Team Penske Ready to Get Back on Track at Edmonton
July 20, 2011
Drivers: Helio Castroneves (No. 3 Penske Truck Rental), Ryan Briscoe (No. 6 Penske Truck Rental) and Will Power (No. 12 Verizon Team Penske)
Event: Edmonton Indy
City Centre Airport
Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
(2.25-mile temporary street circuit)
When: Qualifying -Saturday, July 23 at 5:30 p.m. ET (6 p.m. ET on Versus)
Race (90 laps) - Sunday, July 24 at 2:45 p.m. ET (Coverage begins at 2 p.m. ET live on Versus)
TV/Radio: Versus/IMS Radio Network and Sirius XM Channel 94
The Edmonton Effect: Team Penske returns to Edmonton after controversy surrounded last year's race at the circuit. In 2010, Helio Castroneves was leading on a late race restart when he was called for blocking by INDYCAR race officials. Castroneves disagreed with the call and did not serve the appropriate penalty as he took the checkered flag ahead of eventual race winner, Scott Dixon. After coming to pit lane, Castroneves was visibly upset at officials and he was eventually fined for making contact with series personnel. Castroneves finished 10th while Will Power earned a second-place result after leading a race-high 76 laps and Ryan Briscoe came home fourth for Team Penske.
City Centre Success: Despite last season's finish, Team Penske has enjoyed solid results at Edmonton since the IZOD IndyCar Series added the popular airport circuit to its schedule in 2008. The team has won the pole there in each of the past three seasons (Ryan Briscoe in 2008 and Will Power in both 2009 and 2010) and it's earned four podium results and one victory (with Power in 2009). The track has a new 2.25-mile layout for 2011.
Power Switch: Power arrives in Edmonton in a much different situation than last year at this time. In 2010, Power was coming off his second consecutive victory as he prepared to race in Edmonton and he carried a 42-point lead over championship rival Dario Franchitti entering the race weekend. This year, Power is coming off two consecutive DNFs (did not finish) and he now trails Franchitti by 55 points in the title chase entering Sunday's race, following Franchitti's win in Toronto on July 10.
Ramping Up the Rivalry: The rivalry between Power and Franchitti has heated up recently. The two top title contenders from 2010 tangled last race in a wild event in the streets of Toronto as Franchitti spun Power in the second half of the race before the Scotsman went on to claim the victory. Power was also hit late in the race by Canada's Alex Tagliani as his day ended early. Power was critical of Franchitti's driving in the pivotal incident that has certainly had a bearing on the championship fight.
Oh, Canada!: In Canada, Power has posted impressive results throughout his career. In 11 races spanning Power's career in both Champ Car and IndyCar Series competition on Canadian soil, he has produced three wins and three poles to go along with seven top-five and nine top-10 results. In five career races at Edmonton, Power has earned a win, three poles and he's led 194 laps of competition. Power thinks his Canadian heritage may have something to do with the success north of the border. His grandmother, Jean Ella (Buchan) Power, was born in Brandon, Manitoba, but grew up and worked in Lethbridge, Alberta.
Helio at Edmonton: Castroneves has run well at Edmonton over the last three seasons. He qualified and finished among the top three at City Centre Airport in both 2008 and 2009 and qualified second last season and appeared to be headed for the win before the controversial late-race penalty. He's led in each of the last three races at Edmonton and has led 54 laps of racing at the venue overall.
Ryan's Flyin' at the Airport: Ryan Briscoe has also produced good results in his three races at Edmonton. He won the pole on the fast and physical street circuit in 2008 before finishing sixth, he qualified second and finished fourth in 2009 and he turned his fifth-place starting spot into a fourth-place finish last season.
Racing for Kids Visit: Power will visit with the patients at Stollery Children's Hospital, located at 8440 112th Street in Edmonton, on Thursday, July 21 at 1:30 p.m. MT as part of the Racing for Kids program. Power will be available for media interviews during this visit.
Pole Prowess: Team Penske will battle for its fourth consecutive pole at Edmonton during qualifying on Saturday. Briscoe claimed the pole in 2008 while Power topped qualifying in each of the last two seasons at City Centre Airport. Power will also be looking for his ninth consecutive road/street course pole position in IZOD Indycar Series competition dating back to last season.
Proud Partners: Team Penske is proud to welcome several new sponsors to its family in 2011. Joining Power's No. 12 car team primary sponsor, Verizon, in the Team Penske stable this season, Penske Truck Rental will compete as a sponsor of both the No. 3 car driven by Castroneves and the No. 6 car driven by Briscoe this weekend. Team Penske also welcomes Shell-Pennzoil, IZOD, Guidepoint Systems, AAA Insurance, PPG Automotive Refinish and Transitions Adaptive Lenses as primary sponsors in 2011 along with new associate sponsors Meijer, Coca-Cola and Comfort Revolution.
WHAT THEY ARE SAYING ABOUT THE EDMONTON INDY
Helio Castroneves: "Here we go, back to Edmonton - a place where we've done very well, including last year. I joke around that I'm coming back to defend my race win and I think that's true, but of course we can't forget what happened there last year. Oh well, this season it's a new track so we can only hope for another great race, this time in our Penske Truck Rental car. After all that happened last time, it would really mean a lot to turn our season around with a strong finish in Edmonton."
Ryan Briscoe: "I'm looking forward to learning the new circuit. The first time we raced at Edmonton I was able to earn the pole, which would be a great way to start the race this time around in the Penske Truck Rental car. We have been quick on this type of circuit and I hope to get my first win of the season this weekend in Edmonton."
Will Power: "I always look forward to race weekends and this one probably more than most. The Edmonton circuit has been a good one for the Verizon car and I really like the challenges that this course offers and racing in front of the Canadian fans. We have had two poor finishes in a row, so we really need to put it all together this weekend and have a strong result. The new track configuration looks like it will allow us to pass, which will make it an interesting race for the drivers and an exciting race for the fans."