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Incidents Hurt Team Penske Results at Richmond

June 28, 2009

Photo courtesy of IMS Photo



RICHMOND, Va. (June 27, 2009) - A promising start for Team Penske turned into a disappointing finish Saturday night during the SunTrust Indy Challenge at Richmond International Raceway.

After starting on the second row, both Team Penske cars exited the race early due to on-track incidents. The results hurt both Helio Castroneves and Ryan Briscoe in the IndyCar Series championship standings, but both drivers were uninjured and they are still very much in the thick of the title chase

Briscoe, who led the championship coming into the race, lost control of the Team Penske No. 6 Dallara/Honda on the 27th lap of the 300-lap event and finished 19th in the 20-car field. Castroneves, who entered the race fourth in the drivers' standings, made contact with the wall in the No. 3 Team Penske Dallara/Honda while trying to avoid a slowing car in front of him on the 248th lap and finished 17th.

Briscoe's sudden crash happened as he was running third in the early laps.

"It was totally unexpected," Briscoe said. "I am not sure exactly what happened. I was fighting some understeer, and I was just coming back to throttle when it snapped on me. It took me totally by surprise."

The crash dropped Briscoe to third in the championship chase, 26 points behind series leader Dario Franchitti.

Castroneves ran among the top-10 throughout the race, but as he tried to avoid a slowing competitor, his car slid high on the exit of Turn 2 and he hit the wall late in the event. Like Briscoe, Castroneves wasn't sure what happened.

"Things were going very well, but the guy in front of me slowed down very suddenly, and I didn't have anywhere to go," Castroneves said. "I avoided him, but unfortunately I ended up hitting the wall. I did not have much room. I don't know what happened, but everyone slowed down real suddenly."

Castroneves remained fourth in the drivers' standings despite the result, but he is now 54 points off the leader's pace.

Team Penske will look to get back on track with a return to road racing next weekend at Watkins Glen International. The Camping World Grand Prix at the Glen will be televised live by ABC-TV on Sunday, July 5 at 1 p.m. ET.