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Team Penske Begins Road Course Stretch at Watkins Glen

July 3, 2009

Photo courtesy of Steve Swope



WATKINS GLEN, N.Y. (July 3, 2009) - Team Penske is focused on producing solid results and scoring significant points for the IndyCar Series championship chase in this weekend's Camping World Grand Prix at The Glen.

The team has an impressive history competing on the Watkins Glen International road circuit and, entering a stretch of three consecutive road/street circuits, the Penske squad is looking build momentum and find its groove for the title run.

A Team Penske driver has won the pole and led laps in each of the last four events at Watkins Glen and the team enters this weekend looking for its fourth win at The Glen overall. Rick Mears won the last race at the venue for the team in 1981 while Bobby Unser claimed back-to-back victories for Penske Racing in 1979 and 1980.

Both current Team Penske drivers Helio Castroneves and Ryan Briscoe are anxious to get back on track after last week's disappointing finishes in Richmond that saw both drivers exit the race early after making contact with the wall.

Driving the No. 6 Team Penske Dallara/Honda, Briscoe enters this weekend's race as the defending polewinner. He led the most laps in last year's race and was poised for a strong result when his car suffered contact from Scott Dixon late in the race and he wound up 12th. The native Australian, who is currently ranked third in the IndyCar Series standings, 26 points behind series leader Dario Franchitti. Briscoe has always run well at Watkins Glen, the site of his first IndyCar Series podium result (third place) in 2006.

"The Glen is one of my favorite circuits in the world," said Briscoe.  "It's the site of my first IndyCar Series podium finish, so it will always be a special place for me. The track is fast with a lot of high-speed corners and elevation changes. It's a very rewarding circuit, meaning if you turn a quick lap, you feel like you've really accomplished something. We won the pole and led the most laps during the race last year, so hopefully that will bode well for us and we'll be competitive this season as well."

Castroneves started on the point at Watkins Glen in the No. 3 Team Penske Dallara/Honda for three consecutive years from 2005-2007. Despite leading each of those races, his best finish was a seventh-place result in 2006. After claiming his third Indianapolis 500 victory in May and winning again a couple of weeks later at Texas, Castroneves would love to secure his third win of the season at Watkins Glen.

“Watkins Glen has a lot of history and is a very challenging, yet fun, track to drive," said Castroneves, who's currently fourth in the series standings. "We captured the pole in three of the last four years, but for various reasons, haven’t been able to find the race results we are capable of achieving. Hopefully, we’ll find the same speed that we’ve had there in the past and combine it with the finish we’ve been looking for.”

Practice and qualifying will take place on Saturday at Watkins Glen International while the Camping World Grand Prix at The Glen will be seen live on ABC-TV on Sunday, with coverage beginning at 1 p.m. ET.