INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (May 15, 2010) - For race-car drivers, there is no other place that compares. No other setting, no other ambiance, no other audience. Mention the words "Indianapolis Motor Speedway" to Team Penske's three drivers - Helio Castroneves, Ryan Briscoe and Will Power - and watch their eyes light up.
Say the same words to Team Penske's dozens of employees and watch the work begin.
When practice begins Saturday for the 94th running of the Indianapolis 500, Team Penske once again will make a run at history. Castroneves, who won the race last year for a third time, aims to tie the record of four 500 victories shared by Rick Mears, Al Unser and A.J. Foyt.
"I love racing at Indianapolis and I am excited to be back," said Castroneves. "We know we'll have to work four times as hard to win our fourth Indy 500 but that's what we're coming here to do and Team Penske is the team to get it done."
That's not all. Team Penske also will attempt to expand on its team record of 15 Indy 500 wins, including all four of Mears' wins and one by Unser. The record dates to 1972, when Mark Donohue claimed victory for Roger Penske's team.
Fans aren't the only ones in awe of the skill and experience with which Team Penske approaches the Indy 500. Its drivers are, too.
"Every day I'm at Indy, I see how remarkable this team is," said Briscoe, who qualified second last year and led 11 laps at Indy. "They are good for a reason. They have so much experience in winning this race. I feel so lucky to be with this team, especially when you head into the month of May. This team provides me with the best opportunity to win the race. I know the Indy 500 means a lot to everyone, but the focus Roger Penske has on this race emulates throughout the team."
This decade has been particularly good for Team Penske at Indy. Castroneves claimed his first 500 victory in 2001, followed it with another win in 2002, and Gil de Ferran made it three in a row for the team with his win in 2003. Sam Hornish Jr. won in 2006, and Castroneves scored his third victory last year.
"The Verizon Team Penske car and all of the guys have been great this year," said Power, who finished fifth in 2009 at Indianapolis. "This is my first year going into (the Indy 500) as a full-time Penske driver and I am excited about that. Of course I want to win every race I start, but this place is special and it seems to intensify the desire to win. I am looking forward to this race and there is truly no place I would rather be than right here, right now."
The early results in the 2010 IndyCar Series season point toward a strong possibility of another Indy 500 win for Team Penske. Power leads the championship standings after the first five races, with victories in Sao Paulo, Brazil, and St. Petersburg, Fla. Castroneves is third in points, with a victory at Barber Motorsports Park, while Briscoe is seventh in the standings, with one pole position and four top-10 finishes.
"Our teams always look forward to the month of May and competing at the Indianapolis 500," said Roger Penske. "Team Penske has gotten off to a strong start this season and we need to continue that momentum and deliver solid results at Indianapolis. I believe all three of our teams and drivers will be strong and are capable of winning on Memorial Day weekend. Both Ryan and Will proved last season how tough they can be at Indianapolis and we all know what Helio is capable of here and he has his fourth Indy 500 win in his sights. It is going to be an exciting few weeks."
Opening-day practice begins Saturday at noon ET for veteran drivers, with rookies taking the track at 2 p.m. Practice continues over the next week. Pole day qualifying on Saturday, May 22, will begin at noon ET and will be televised live on Versus. The 94th Indianapolis 500-mile race is scheduled for Sunday, May 30 at 1 p.m. with ABC's live coverage beginning at noon ET.