KANSAS CITY, Kan. (April 24, 2009) - After two solid performances on the street circuits to start the 2009 IndyCar Series season, Team Penske is ready for its first oval challenge of the year.
Both drivers Helio Castroneves and Ryan Briscoe are looking forward to turning their first oval laps this weekend at the Road Runner Turbo Indy 300 at Kansas Speedway.
After practice and qualifying on Saturday, Team Penske will line up for Round 3 of the 17-race IndyCar Series season on Sunday afternoon at the 1.5-mile tri-oval.
Driving the No. 6 Team Penske Dallara/Honda, Briscoe enters this weekend's action ranked third in the series standings. Following a victory in the season opener at St. Petersburg, Briscoe finished 13th at Long Beach last weekend. The native of Sydney, Australia, who finished seventh last season at Kansas for Team Penske, wants to start out right on the ovals this weekend.
"I think Kansas will be a very important race for Team Penske,," said Briscoe. "Not only is it the first oval race of the season, but it's also the only oval on which we'll compete before the month of May. We'll use this weekend to help prepare for Indy and get focused for the month ahead. We also have a long string of ovals coming, so Kansas will help us for the next several events as well. We had a strong race car here last year and I think we were competitive all weekend long. Hopefully we'll be even stronger this season and we'll be able to post a solid result before the Indy 500."
Last weekend was very emotional for Briscoe and everyone at Team Penske as Castroneves returned to the team after being acquitted on tax charges in Miami. The popular Brazilian racer finished seventh in his return, despite the fact that it was his first time driving a race car in over six months.
Now, last season's series runner-up is looking to get back into a normal groove at Kansas in the No. 3 Team Penske Dallara/Honda. Castroneves finished fourth last season at Kansas Speedway and he's earned three podium finishes at the track in his career.
"Kansas is a great place and it's a very challenging circuit. I have good memories from the track because I've done quite well there in the past," said Castroneves. "The only thing missing is a first-place finish! I think after running last weekend, I'll find myself in a better rhythm on Saturday. I'm looking forward to the race as we always seem to put on a great show for the fans. I also think that this weekend will be a great preparation for the Indy 500, because it will give us a chance to run on an oval before May begins."
Catch all the action from qualifying at 6 p.m. ET Saturday on VERSUS and make sure to watch the Road Runner Turbo Indy 300 from Kansas Speedway on VERSUS with coverage beginning at 4 p.m ET on Sunday.