Team Penske Kansas Race Preview
April 29, 2010
Drivers: Helio Castroneves (No. 3 Team Penske), Ryan Briscoe (No. 6 Team Penske) and Will Power (No. 12 Verizon Team Penske)
Race: Road Runner Turbo Indy 300 at Kansas Speedway in Kansas City, KS.
When: Qualifying - Friday, April 30 at 5:00 p.m. ET
Race (200 laps) - Saturday, May 1 at 2:00 p.m. ET
TV/Radio: ABC/IMS Radio Network and XM Channel 145 and Sirius Channel 211
Comfortable in KC: Team Penske has always seemed to produce solid results at Kansas Speedway. In 16 IZOD IndyCar Series starts at Kansas, Team Penske has produced 15 top-10 and 11 top-five finishes to go along with one win and six podium results. Despite the good track record, the team has never won the pole at Kansas and has earned just one victory at the venue over the years (Sam Hornish Jr., in 2006).
Truncated Test: On Thursday, April 22, Team Penske was slated to test at Kansas Speedway with drivers Helio Castroneves and Ryan Briscoe. Castroneves was scheduled to test in the morning and Briscoe in the afternoon. Unfortunately, rain showers brought an early end to the test as Castroneves got limited track time in morning, turning fewer than 50 laps in the Team Penske Dallara/Honda. The rest of the day's activities were cancelled due to the weather before Briscoe had the opportunity to test.
Castroneves at Kansas: Castroneves has had a remarkably consistent record at Kansas. The three-time Indy 500 winner has eight top-10 finishes in eight starts at Kansas Speedway and he has completed all 1,600 laps of competition at the venue. Castroneves has earned five top-five results and finished on the podium four times, including two second-place finishes, though he has yet to win a pole or visit Victory Circle at Kansas.
Rewind: Last season, Team Penske scored a pair of top-four finishes at Kansas Speedway. Despite starting last in the field following a penalty for driving below the white line in qualifying, Castroneves also overcame early-race contact to finish second for Team Penske. Briscoe led 53 laps and looked to be positioned for the win before catching a bad break when he committed to pit lane just as an accident happened behind him. The circumstances enabled Scott Dixon to take the race lead and he eventually won as Briscoe finished fourth. Will Power did not compete for the team at Kansas last season. He last raced at the venue in 2008 when he finished 18th after retiring early due to a crash while competing for KV Racing Technology.
Power Pole Production: Power has won the last three consecutive pole positions, capturing the top spot in qualifying at St. Pete, Barber Motorsports Park and Long Beach. He'll be going for his fourth straight pole on Friday in Kansas and if he tops qualifying, it would make his first-ever pole on an oval track. Power will also look to tie the IndyCar Series record for consecutive pole positions. Castroneves won four poles in a row in 2004, while Billy Boat scored four straight in 1998.
Oval Arrival: After a strong start to the 2010 IZOD IndyCar Series season that saw Team Penske win three of the first four events on road and street courses, the team is excited to enter into the oval portion of the schedule. In 2009, Team Penske earned four oval course victories - two each with Castroneves and Briscoe. This weekend's race begins a stretch of four straight oval races for the series.
Leading the Pack: Team Penske has established itself as the team to beat thus far in the 2010 IZOD IndyCar Series. The team won the first three consecutive races with Power capturing the checkered flag in the No. 12 Verizon Team Penske car at both Sao Paulo, Brazil and at St. Petersburg. Castroneves then 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 remains second overall. Briscoe is also starting to hit his stride in the No. 6 Team Penske machine as he's ranked seventh in the standings following three consecutive top-10 finishes.
Down Under: Both Power and Briscoe will be returning to their native Australia to race after the completion of the IZOD IndyCar Series season. It was announced last week that both Team Penske drivers will compete in the V8 Supercar race in Surfers Paradise, Australia, October 22-24. The event holds special meaning for both drivers as Power hails from nearby Toowoomba while Briscoe, a native of Sydney, won the IndyCar Series race on the Surfers Paradise circuit in 2008. Power and Briscoe will be joined by a number of current open-wheel and sports car stars competing in the event.
WHAT THEY ARE SAYING ABOUT THE ROAD RUNNER TURBO INDY 300
Helio Castroneves: "Kansas is a place where the No. 3 Team Penske car has done well in the past. I have had some good runs there, but just haven't been able to finish on the top step of the podium. The team and I are working hard so we can continue to score points and we are determined to do well. I am excited to go oval racing again and Kansas is a great place to race."
Ryan Briscoe: "I'm really looking forward to the first oval section of the championship, which also begins our on-track preparations for the Indianapolis 500. I did well at Kansas last year, and hopefully we can pick up where we left off with our oval performances from last year."
Will Power: "I am looking forward to Kansas. The last time we raced on a mile-and-half oval (at Kentucky last season) qualifying was cancelled so I am looking forward to getting the chance to practice, qualify and race. Team Penske has had great success at these types of tracks and I am sure that the No. 12 Verizon car will be strong. My approach going into the weekend remains the same - work for the win, and if that is not possible, then bring home the maximum points available."