll put on a good show over the 400 miles of racing on Sunday.”