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Team Penske Experiences Tough Results at Chicagoland

August 29, 2010

Photo courtesy of Steve Swope



JOLIET, Ill. (August 28, 2010) - Team Penske's strong effort turned into a disappointing finish Saturday night in the Peak Antifreeze and Motor Oil Indy 300 at Chicagoland Speedway. All three Team Penske cars started up front and both IZOD IndyCar Series championship leader Will Power and polesitter Ryan Briscoe battled for the race lead, but in the end the team was unable to secure a top result. Helio Castroneves led the way for Team Penske as he finished sixth, while Briscoe came home in 11th place and Power wound up 16th in the final running order.

Power was battling for the lead late in the race and looked ready to seize his first oval victory when, after what was set up to be the final pit stop of the night, the No. 12 Verizon Team Penske Dallara/Honda had to return to pit lane to be refueled with five laps remaining. The stop sent him from second place to a 16th-place finish as 36 points were sliced from his Power's cushion in the series championship standings with three races remaining.

"That was a really intense race and man, I had a lot of fun out there in the Verizon car," said Power of the thrilling wheel-to-wheel racing for 200 laps at Chicagoland. "Unfortunately, we had a problem with our fuel late in the race and we had to come back in and lost positions. That was just a mistake that we couldn't afford. This obviously makes things tougher for the championship, but we're still in front and we proved how competitive we can be on the ovals. We'll move on and we will work harder next week at Kentucky."

Power now owns a 23-point advantage in the standings over Dario Franchitti, Saturday night's winner. The three remaining races in the 2010 season include next weekend at Kentucky Speedway, September 18 at Japan's Twin Ring Motegi and the October 2 season finale in Miami.

Starting from fourth place, Castroneves battled with the leaders early on in the race. But a fueling problem on the team's first stop saw the three-time Indianapolis 500 winner fall back in the field. Castroneves continued to work his way back into contention and he took the checkered flag in sixth place driving the No. 3 Team Penske Dallara/Honda. With the result, Castroneves remains in fifth in the standings, 130 points behind Power.

"The Team Penske car was good early in the race," said Castroneves. "I was able to run strong toward the front of the field. During our first stop we had an issue fueling and that put us back in the pack. My car was not as good in traffic as it was toward the front of the field and honestly it was a little unnerving back there. The cars at the back were moving around quite a bit and it was difficult to find racing room. We will be back at it again next week at Kentucky and hopefully we'll have a better result there."

Briscoe, who captured his third pole of the season on Friday and hoped to secure his second straight victory at Chicagoland Speedway, led much of the first half of the race as the No. 6 Team Penske car looked dominant at times. He fell back in traffic in the later stages of the event and he was unable to make up enough ground to finish inside the top-10. Briscoe posted an 11th-place finish and he remains fourth in the championship, 122 points off the leader's pace.

"That was a wild night," said Briscoe, who led a race-high 113 laps. "The Team Penske car was great running out front, and I was able to run fast on my own. After that last stop, we lost a little track position. I tried everything that I could, but my car was just not as good in traffic."

Despite the disappointing finish, Power was pleased with his ability to run among the leaders on a 1.5-mile oval - he led three times on the night for 17 laps. "I never thought I could race ovals like that," said Power. "I was looking good there until that last stop. As long as I was leading, they couldn't get past me."

Looking to get back on the winning track, Team Penske enters next weekend's Kentucky 300 as the defending champion. Briscoe won last season after a dramatic battle with Ed Carpenter over the closing laps of the race. Qualifying and practice will take place on Friday, September 3 with the race coverage set to begin at 8 p.m. ET next Saturday night, September 4, on Versus.