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Team Penske Iowa Corn Indy 250 Preview

June 16, 2010

Photo courtesy of Meg Bestell-Eide



FAST FACTS

Drivers: Helio Castroneves (No. 3 Team Penske), Ryan Briscoe (No. 6 Team Penske) and Will Power (No. 12 Verizon Team Penske)

Race: Iowa Corn Indy 250 at Iowa Speedway in Newton, Iowa
(.894-mile oval)

When: Qualifying - Saturday, June 19 at 5:30 p.m. ET (6:00 p.m. ET on Versus)
Race (250 laps) - Sunday, June 20 at 2:30 p.m. ET (1:30 p.m. ET on Versus)

TV/Radio: Versus/IMS Radio Network and XM Channel 145 and Sirius Channel 211

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Team Penske at Iowa: Team Penske has had some success at Iowa Speedway, but the team continues to pursue its first victory at the short, fast oval designed by longtime Penske Racing NASCAR driver Rusty Wallace. In six IZOD IndyCar Series starts at Iowa, Team Penske has recorded four top-10 finishes. The team has led 252 laps at the track, yet its best finish to date has been a second-place result, posted by Ryan Briscoe last season. After testing at the Speedway on June 9 with Helio Castroneves and Will Power, the team hopes to earn its first Iowa win on Sunday afternoon.

Pole Production: Entering this weekend Team Penske is riding a record-setting succession of pole positions won with six in a row (the previous record was five, also established by Team Penske during the 2006 season between drivers Castroneves and Sam Hornish Jr.).

Briscoe Back-to-Back?: Briscoe earned his first win of the season on June 5 at Texas. He'll be looking to win two straight this weekend for the first time in his IndyCar career. Last season, Briscoe started second at Iowa Speedway, led 85 laps and battled for the lead for much of the race before securing a second-place finish. Briscoe started fifth and finished seventh at Iowa in 2008.

Helio History: Helio Castroneves has started all three events at Iowa Speedway from the front row, yet his best finish thus far has been seventh last season. Castroneves has led laps in all three previous events he's run at Iowa and has led a total of 167 laps at the venue.

Power-ing Up: Will Power has only one previous start at Iowa, which came during his rookie season of 2008 while driving for KV Racing Technology. He started 11th and finished ninth in that event for his second-best oval track result of his first IndyCar Series season.

Top of the Standings: Team Penske currently occupies three of the top-five positions in the series championship standings. After leading the championship since the beginning of the season, Power fell to second in the standings after the last race in Texas (he's now three points out of first place) while Castroneves is ranked fourth and Briscoe fifth (three points out of fourth) in the title chase.

Hometown Heroes: Two Team Penske pit crew members are Iowa natives. Corey Odenbrett, the inside rear tire changer on the No. 12 Verizon Team Penske machine, is from Renwick and Travis Law, the inside front tire changer on the No. 6 Team Penske car, hails from Maquoketa.

Qualified Success: Team Penske has an outstanding qualifying record in 2010. The team will be looking for its seventh consecutive pole position in qualifying on Saturday. Power claimed the pole at St. Petersburg, Barber Motorsports Park and Long Beach earlier this season, while Briscoe owned the top qualifying results in Kansas and Texas and Castroneves won the pole for the Indianapolis 500. Last season, Castroneves started first at Iowa, based on entrant points after qualifying was cancelled.

Winning Ways: Team Penske has earned four victories in 2010. The team won the first three races of the season with Power capturing the checkered flag in the No. 12 Verizon Team Penske car at both Sao Paulo, Brazil and at St. Petersburg. Castroneves won in the No. 3 Team Penske Dallara/Honda at Barber Motorsports Park in Alabama to make it three in a row. Most recently, Briscoe took the No. 6 Team Penske machine to Victory Lane at Texas, giving the team its fourth victory in seven races this season.

Oval and Out: The Iowa event marks the end of the first oval stretch of the IndyCar Series season. After starting the year with four consecutive road/street course races, the series has hosted events on four straight ovals. After Iowa, the series shifts back to road course racing with five consecutive events held on permanent road/temporary street courses. The season then concludes with four straight oval events.

Book It: Castroneves' book, Victory Road: The Ride of My Life is currently on sale at bookstores and online at www.amazon.com. The book chronicles Castroneves' emotional life on and off the race track and it serves as an inspirational story about meeting life's challenges.
It's a Snap: On Friday, June 18, all three Team Penske drivers will visit the Snap-on tools facility in Algona, Iowa. A longtime sponsor of Penske Racing, Snap-on will host Castroneves, Briscoe and Power on a tour of the facility and the drivers will also sign autographs and meet with employees at lunchtime. The Verizon Indy show car will be on site along with the Team Penske test trailer that houses an assortment of Snap-on tools.

Verizon Viewing: Castroneves, Briscoe and Power will all appear Friday evening at the Verizon Wireless store located at 3714 Merle Hay Road in Des Moines, Iowa. The drivers will sign autographs for fans and meet with employees from 6-7 p.m. CT on Friday evening, June 18.


WHAT THEY ARE SAYING ABOUT THE IOWA CORN INDY 250

Helio Castroneves: "Well, Iowa is a fun track, but very tough as well. It's very fast, not only on the straights, but also in the corners and we are constantly in traffic. This is a relatively small track, yet there are a lot of factors that influence the outcome. I have done very well in qualifying for the races at Iowa, but during the race itself I have not done as well as I would've liked. This year we are working harder than ever at Team Penske and I feel very good about my chances this weekend."

Ryan Briscoe: "Iowa is a great little track that is very well suited to our IndyCars. The fans in Iowa are awesome and always come out in droves. I ran well there last year to come home second and I could hope for nothing more than to carry my momentum from Texas and try for two wins in a row."

Will Power: "I am looking forward to Iowa this weekend. I ran here back in 2008 and actually did reasonably well (ninth place). I did not have the opportunity to race here last year and that makes this weekend all the better. The Verizon car should be in great shape going into this event. I was able to log some miles at the test, which should prove to be beneficial in the upcoming race. We have had a couple of less-than-desirable finishes lately so I feel we are due to have a great result this weekend."