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Team Penske Ready for Title Run at Homestead Finale

September 29, 2010

Photo courtesy of Steve Swope



FAST FACTS

Drivers: Helio Castroneves (No. 3 Team Penske), Ryan Briscoe (No. 6 Team Penske) and Will Power (No. 12 Verizon Team Penske)

Race: Cafes do Brasil Indy 300 at Homestead-Miami Speedway in Homestead, Fla.
(1.5-mile oval)

When: Qualifying - Friday, October 1 at 4:45 p.m. ET (5:00 p.m. ET on Versus)
Race (200 laps) - Saturday, October 2 at 7:00 p.m. ET (6:00 p.m. ET on Versus)

TV/Radio: Versus/IMS Radio Network and XM Channel 145 and Sirius Channel 211


Fantastic Finale: The 2010 IZOD IndyCar Series concludes on Saturday night under the lights with the Cafes do Brasil Indy 300 at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Drivers Helio Castroneves, Ryan Briscoe and Will Power will try to capture the team's second season-ending win in the last three years.

Homestead History: Team Penske has quite a history competing at Homestead-Miami Speedway. The team has raced at the event in South Miami for 13 of the past 14 seasons. Team Penske last won the IZOD IndyCar Series event at Homestead in 2004 with Sam Hornish Jr. Over the years, the team has produced one win, three poles, 14 top-five and 18 top-10 finishes in 25 starts at the venue.

Championship Challenge: Will Power arrives in Miami positioned to capture his first IZOD IndyCar Series Championship. The native of Toowoomba, Australia has occupied the top spot in the point standings for all but one race this season. Power is on the cusp of clinching the title after posting five victories, eight poles and 11 top-five finishes in 16 starts this season. He enters the weekend leading second-place championship contender, Dario Franchitti, by 12 points.

Powering Up: Power has just one previous start at Homestead, driving for KV Racing Technology. In his first-ever IndyCar Series race, Power finished 25th in 2008 after a suspension failure prematurely ended his day after just 24 laps. Though he is still searching for his first oval victory, Power has recorded three consecutive solid performances on oval tracks. He is coming off his career-best oval result with a third-place finish at Twin Ring Motegi.

Back to the Beginning: Homestead-Miami Speedway is the place where Power's Team Penske career began. His first time driving for the team occurred at the IndyCar Series open test at Homestead in February of 2009. Filling in for Castroneves while he was away from the team during his tax trial, Power posted the seventh-fastest time overall in the two-day test session.

A Test of Wills...and Helios and Ryans: All three Team Penske drivers tested at Homestead-Miami Speedway last Monday, September 27. A total of 12 IndyCars took to the track in the afternoon and evening at the Homestead oval making final preparations for this weekend's race.

Triple Play to End the Season?: South Florida resident Helio Castroneves enters the weekend riding a two-race winning streak. He won most recently on September 19 after dominating at Twin Ring Motegi in Japan where he captured the pole and led 153 of 200 laps en route to the checkered flag. Prior to that, the three-time Indianapolis 500 champion used a deft fuel strategy to beat the competition September 4 at Kentucky Speedway. Castroneves' most recent victory places him tied for 12th with Johnny Rutherford in All-Time Indy Car Career Wins with 25.

Helio at Homestead: Castroneves has historically earned solid results at Homestead-Miami Speedway over his distinguished career. The driver, who currently resides in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., has never won at his home track but he has finished in the runner-up position twice, earned four podium results, posted seven top-five and eight top-10 finishes in 11 starts. In eight IZOD IndyCar Series starts at Homestead, Castroneves has completed 1598 of 1600 laps of competition.

Miami Marshals: Celebrating a strong history competing at their "home" track, both Castroneves and fellow South Florida-based driver Tony Kanaan will serve as Co-Grand Marshals of this weekend's event. Both Castroneves and Kanaan will provide a twist on the famous racing command by simultaneously saying, "Drivers start OUR engines!" from their cars as part of their Marshal duties before the start of Saturday night's race.

Ryan Returns: Ryan Briscoe will make his fourth career start at Homestead-Miami Speedway this weekend. Briscoe's best result at the 1.5-mile oval occurred last season when he finished second. He enters this weekend ranked fifth in the IZOD IndyCar Series championship standings.

Same Place, Different Chase: Much like Power's situation this season, Briscoe entered the 2009 season finale at Homestead with a chance to win the series championship. He trailed by eight points entering the race weekend and needed a near perfect weekend to earn the title - and he almost pulled it off. Briscoe led last year's race four times, pacing the field for a race-high 103 laps, but both he and Scott Dixon were forced to pit for fuel late in the race which opened the door for Franchitti to win the race and his second series title.

Still Some Racing Left To Do: While this is the last race of the IZOD IndyCar Series season, Briscoe has two more races in the weeks following this event. The 29-year-old native of Sydney, Australia, returns to his homeland to compete in both The Bathurst 1000 (October 10) and the Gold Coast 600 (October 24) V8 Supercar races. Both Power and Castroneves will also compete in the Gold Coast event at Surfers Paradise.

Season of Success: With 16 rounds of the 17-race season in the books, Team Penske has earned nine 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 consecutive victories at Kentucky and Motegi to make it nine wins for Team Penske

Power on Pole: Power has earned a record eight IZOD IndyCar Series pole position this 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.

Penske Pole Production: Overall, Team Penske has earned an impressive 13 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 13 poles have been won by all three drivers (Power-8, Briscoe-3 and Castroneves-2) 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 CAFES DO BRASIL INDY 300

Helio Castroneves: "It is the last race of the season and the last series race, at least for now, at Homestead. I want to carry the good momentum from our two straight wins into this weekend and tu