NEWTON, Iowa (June 21, 2008) - Team Penske’s two cars will start among the top five Sunday for the Iowa Corn Indy 250 after qualifying was rained out Saturday evening at Iowa Speedway. Helio Castroneves and his No. 3 Team Penske Honda/Dallara will start on the front row based on his standing in the IndyCar Series championship. Meanwhile, Ryan Briscoe and the No. 6 Penske Honda/Dallara will start fifth.
“It’s tough starting like this, but it’s a payoff for the entire season,” said Castroneves, who is second in the championship standings to Scott Dixon, who will start Sunday’s race from the pole position. “I have a great race car and I’m just really excited for the race.”
It will be the second time that Castroneves has started second at the 7/8-mile speedway. Last year, he led 59 laps but finished eighth. “We’ve been working hard all year, and now we get to start in the front row because of it,” he said.
Briscoe, who had the fastest lap during one of Saturday’s practice sessions before rain wiped out qualifying, has been strong in each of the last two races - winning at Milwaukee on June 1 and finishing third at Texas on June 7. This will be his first race at Iowa Speedway.
“This weekend has been a lot of fun so far and I've really enjoyed my first event at Iowa Speedway," Briscoe said. "We've been able to get a lot of practice in, and I think we're in great shape for tomorrow. It's a shame about qualifying, because I definitely feel we had a shot at the pole.
“We're still starting fifth, which isn't bad, so I think we'll be fine. We've been slowly working our way up the point standings, so tomorrow we're looking for a consistent run. I'm looking forward to the race, and hopefully we'll be able to bring the Team Penske car home with a good result.”
Teams got in a full 3 ½ hours of practice Saturday without concerns about weather, which wiped out later portions of Friday’s open test at Iowa Speedway. However, just minutes after qualifying began, a thunderstorm hit the track. Castroneves had a run at qualifying before the rain began but said his car was hard to handle.
“I actually saw some raindrops, but I told myself, ’No, that’s dry,’” Castroneves said. “It’s one of those situations where you don’t want to be thinking anything bad, especially when it’s so tough to stay flat around here.”
The race will be telecast live in High Definition at 1 p.m. (EDT) by ABC-TV. A Spanish-language telecast of the race will be carried by ESPNDeportes. The race will also air live on the IMS Radio Network on XM Satellite Radio and at www.indycar.com.
Starting lineup for the Iowa Corn Indy 250 Presented by Pioneer IndyCar Series event on the .875-mile Iowa Speedway, with starting position, car number in parentheses, driver, chassis-engine after PEAK Motor Oil Pole Qualifying was canceled due to weather. Lineup set by entrant points.
1. (9) Scott Dixon, Dallara-Honda
2. (3) Helio Castroneves, Dallara-Honda
3. (10) Dan Wheldon, Dallara-Honda
4. (11) Tony Kanaan, Dallara-Honda
5. (6) Ryan Briscoe, Dallara-Honda
6. (7) Danica Patrick, Dallara-Honda
7. (27) Hideki Mutoh, Dallara-Honda
8. (26) Marco Andretti, Dallara-Honda
9. (20) Ed Carpenter, Dallara-Honda
10. (5) Oriol Servia, Dallara-Honda
11. (8) Will Power, Dallara-Honda
12. (4) Vitor Meira, Dallara-Honda
13. (33) EJ Viso, Dallara-Honda
14. (17) Ryan Hunter-Reay, Dallara-Honda
15. (15) Buddy Rice, Dallara-Honda
16. (06) Graham Rahal, Dallara-Honda
17. (36) Enrique Bernoldi, Dallara-Honda
18. (2) A.J. Foyt IV, Dallara-Honda
19. (14) Darren Manning, Dallara-Honda
20. (02) Justin Wilson, Dallara-Honda
21. (34) Jaime Camara, Dallara-Honda
22. (23) Milka Duno, Dallara-Honda
23. (24) John Andretti, Dallara-Honda
24. (19) Mario Moraes, Dallara-Honda
25. (18) Bruno Junqueira, Dallara-Honda
26. (25) Marty Roth, Dallara-Honda