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Rain Postpones Itaipava Sao Paulo Indy 300 to Monday Morning

May 1, 2011

Photo courtesy of Steve Swope



SAO PAULO, Brazil (May 1, 2011) – Team Penske will have the top two front-runners Monday when the Itaipava Sao Paulo Indy 300 presented by Nestle resumes in the streets of Sao Paulo.

The race was postponed Sunday after a wet start and a lengthy red-flag delay for persistent rain in Sao Paulo.

When the event restarts Monday morning at 8 a.m. ET it will resume where action was stopped on Sunday – 40 minutes into a two-hour timed race. That will put Team Penske in a good position up front with Will Power leading the race in the No. 12 Verizon Dallara/Honda followed by teammate Ryan Briscoe in the No. 6 Penske Logistics car.

Meanwhile, Helio Castroneves, who was involved in a multi-car accident during the rainy start of the race, will restart on Monday in the 23rd position driving the No. 3 Itaipava Team Penske machine.

After winning his fourth consecutive pole position to start the season on Saturday, Power started from the point in the Verizon car and maintained his lead through the start and a subsequent restart. The race was red-flagged after nine of the scheduled 75 laps due to standing water on the 2.6-mile street circuit before the field eventually returned to the track. However, after running a few laps under the yellow caution flag due to the steady rainfall, IZOD IndyCar Series officials once again red-flagged the race before they deemed the track too wet to continue and the event was postponed until Monday.

"I am definitely disappointed. I wanted to race and I thought we could get it in," said Power, who will be looking for his second consecutive victory on the streets of Sao Paulo and his second win of the season when the race resumes Monday. "When the cars were out the second time the rain slowed down and I thought we probably could get the track in good enough shape to race. It's unfortunate for the fans, but I guess we do need to think about safety first. The Verizon car was feeling good today and hopefully we can come back and finish strong tomorrow."

Briscoe, who started fourth on Sunday, moved into second place after the competitors in front of him had trouble in the wet conditions on the race start and restart.

"It's just really unfortunate that we couldn't get in the race today," said Briscoe. "We've been happy with the Penske Logistics car all weekend and we were ready for an exciting race today, but unfortunately the weather didn't cooperate. I feel really bad for the fans – the stands were packed here today and they stuck it out until the very end. It's too bad for them and the people watching at home on TV because they've done an outstanding job with the changes they made to the circuit and we were ready for a great race. The good thing is we have two of the three Team Penske cars up front so hopefully we'll be in good shape when we do get a chance to run."

Starting seventh, Castroneves found himself with nowhere to go on the opening lap when the car driven by Dario Franchitti made contact with the No. 3  machine and forced it into the wall, causing major suspension damage. The Team Penske crew repaired the Itaipava Team Penske car during the red-flag period, and Castroneves later returned.

"Well, I'm very disappointed for several reasons," said Castroneves, racing in front of his hometown fans this weekend. "First, we were involved in an incident on the first lap with Dario (Franchitti) where he went a little deep into the turn and he hit the right front of my Itaipava Team Penske car and we went straight into the wall. Fortunately, the No. 3 car guys were able to repair the damage during the delay but we basically lost 10 laps. Then, the race gets postponed. I feel very bad for the great Brazilian fans that were here today. It's just a shame. But, hopefully we can come back and put on a good show tomorrow."

Coverage of the race will resume Monday at 8 a.m. ET on Versus.