Team Penske Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach Preview
April 15, 2010
Drivers: Helio Castroneves (No. 3 Team Penske), Ryan Briscoe (No. 6 Team Penske) and Will Power (No. 12 Verizon Team Penske)
Race: Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach on the streets of Long Beach, Calif.
(1.98-mile temporary street circuit)
When: Qualifying - Saturday, April 17 at 5:30 p.m. ET
Race (85 laps) - Sunday, April 18 at 4:15 p.m. ET
TV/Radio: Versus/IMS Radio Network and XM Channel 145 and Sirius Channel 211
• Lovin' Long Beach: Team Penske has a strong history at the Grand Prix of Long Beach. This will mark the team's 19th race on the famous street circuit. Dating back to 1985, Team Penske has earned 17 top-five finishes, 12 podium results, six pole positions and four victories at Long Beach.
• Leading the Field: Entering this weekend's race, Team Penske has established itself as the team to beat thus far in the 2010 IZOD IndyCar Series. The team has won the first three consecutive races with Will Power capturing the checkered flag in the No. 12 Verizon Team Penske car at both Sao Paulo, Brazil and at St. Petersburg. Last weekend, Helio Castroneves won in the No. 3 Team Penske Dallara/Honda at Barber Motorsports Park in Alabama to make it three in a row for the team. Power continues to lead the series standings while Castroneves is now ranked second. Ryan Briscoe is also starting to hit his stride in the No. 6 Team Penske machine as he's now ranked sixth in the standings.
• Power-ful Presence: Power has a strong history at Long Beach. He won the last-ever race for the Champ Car World Series at the venue in 2008 and last season he won the pole position in the debut of the Verizon car for Team Penske and finished second in the race. Coming off a pole position and fourth-place finish last weekend, Power is expected to be one of the drivers to beat this Sunday on the streets of Long Beach
• Helio at the Beach: Castroneves also has good track record at Long Beach. The popular Brazilian driver, who extended his record to 11 consecutive seasons with a victory for Team Penske after last weekend's win at Barber, won from the pole at Long Beach in 2001 and finished second there in 2000. Overall, he has led 101 laps in his five starts at Long Beach with four top-10 finishes. This is also the venue where he returned to the team after his tax trial last season. Castroneves missed Friday practice as his case was resolved, but returned to action on Saturday and finished seventh in the race.
• Street Savvy: Team Penske excels at street course circuits. Castroneves, Briscoe and Power have all earned victories at temporary circuits over the last three seasons and the team overall has produced six poles and five wins at street course venues since 2007.
• California Connection: Team Penske has a California connection. Longtime team advisor and four-time Indianapolis 500 winner Rick Mears was raised in Bakersfield, California.
• Meet the Drivers: All three Team Penske drivers will be making appearances this weekend. Fans can come and meet Castroneves, Briscoe and Power on Thursday, April 15 at the Verizon Wireless store located at 21841 Hawthorne Blvd. in Torrance, Calif. as they'll be signing autographs from 6-7 p.m. PT that evening. From there, the drivers will appear at the IZOD IndyCar Series event on Hollywood Blvd. from 7:30-8:30 p.m. on Thursday night. Fans are also invited to meet all three racers at the Penske Racing merchandise trailer, located off of Pine Ave. inside the Grand Prix of Long Beach race circuit, at 1 p.m. PT on Friday, April 16.
WHAT THEY ARE SAYING ABOUT THE TOYOTA GRAND PRIX OF LONG BEACH
Helio Castroneves: "I can't wait to go back to Long Beach. It's such a beautiful place and an awesome track. I have great memories of winning in 2001 and then returning last year after a missing a race. Now this year, after winning just this past weekend in Alabama, Team Penske and I are super excited to be back in Long Beach. It's going to be a great show for the fans."
Ryan Briscoe: "I'm really looking forward to Long Beach. I love the atmosphere and the track is very challenging. This is always a great event and the No. 6 Team Penske crew is ready to go out there and continue the team's succession of wins this season."
Will Power: "It will be great to get back to Long Beach. We had an awesome car there last year and I think we had a good chance of winning that race if it weren't for the radio issues that we had. The Verizon Team Penske car has been strong at the season-opening road and street courses and I feel very confident heading into this weekend. Of course I am going to the event looking for a win, but I know that it will be a tough race and with that in mind I am focused on bringing home the best result that I can in order to maintain the championship points lead."