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Team Penske Earns Three Top-10 Starting Spots at Kentucky

September 3, 2010

Photo courtesy of Steve Swope



SPARTA, Ky. (September 3, 2010) - Team Penske put itself in position to continue its run to the IZOD IndyCar Series championship on Friday by qualifying all three of its drivers in the first five rows for the start of Saturday night's Kentucky Indy 300 at Kentucky Speedway.

Series championship leader Will Power topped the Team Penske results with the second-fastest effort during Friday's windy qualifying session on the 1.5-mile oval. Power posted a two-lap average time of 48.9192 seconds (217.829 mph) in the No. 12 Verizon Team Penske Dallara/Honda. He'll start on the front row when Saturday's 200-lap race begins at 8:45 p.m. ET.

"My qualifying run was very straightforward," said Power. "This was a typical oval run with lots of wind and low grip. It is good for the No. 12 Verizon car to start on the front row."

Helio Castroneves, who enters the weekend ranked fifth in the championship standings, will start eighth based on his average of 216.857 mph in the No. 3 Team Penske Dallara/Honda.

"Today the Team Penske car was not quite what it needed to be in qualifying," said Castroneves. "Certainly, the wind was a factor today. We will be working on our race setup in tonight's practice, and I know we'll be in contention Saturday night during the race. Will is starting up front and Ryan (Briscoe) is starting in the row behind me, so we just need to work together to have a strong result."

Briscoe, who won last year's race at Kentucky after a thrilling duel with Ed Carpenter - Friday's polewinner - will line up ninth on Saturday night after his two-lap average of 216.00 mph in the No. 6 Team Penske machine.

"We kind of guessed on our setup for qualifying," said Briscoe. "We didn't get a chance to do a practice run this morning because practice was shortened (due to rain). We knew it just wasn't a qualifying lap that was going to threaten for pole. I think we still have a starting position where we can compete for the win tomorrow. If it's anything like last year's race in Kentucky, it's going to be a really exciting race."

Power is 23 points ahead of Dario Franchitti in the championship standings with three races remaining in the 2010 season. Franchitti will start 11th on Saturday.

"I need a good result on a 1.5-mile oval this season, and it's important that we finish ahead of Dario to keep the points lead," said Power. "I feel that qualifying is very important, but this track allows for passing and a lot can happen during the race."

Live television coverage of the Kentucky Indy 300 begins at 8 p.m. ET Saturday on Versus.