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Team Penske Shows its Speed on Fast Friday in Indy

May 18, 2012




INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (May 18, 2012) – Team Penske turned up the heat Friday during the final practice session before qualifying for the 96th Indianapolis 500.

The team’s three drivers recorded fast laps among the top 11 of the day with each posting their fastest times of the week of practice. The results gave all three Penske drivers optimism heading into Saturday’s Pole Day qualifying session.

“I feel like we’re making progress, for sure,” said Ryan Briscoe. “We still have some work to do. I’m still feeling maybe six or seven tenths off the winning (pole) time, but it’s in the IZOD car. We made big gains today in the balance of the car and we’re going for the pole.”

Briscoe led the team with a lap of 226.835 mph in the No. 2 IZOD Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet. That was the second-fastest lap of the 32 cars that practiced Friday and gave the Long Beach pole winner momentum going into Pole Day.

“It’s all about the fine-tuning, but all in all it was a good day,” said Briscoe. “We certainly made the improvements and finished with the team’s best run of the day. That will help me to sleep tonight, knowing that we’re in good shape for tomorrow.”

Three-time Indy 500 winner Helio Castroneves finished just behind his teammate, recording the third-fastest lap of the day at 226.716 mph.  Castroneves will go for the fifth Indianapolis 500 pole of his career on Saturday in The No. 3 Shell V-Power Pennzoil Ultra Team Penske machine.

"I felt we made a lot of improvements in our Shell V-Power Pennzoil Ultra Chevy during Fast Friday,” said Castroneves. “Today certainly helped prepare us for tomorrow and I'm really looking forward to qualifying."

IZOD IndyCar Series points leader Will Power had a fast lap of 225.288 mph in the No. 12 Verizon Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet, giving him the 11th-best speed of the session. Power is attempting to win his first pole at the storied track and his fourth pole of 2012.

"We accomplished a fair bit with our Verizon car today,” said Power, winner of the last three IZOD IndyCar races. “We would've liked to find just a touch more speed, although we always want that. Looking ahead to tomorrow - we're in good shape really and we will give it a go."

The qualifying order for Saturday’s Pole Day has been set with Power drawing sixth, Castroneves ninth and Briscoe in the 19th position. A pole win on Saturday would add to Team Penske’s record 16 poles by seven different drivers.

Team Penske is the most successful team in the history of the Indy 500, having won the race 15 times, including five times in the last 11 years. A record 10 Team Penske drivers have won the legendary race.

Live coverage of Saturday’s qualifying begins at 11 a.m. ET on the NBC Sports Network. The fastest nine qualifiers will compete in a shootout for the prestigious pole award at 4:30 p.m.

Live coverage of the 96th Indianapolis 500 will begin at 12 p.m. ET on Sunday, May 27 live on ABC-TV.

To learn more about Team Penske at the Indianapolis 500, visit the team’s media race pass at http://media.penskeracing.com/teampenskemedia/indianapolis

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