No team has experienced more success over the years at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway (IMS) and as practice begins this weekend for the centennial Indy 500, Team Penske is anxious to get back to the Victory Podium at Indy for the first time since 2009.
"Our team has built its history around our success at the Indianapolis 500 and this is truly a special opportunity to celebrate the 100th anniversary of this great race," said Roger Penske. "There is so much tradition and history at Indianapolis but that is just part of what makes this event so unique. Our teams have been working hard to prepare for the Indy 500 and we believe we have three cars and three drivers that are very capable of winning this race. I am looking forward to an exciting few weeks."
Driving the No. 3 Shell V-Power Pennzoil Ultra car for the first time, Helio Castroneves hopes to make a little history of his own at Indy. Castroneves will be looking to tie the all-time record with four Indy 500 victories. Though his IZOD IndyCar Series season has gotten off to a tough start in 2011, Castroneves feels that his track record and familiarity with "The Brickyard" provide him with a great opportunity to get back on track in the month of May. Castroneves will attempt to join A.J. Foyt, Al Unser and Team Penske's own Rick Mears as the all-time winningest drivers in the history of the 500. The veteran of 25 career Indy car victories will also be chasing his fifth Indy 500 pole position.
"Indianapolis is such special place and it has definitely been significant for me and my career," said Castroneves, who enters Indy ranked 17th in the series standings after four races. "This year promises to be really big, with the 100th anniversary adding an air of excitement surrounding not only the race, but all of the great events associated with it. Team Penske has some terrific history at Indy with Shell-Pennzoil and I am going to do my best to add to that legacy in the No. 3 Shell V-Power Pennzoil-Ultra car. Indianapolis is the perfect place for me to turn my season around and I can't wait to get that opportunity."
Ryan Briscoe begins opening weekend at Indianapolis as one of the hottest drivers in the series. Fresh off back-to-back podium finishes at Long Beach and Sao Paulo, Brazil, the driver of the No. 6 IZOD Team Penske Dallara/Honda has jumped to fifth in the championship standings. He will make his sixth career Indy 500 start on Memorial Day weekend and would like nothing better than to continue his momentum with a strong result in the biggest race of the season.
"I'm obviously very excited to run this historic event - it could very well be the biggest race of my life," said Briscoe, who owns one top-five and a pair of top-10 finishes in his previous five starts at Indy. "I'm also very focused and determined to run well and put myself in a position towards the end of the race that will allow me to challenge for the win. The No. 6 IZOD Team Penske car has been fast everywhere this year and our team's hard work has started to pay off over the last couple of events. We are going to do our best to bring home another strong finish for the team."
After producing two wins and four consecutive poles to start the 2011 season, Verizon Team Penske's Will Power arrives in Indianapolis as IZOD IndyCar Series points leader. With a career-best finish of fifth at Indianapolis (in 2009), Power knows there would be no better place to secure his first oval victory than at IMS.
"Yeah, this is going to be a pretty big deal, with the 100th anniversary of the Indianapolis 500 - the biggest race in the world," said Power, who will be making his fourth Indy 500 start. "Our No. 12 Verizon car should be better than it was last year and it was pretty good in 2010. Team Penske has been working really hard and we should be in great shape for this race. It is such a long event. We have plenty of time to practice before we qualify so we should be able to sort our car out. The race itself is also really long which means that we just have to be smart and be there at the end. It should be a pretty good few weeks. I'm really looking forward to it."
Practice for the Indianapolis 500 gets underway on Saturday, May 14 at 12 pm ET. IndyCar Series practice runs from 12-6 pm ET through May 20 with Pole Day qualifying set for Saturday, May 21. Bump Day is Sunday, May 22 and Carburetion Day will be Friday, May 27. The green flag for the 100th anniversary Indianapolis 500 is set for 12 pm ET on Sunday, May 29 and will be seen live on ABC-TV.