Team Penske Ready to Tackle Twin Ring Motegi
September 16, 2010
Drivers: Helio Castroneves (No. 3 Team Penske), Ryan Briscoe (No. 6 Team Penske) and Will Power (No. 12 Verizon Team Penske
Race: Indy Japan 300 at Twin Ring Motegi in Motegi, Japan (1.5-mile oval)
When: Qualifying – Saturday, September 18 at 2:30 a.m. ET (10:00 p.m. ET Saturday on Versus)
Race (200 laps) – Sunday, September 19 at 12:00 a.m. ET (11:00 p.m. ET Saturday on Versus)
TV/Radio: Versus/IMS Radio Network and XM Channel 145 and Sirius Channel 211
Tackling Twin Ring: Team Penske looks forward to competing at the famed Twin Ring Motegi (TRM) oval this weekend in the second-to-last of the 2010 IZOD IndyCar Series season. The team has raced at the event in Motegi for 11 out of the past 12 seasons. Team Penske last won the IndyCar Series event at Motegi in 2006. Over the years, the team has produced one win, five poles, seven top-five and 14 top-10 finishes in 21 starts at the venue.
On A Roll: Helio Castroneves arrives in Japan as the most recent winner in IZOD IndyCar Series competition. The three-time Indy 500 champion used a deft fuel strategy to beat the competition and post his second win of the season on Septemer 4 at Kentucky Speedway.
Helio's Motegi Memories: Castroneves has enjoyed solid success at Motegi over his distinguished career. He started on the pole at Japan in 2001, 2006, 2007 and 2008 and he earned a victory there in 2006 after leading a race high 184 laps.
Briscoe is Back: Ryan Briscoe will make his fourth career start at Motegi this weekend. Briscoe has plenty of experience competing in Japan. He raced go-karts there and served as a Formula One test driver for Panasonic Toyota Racing in 2003-04 before he joined the IndyCar Series and began racing annually at Twin Ring Motegi.
Looking for Redemption: Despite his experience competing in Japan, Briscoe has not been able to post a top IndyCar Series finish at Motegi. His best result at TRM was a ninth-place effort in 2008 for Team Penske. Last season, Briscoe made contact with the wall while exiting pit lane shortly after he had taken the lead of the race. The incident resulted in an 18th-place finish for Briscoe and it damaged his pursuit of the series championship as he wound up third in the title chase.
First Trip to Japan: IZOD IndyCar Series leader Will Power will make his first ever start at Motegi in Sunday's Indy Japan 300. Power is still searching for his first career oval victory after two solid performances that featured disappointing results in his last two races - at Chicagoland Speedway and Kentucky Speedway.
Power on Point: Power enters this event leading the overall series championship standings. He posted an eighth-place finish in the most recent IZOD IndyCar Series event at Kentucky. He currently leads second-place championship challenger, Dario Franchitti, by 17 points. Franchitti has never won an Indy car race at Twin Ring Motegi.
Two to Go: For the second consecutive season, Team Penske enters the penultimate round of series competition leading the championship standings. Last season, Briscoe led the battle for the IndyCar Series crown by 25 points entering the second-to-last race of the season at Japan. Homestead-Miami Speedway will host the IZOD IndyCar Series season finale, as it did last year, with an evening race on Saturday, October 2.
Winning Ways: With 15 rounds of the 17-race season in the books, Team Penske has earned eight 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 earned the team's seventh win of the year at Sonoma while Castroneves scored his second victory, and made it eight wins for Team Penske, last round at Kentucky Speedway.
Pole Power: Power recently earned his record eighth IZOD IndyCar Series 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, Danny Sullivan, Rick Mears, Michael Andretti and Sebastien Bourdais, who have all won eight poles in one season
Quality Qualifying: Overall, Team Penske has earned an impressive 12 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 12 poles have been won by all three drivers (Power-8, Briscoe-3 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 INDY JAPAN 300
Helio Castroneves: "Motegi is a challenging circuit, but the event is a lot of fun. I admire the discipline of the Japanese people - I also enjoy their culture and I love their food. The No. 3 Team Penske car is coming off a great run at our last race in Kentucky and we certainly aim to carry that momentum into the race at Twin Ring Motegi. I hope to repeat what we did there back in 2006