Penske Racing IndyCar Drivers Excited to Return to Edmonton
July 23, 2009
Castroneves, Briscoe and Power have all had their taste of success on the challenging and fast airport course, but none of the Penske trio has been able to score a win in the Canadian city.
Castroneves has come the closest, leading a race-high 35 laps last season in the IndyCar Series' first race at City Centre Airport before finishing second behind Scott Dixon. Castroneves, who's currently ranked fourth in the series championship chase, ran well throughout last year's event, qualifying second. The three-time Indianapolis 500 winner also enters this weekend eager to race in front of the Canadian fans after last time out in Toronto when his No. 3 Team Penske Dallara/Honda collided with the car driven by local favorite Paul Tracy and the crowd roundly booed Castroneves after both drivers exited the race early after the contact.
"I'm excited to head back to Edmonton this season," said Castroneves. "I've always enjoyed the Canadian races; and despite what the fans may think of me after Toronto, I still love racing there and think they are some of the best fans in the world. Last year's event was a great experience, as I led the most laps and finished second. I think we will have a solid weekend, as Team Penske has proven that we're tough at this circuit. This track is great and it has been known to be very challenging, so I think this will make for a competitive race on Sunday."
Last season, Ryan Briscoe won the pole at Edmonton for Team Penske, establishing a track record average speed of 116.955 mph. An incident in the race dropped him back in the field, however, and Briscoe wound up finishing sixth in the No. 6 Team Penske Dallara/Honda. After producing second-place finishes in five of the last six races - including last time out on the Toronto street circuit - Briscoe knows this weekend's race would be an ideal time to conquer the tough track and reach top step of the podium. Considering he's ranked third in the championship standings, just 13 points outside of first place, a strong finish this weekend is also essential for the big picture.
"I'm definitely looking forward to this weekend and having the opportunity to race again in Edmonton," said Briscoe. "It's an exciting circuit to say the least - it's bumpy with a lot of fast corners. The track is pretty technical and there's a lot of room for error, which always makes for good competition. I hope I can carry the momentum from my streak of second-place finishes into this weekend and continue to battle toward the Championship title. I earned my second pole of the 2008 season at this track last year, and I feel confident going into this race with Team Penske's strong history on street courses."
Will Power also enters this weekend as a former polewinner at Edmonton. The 28-year-old captured the top spot in qualifying in 2007 while competing in the Champ Car World Series event at City Centre Airport. In the race that season, Power experienced mechanical issues and finished 15th. He didn't produce the result he wanted last season either, finishing 22nd after early contact forced him to the garage for repairs while competing for the KV Racing Technology team.
Power has certainly been productive in his limited schedule for Penske Racing this season. He has posted top-six results in all four of his starts for the team and he qualified second and finished third in Toronto after returning to the cockpit for the first time in over six weeks. Power will look to continue his solid streak this weekend, driving the No. 12 Penske Truck Rental Dallara/Honda.
"We had a good weekend at Toronto in the Penske Truck Rental car and it was great to get back on track and race for the team," said Power. "Now, we're looking forward to Edmonton. I really enjoy racing at the airport circuit; it's one of my favorite tracks. I've had some good runs there in the past but just haven't been able to get the results I was hoping for. With the experience of the Penske Racing team behind me, I'm confident we'll have a good car and will have another strong weekend."
The Penske Racing trio will have two practice sessions on Friday before returning for practice and qualifying on Saturday afternoon. Sunday's 95-lap Rexall Edmonton Indy will be televised live on Versus beginning at 6 p.m. ET.