Team Penske Chicagoland Speedway Preview
August 26, 2010
Drivers: Helio Castroneves (No. 3 Team Penske), Ryan Briscoe (No. 6 Team Penske) and Will Power (No. 12 Verizon Team Penske)
Race: Peak Antifreeze and Motor Oil Indy 300 at Chicagoland Speedway in Joliet, Ill.
When: Qualifying - Friday, August 27 at 2:00 p.m. ET (5:00 p.m. ET on Versus)
Race (200 laps) - Saturday, August 28 at 7:50 p.m. ET (7:00 p.m. ET on Versus)
TV/Radio: Versus/IMS Radio Network and XM Channel 145 and Sirius Channel 211
Round and Round: Team Penske begins the final phase of the 2010 season with this weekend's race at Chicagoland Speedway. Saturday night's Peak Antifreeze and Motor Oil Indy 300 begins a stretch of four consecutive oval races to close the IZOD IndyCar Series season.
Our Kind of Town, Chicago Is: Team Penske has experienced much success at Chicagoland Speedway since it began competing there in the IZOD IndyCar Series in 2002. Both Helio Castroneves (2008) and Ryan Briscoe (2009) have recorded victories at Chicagoland, with Briscoe's win last year coming from the pole after leading a race-high 71 laps. Team Penske has produced two wins, four poles, nine top-five and 12 top-10 finishes, including seven podium results, in 16 total starts at the Windy City speedway.
Podium Pride and Close Calls: In the last five IZOD IndyCar Series races at Chicagoland, a Team Penske car has finished on the podium and the team has won each of the last two races at the venue. The two most recent races at Chicagoland rank among the most closely-contested battles in open-wheel racing history with the margin of victory being.0077 of a second in Briscoe's 2009 win and a mere .0033 of a second in Castroneves' 2008 victory.
Road King Hits the Ovals: Will Power enters this weekend's event as the newly-crowned Mario Andretti Road Course Champion of the 2010 IZOD IndyCar Series season. Now, he must focus his talent and energy on posting strong results in the remaining four oval races in order to win his first IndyCar Series overall championship. Coming off a dominant victory last Sunday at Infineon Raceway that saw him lead 73 of the 75 laps in the race, Power currently leads the championship standings by 59 points over his closest competitor, Dario Franchitti. Power, who has led the championship following every race but one this season, owned an 11-point advantage over Scott Dixon following the first stretch of oval races this season.
Chicagoland Power: In his only race at Chicagoland Speedway, Power started 10th and finished fifth while driving for KV Racing Technology in 2008. The result marked his top oval race finish of the season and tied his top career oval result.
Castroneves at Chicago: Castroneves drove from 28th to first, and led 80 laps, to earn his lone victory at Chicagoland in 2008. He has finished in the top-four in five of his eight starts at this track. Castroneves also won the pole at Chicagoland in 2004 and has not started outside of the top-four in the last four races in Joliet. The three-time Indianapolis 500 winner currently holds down the fifth position in the IZOD IndyCar Series championship standings.
Ryan Returns: Briscoe has enjoyed a memorable history at Chicagoland. The third-year Team Penske driver has earned the pole in his last two starts at Joliet. Last year, he led the most laps and won the race. In 2008, he led 41 laps en route to a third-place finish. In 2005, while driving for Target Chip Ganassi Racing, Briscoe suffered season-ending injuries in a spectacular accident. Briscoe enters this weekend's race ranked fourth in the championship point standings, 130 points behind Power but just 35 points behind third-place driver Scott Dixon.
Night Time is the Right Time: Team Penske is excited to return to night racing this weekend at Chicagoland. The team has enjoyed tremendous success recently in night races. In 2009, the team claimed victory in three night races on the series calendar (Texas, Chicago and Kentucky) and Briscoe made it four recent night race wins for the team earlier this season at Texas. Two more night races are on the schedule following Saturday night's race at Chicagoland Speedway - at Kentucky Speedway on September 4 and the season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway on October 2.
Men About Town: Both Castroneves and Briscoe will be in the Chicago area on Thursday, August 26 for a media tour to promote Saturday night's Peak Antifreeze and Motor Oil Indy 300. All three Team Penske drivers will then sign autographs for fans at the Woodfield Mall in Schaumburg, Ill. with the rest of the IZOD IndyCar Series field from 6-7 p.m. CT on Thursday evening.
Monumental Occasion: Briscoe will unveil his winner's monument on Saturday at 2:30 p.m. at Chicagoland Speedway's Champion's Park. A monument is created annually for the winner of the race in Joliet and unveiled the following year. Briscoe will unveil the tribute and say a few words to the fans in attendance before Saturday's race.
Special Seven: With 13 rounds of the 17-race season in the books, Team Penske has earned seven victories thus far in the 2010 IZOD IndyCar Series. The team won the first three races of the season with Power claiming victory at Sao Paulo, Brazil and St. Petersburg in the No. 12 Verizon Team Penske car before Castroneves took the top spot in the No. 3 Team Penske Dallara/Honda at Barber Motorsports Park in Alabama. Briscoe then scored his first victory of the season in the No. 6 Team Penske machine at Texas before Power went on to score back-to-back wins at Watkins Glen and Toronto. Power then earned the team's seventh win of the year last weekend at Sonoma.
Power Poles: Power recently earned his IZOD IndyCar Series record eighth pole position of the season. This achievement allowed Power to join the ranks of great open-wheel drivers Mario Andretti, Al Unser, A.J. Foyt, Danny Ongais, Rick Mears, Michael Andretti and Sebastien Bourdais, who have all won eight poles in one season. Power, who led qualifying at Iowa Speedway earlier this season for his first career oval pole, will be looking to extend his record to nine poles on Friday in qualifying at Chicagoland Speedway.
Pole-A-Rising: Overall, Team Penske has earned a noteworthy 11 poles this season, which included a series record streak of eight poles in row beginning with the second race of the season at St. Petersburg and ending in Toronto. The 11 poles have been won by all three drivers (Power-8, Briscoe-2 and Castroneves-1) and they were earned at all types of tracks (road course, street course, short oval, 1.5 mile oval and superspeedway).
WHAT THEY ARE SAYING ABOUT THE PEAK ANTIFREEZE AND MOTOR OIL INDY 300
Helio Castroneves: "Chicago is certainly a place where I have had many ups and downs, but the ups are what I remember the most. The race in 2008 was unbelievable - it was such a close result they did not even realize I had won until after reviewing the finish. This track is a perfect place for us to have a great result and begin to collect points in pursuit of the oval championship. The No. 3 Team Penske car is always strong here and I am excited to go oval racing this Saturday night."
Ryan Briscoe: "Chicago has lots of memories for me, both good and bad. Having said that, the last couple of years have been great for me and I am excited to be going back. I love the track and I enjoy racing there. I am looking forward to a great weekend as the Team Penske cars are always competitive at Chicagoland."