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Team Penske Barber Motorsports Park Race Preview

April 24, 2014




THE RACE

Verizon IndyCar Series
Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama
Leeds, Ala.                 

 
THE CARS

No. 2 PPG Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet
Driven By Juan Pablo Montoya

No. 3 AAA Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet
Driven By Helio Castroneves

No. 12 Verizon Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet
Driven By Will Power
 

THE NEWS AND NOTES

Juan Pablo Montoya
No. 2 PPG Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet    

· ANOTHER DEBUT:  This weekend’s race at Barber Motorsports Park marks Juan Pablo Montoya’s second event this season on a track where he has no previous racing experience. Montoya did participate in Verizon IndyCar Series Spring Training at Barber in February, posting the ninth-fastest overall time of 1:07:4764 seconds.

· FIRST TOP FIVE: Last race on the streets of Long Beach, Montoya scored his first Verizon IndyCar Series top-five result since he finished second in Houston in 2000.

· SWEET HOME ALABAMA: This weekend, Montoya returns to race in the state of Alabama for the first time since rejoining the Verizon IndyCar Series this season. Talladega Superspeedway, located 30 minutes east of Barber, was the site of Montoya’s first career stock car race and the first pole of his NASCAR career. The former IndyCar series champion is hoping for another milestone this weekend.

· PPG IN ALA.: This weekend marks the first race of the season as a primary car sponsor for long-time Team Penske partner, PPG. Founded in 1883, PPG has its global headquarters in Pittsburgh, Penn., and operates in more than 60 countries around the world. PPG has been a Team Penske partner for 28 years!
    
THE Q & A

JUAN PABLO MONTOYA

WITH A TOP-FIVE FINISH AT LONG BEACH, DO YOU FEEL YOU ARE STARTING TO HIT YOUR STRIDE?

"To get a top-five finish under our belt two weeks ago in Long Beach was definitely a step in the right direction for the No. 2 Team Penske Chevy team. Top-five finishes are not the ultimate goal for us, but as I’ve said before, this journey back to the Verizon IndyCar Series is a process. While you might want them to, things don’t happen overnight in this sport. As I continue to learn more about the ‘red’ Firestone tires, how they wear and the grip level they provide, we should start qualifying better and that will mean a huge difference in how we race and how we finish in the No. 2 PPG Automotive Refinish Chevy.”

WHAT WERE YOUR FIRST IMPRESSIONS OF THE BARBER MOTORSPORTS PARK FACILITY?

“It’s really a cool racetrack with the way they used the terrain and hills. But it’s really fast and coming here for the first time in February was an eye-opening experience. You don’t have a ton of passing zones for such a high-speed place so, again, we’ll have to focus on qualifying and do the best we can there.”    

 

THE NEWS AND NOTES

Helio Castroneves
No. 3 AAA Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet  
 

· FOND MEMORIES: In 2010 Castroneves scored a win in the inaugural Grand Prix of Alabama. After qualifying his No. 3 Team Penske machine in the third position, Castroneves went on to lead a total of 20 laps en route to the victory.

· BARBER QUALIFIER: Qualifying takes on added significance on road and street courses in the Verizon IndyCar Series. Castroneves has made it to the final round of Firestone Fast Six qualifying in all four races contested at Barber.

· HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON 2: The Grand Prix of Alabama is the second race of the season that the AAA colors will adorn the No. 3 Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet. Similar to last year’s promotion of the animated movie “Turbo,” this year the AAA car will feature a promotion of the upcoming DreamWorks movie, “How To Train Your Dragon 2,” which will hit theaters on June 13. In addition, Castroneves recorded a safe driving public service announcement that included promotion of the movie and it will air in select AAA markets.

· CLIMBING THE LISTS: With his third-place finish in the Grand Prix of St. Petersburg last month, Castroneves moved into a tie for 10th-place with Paul Tracy and Gordon Johncock on the IndyCar career top-three finishes list with 75. In addition, the result elevated Castroneves into a tie for eighth-place with Bobby Unser and Tony Kanaan on the career top-five finishes list with 112.
    
THE Q & A

HELIO CASTRONEVES

TEAM PENSKE HAS EXPERIENCED A LOT OF SUCCESS AT BARBER MOTORSPORTS PARK. CAN YOU GET ANOTHER WIN ON SUNDAY?

"Barber Motorsports Park is such a fantastic facility. It has to rank right up there as one of the nicest road courses that there is. But don’t be deceived by its beauty – that place is very fast and very demanding. Winning the first race there in 2010 was a great feeling. Everyone wants to be the first to do something. Team Penske has been pretty solid there and I expect more of the same this weekend. All three cars were quick at Spring Training and we’ve started the year with a lot of speed. The No. 3 AAA Chevrolet was a podium car at Long Beach, but we weren’t able to close that deal. I feel like we can get the job done at Barber.”

HOW DOES YOUR APPROACH CHANGE RACING AT A COURSE LIKE BARBER AFTER TWO STREET COURSES TO START THE SEASON?

"Obviously Barber is a closed road course that was built for racing. Each type of circuit provides different challenges. Street courses tend to be very flat, but Barber actually has some banking to it because of the land that it’s on. That changes what the car needs to get through the corners. They are all great venues. That’s what makes the Verizon IndyCar Series so special, you have many different disciplines.”

 
THE NEWS AND NOTES

Will Power
No. 12 Verizon Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet    

· DRIVE FOR THREE: Will Power is batting .500 at Barber Motorsports Park, having scored victories in two of the four races run at the picturesque road circuit. He also has garnered two Verizon P1 Pole Awards in those four races.

· KING OF THE ROAD: In his 10-year IndyCar career, Power has picked up 20 of his 22 wins on temporary street circuits or road courses. A three-time series road course champion, Power is consistently one of the fastest and most successful drivers in the series on these type of circuits.   

· EYE-POPPING STAT: In his four career starts at Barber Motorsports Park, Power has never finished outside of the top five.

· SUPERB START: Despite enjoying some strong starts in his Verizon IndyCar Series career, Power is looking to produce his best start to a season with a solid result this weekend. After winning the opener at St. Pete and finishing second at Long Beach, Power will be looking to produce podium results in the first three races of the season for the first time in his career.

· FIRESTONE PIT STOP PERFORMANCE AWARD: The No. 12 Verizon Team Penske crew won the Firestone Pit Stop Performance Award at the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach with a total pit lane time of 75.89 seconds, as driver Will Power finished second in the race. Verizon Team Penske will receive the award during pre-race festivities at the Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama.
    
THE Q & A

WILL POWER

YOUR RECORD AT BARBER SPEAKS FOR ITSELF. HOW HAVE YOU ADAPTED QUICKLY TO A FARILY NEW TRACK FOR INDYCAR?

"I love racing at Barber. You love any track where you’ve had a lot of success. It just fits my driving style well. Barber is very high speed with a lot of banking – there aren’t many road courses like it that we go to. Unfortunately, (Ryan) Hunter-Reay broke our streak of Team Penske wins at Barber last year. We hope to take our spot back this year with the No. 12 Verizon Chevy.”

WHAT CAN YOU TAKE FROM SPRING TRAINING TO APPLY TO THIS WEEKEND?

“I expect the track to be much different than it was at the test in February, but it’s encouraging for us that the Verizon Chevrolet was really fast then. It had a ton of grip because it was much colder than it will be on Sunday. I hope the lack of grip that we’re expecting will play into our favor.”