TORONTO, Ont., Canada (July 9. 2009) - Penske Racing is hoping its trio of IndyCar Series stars will help it conquer the streets of downtown Toronto this weekend.
For the first time since the Indianapolis 500 in May, Penske Racing will field a three-car effort for this weekend's Honda Indy Toronto, and the team is hoping for a similar result when it won its 15th Indy 500 and produced a pair of top-five finishes.
Ryan Briscoe, tied for second in the IndyCar Series championship, will compete in the No. 6 Team Penske Dallara/Honda while Helio Castoneves returns to Toronto in the No. 3 Team Penske entry. Will Power also rejoins the team this weekend, racing in the No. 12 Penske Truck Rental Dallara/Honda.
This marks the firs-ever visit to Toronto for the IndyCar Series and Penske Racing's first race in the city since 2001 when it competed in CART.
Though it's been awhile since the Penske cars raced on the 1.721-mile street course around Toronto's Exhibition Place, the team does enjoy some history at the venue. In five of its 16 events run at the circuit, Penske Racing has won the pole - including 2000, when Helio Castroneves claimed his third career pole position. The lone win for the team at Toronto came in 1993 when Canadian Paul Tracy captured the checkered flag.
Briscoe has never raced at Toronto, but after posting a win on the St. Petersburg street circuit to start the season, he's looking forward to Sunday's showdown.
"I'm really excited to go to Toronto to experience and learn a new track," said Briscoe. "I've heard a lot about the race and the long history of the event. Hopefully Team Penske will be strong in Toronto like we have on the other street courses this season, we won the season-opener in the streets of St. Petersburg, and had a strong run in Long Beach, with the exception of an ill-timed yellow flag. It will be great to have Will (Power) back in a car again as well. He won the last Champ Car race in Toronto so he should be a good asset to the Team this weekend."
Castroneves enters the weekend ranked fourth in the series championship. A former Indy Lights winner at Toronto, the popular Brazilian racer is also happy to return to the venue.
"I'm think it's great that we're going back to Toronto," said Castroneves. "I haven't competed there since 2001, so it will be nice to get back on the circuit. The track definitely provides a number of challenges for the drivers and I think we'll be able to put on a fantastic show on Sunday. The Canadian fans are so enthusiastic about racing and it's always fun to interact with them. I think we should have a solid weekend, as Team Penske has proven that we're very tough on street circuits."
Power returns to compete for Penske Racing for the first time since the Indy 500, when he finished fifth. In the last street circuit on the IndyCar Series calendar, Power won the pole and finished second at Long Beach.
"I can't wait to get back into the car this weekend at Toronto," said Power, who will also compete in four more events for the team this season. "It's a real priviledge to get a chance to drive for Penske Racing and to start this five-race run at Toronto, where I've enjoyed a good history, is a bonus."
The Indy cars will practice on Friday before qualifying on Saturday afternoon. The Honda Indy Toronto will take the green flag on Sunday afternoon with live coverage beginning at 1 p.m. ET on ABC-TV.