LONG BEACH, Calif. (April 16, 2009) - Although it's been eight years since it raced its Indy cars in Long Beach, Team Penske will look to continue its momentum this weekend at the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach.
The last time Team Penske competed at Long Beach, Helio Castroneves led wire-to-wire to secure a win in the popular California street race. When Will Power, driver of the No. 3 Team Penske/Dallara Honda, last visited Long Beach, he took the checkered flag in the Champ Car World Series' final race last spring. And, Team Penske began the 2009 season the way it had hoped with Ryan Briscoe driving the No.6 Team Penske/Dallara Honda to victory two weeks ago in the IndyCar Series opener.
The team hopes all of these trends continue this weekend at the 1.968-mile street circuit in downtown Long Beach.
On the strength of his win in St. Pete, Briscoe arrives in Long Beach as the IndyCar Series points leader.
After racing on the famed street course in 2007 with the Penske Racing American Le Mans Series car, Briscoe said he can't wait to return to action at Long Beach for his first IndyCar Series start there.
"I'm looking forward to going back to Long Beach this weekend," said Briscoe. "I've competed on the circuit in the ALMS Series and I think it's great that the IndyCar Series has added it to the schedule. I enjoy the circuit and we should be able to provide the fans with a great show. Hopefully, Team Penske will have another weekend like we did in St. Pete. I'm happy with the position we're in right now and will definitely be looking to make it two wins in a row come race day."
Power finished sixth in the opener at St. Pete in his first race for the team, competing for Helio Castroneves while he is unavailable to drive. This weekend, the 28-year-old racer hopes to successfully defend his win from 2008.
"I've really enjoyed working with Team Penske thus far," said Power. "Our race didn't go quite as planned in St Petersburg, but the team hung in there and we were able to pull out a sixth-place result. I'm excited to return to Long Beach as the defending winner this weekend. I always liked looking at the faces of the past winners in Victory Lane and it'll certainly be great to have mine added for last year's win."
With four wins and four poles at Long Beach in its storied history, Team Penske will certainly be one of the teams to watch this weekend.
Following practice sessions on Friday, qualifying will begin at 5:10 p.m. ET on Saturday with live coverage of the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach airing Sunday on VERSUS beginning at 3:30 p.m. ET.