FORT WORTH, Texas (June 4, 2010) -Team Penske bounced back from a frustrating performance in the Indianapolis 500 by taking three of the top five starting spots - including the pole position - for Saturday's Firestone 550k at Texas Motor Speedway (TMS).
Under hot and humid conditions, Ryan Briscoe won the pole with a four-lap average run of 215.273 mph in the No. 6 Team Penske Dallara/Honda during Friday afternoon qualifying at the fast 1.5-mile high-banked oval. Briscoe continued to build his confidence at Texas. He finished second last season at TMS after dominating the race, leading 160 laps.
"I'm really happy," said Briscoe. "The car was strong in qualifying today. Traditionally, Team Penske has great cars here in Texas. This is going to be a tough race. We will be fighting with the Ganassi cars and obviously Will (Power) and Helio (Castroneves) will be strong as well. I am really hoping to earn my first Texas win and my first win of the season tomorrow to try to score maximum points and get back in the championship hunt."
The performance marked the sixth consecutive pole position for Team Penske in 2010 IZOD IndyCar Series competition. It was also Briscoe's second pole of the season - he led qualifying at Kansas - and his third consecutive top-three qualifying result at Texas.
Power will start third in Saturday night's race after his qualifying effort of 215.158 mph in the No. 12 Verizon Team Penske Dallara/Honda.
"The Verizon car was very good today," Power said. "I think qualifying really means something here because I think it's going to be tough to pass tomorrow. It was a great day overall for Team Penske and we're looking forward to a great race tomorrow."
Meanwhile, Castroneves, the pole winner at Indianapolis and last year's winner at Texas, will start fifth after his effort of 214.411 mph in the No. 3 Team Penske Dallara/Honda.
"We were trying everything we could today in the Team Penske car," said Castroneves. "We improved on our speed from practice, but Ryan just had a great car here. I congratulate him and the team on winning the pole."
The team is just five days removed from a disappointing result in the Indy 500, where all three drivers encountered problems after being in contention early. Power, who leads the IZOD IndyCar Series standings, finished eighth at Indy, while Castroneves finished ninth and Briscoe was 24th after an accident in the second half of the race.
Friday's qualifying performances at Texas didn't make up for the disappointment of Indy, but it's a solid start. On Saturday, Team Penske will be looking for its sixth win at Texas Motor Speedway. The team will need to beat the heat as well as the competition as temperatures are expected to top 100 degrees under sunny skies, though the green flag won't fly for the race until the evening.
"We feel we are in good shape for the race tomorrow," Castroneves said. "It's going to be a hot one, for sure. Hopefully we will have a different result tomorrow from Indy last weekend."
Saturday's race begins at 8:45 p.m. ET. Live television coverage will begin on Versus at 8 p.m.