Team Penske Watkins Glen International Preview
June 30, 2010
Drivers: Helio Castroneves (No. 3 Team Penske), Ryan Briscoe (No. 6 Team Penske) and Will Power (No. 12 Verizon Team Penske)
Race: Camping World Grand Prix at The Glen at Watkins Glen International in Watkins Glen, NY
(2.45-mile permanent road course)
When: Qualifying - Saturday, July 3 at 1:15 p.m. ET
Race (60 laps) - Sunday, July 4 at 3:55 p.m. ET (3:30 p.m. ET on ABC)
TV/Radio: ABC/IMS Radio Network and XM Channel 145 and Sirius Channel 211
On Point at The Glen: Team Penske has started from the top position in all five previous IZOD IndyCar Series races at Watkins Glen International (Helio Castroneves in 2005, 2006, 2007 and Ryan Briscoe in 2008 and 2009). Though the team has fared well in qualifying, it has not been able to produce a race victory over that same time span.
Winning History: From 1979-81, Team Penske won three consecutive races at Watkins Glen International (WGI) in the CART Series. Bobby Unser scored back-to-back wins for the team in 1979 and 1980 while current Team Penske advisor, Rick Mears, captured the checkered flag in 1981 at WGI.
Penske Pole Production: Team Penske is currently riding a record streak of seven straight poles won in IndyCar Series competition this season. This includes poles won by all three drivers (Will Power - 4, Briscoe - 2, Castroneves - 1) and poles at all types of tracks (road courses, street circuits, short oval, 1.5-mile oval and superspeedway). The team will look to extend its record to eight consecutive poles this weekend at track where it's had great recent qualifying success.
Power P1: Power enters this weekend as the series championship leader. He won the first two events on the schedule - both street circuits. As someone who had a reputation entering the year as a road and street course ace, he not only survived the first oval portion of the schedule, he maintained his lead in the points and won the pole on an oval and posted a top-five finish at Iowa. As the series returns to road and street courses for the next five races, Power will try to add to his cushion in the point standings. In his lone start at WGI, Power finished 15th in 2008 - driving for KV Racing Technology.
Castroneves Looks for Glen Glory: In five previous career starts, Castroneves has started from the top spot three times at Watkins Glen but his best finish is fourth, coming last season. The three-time Indianapolis 500 winner hopes to convert his qualifying success into a win at Watkins Glen this weekend.
A Briscoe Favorite: Briscoe proudly states that Watkins Glen is his favorite circuit and he won the last two poles there. He finished second at WGI last year and owns two podium results in his three starts there, including his first-ever IndyCar Series podium in 2006 while driving for Dreyer & Reinbold Racing.
Championship Battle: All three Team Penske drivers are in the thick of the championship chase as the season approaches its halfway point. Power carries an 11-point lead in the standings over Target Chip Ganassi Racing's Scott Dixon into this weekend's race. Castroneves is currently fourth in the title chase, just 23 points behind Power while Briscoe is ranked fifth, just 34 points off the leader.
Strive for Five: Team Penske has earned four victories in 2010 and will be striving for No. 5 on Sunday. 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. The team has won half of the races on the series calendar this season.
Book Signing: Castroneves will sign copies of his new book - Victory Road: The Ride of My Life - on Saturday at Watkins Glen. The book is currently available at top book stores and through Amazon.com. It is also on sale at the IZOD IndyCar Series store and Castroneves will sign copies there for fans on Saturday, July 3 from 11:30 a.m. - 12:15 p.m. ET. The book chronicles Castroneves rise to fame as a three-time Indianapolis 500 champion with Team Penske and winner of the fifth season of Dancing With the Stars and it also examines how he has met life's challenges, like last year's tax trial, and how he has maintained his positive approach through it all.
Verizon Viewing: Castroneves, Briscoe and Power will all appear Friday evening at the Verizon Wireless store located at the Arnot Mall, 3300 Chambers Road South in Horseheads, NY. The drivers will sign autographs for fans and meet with employees from 6:30-7:30 p.m. ET on Friday evening, July 2.
Will Watching: Area McDonalds restaurants have distributed thousands of beverage cups featuring Power and the No. 12 Verizon Team Penske car over the last several weeks to promote this weekend's race. On Sunday, July 4, Power will meet with fans in the McDonalds Fan Zone at Watkins Glen from 12-12:15 p,m. ET prior to the start of the Camping World Grand Prix at The Glen.
WHAT THEY ARE SAYING ABOUT THE CAMPING WORLD GRAND PRIX AT THE GLEN
Helio Castroneves: "I love Watkins Glen, but this place owes me big time! We have been very fast every year we've raced here with Team Penske but we haven't been able to get the result we want, Last year we had our best finish at The Glen and we're hoping for an even better one this year!"
Ryan Briscoe: "Watkins Glen is my favorite track that we visit in the IZOD IndyCar Series. I absolutely love the place. It is so fast and flowing and it is perfectly suited to our IndyCars. I have had some success at the Glen - I got my first-ever IndyCar podium there back in 2006. I have qualified on pole there for Team Penske the last two years. I finished on the podium there last year and I hope to better that this weekend by bringing home the win. I feel my season is really beginning to pick up and I want to continue that momentum into the last half of the year."
Will Power: "I am really looking forward to racing at Watkins Glen this weekend. It was kind of tough last year not being able to race here and having to watch all the action. The Glen is a fantastic track and it is one of my absolute favorite places to drive. I am going into the weekend looking to have fun in the Verizon car and hopefully the results will follow."