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Team Penske Grand Prix of Indianapolis Race Preview

May 7, 2014




THE RACE

Verizon IndyCar Series
Inaugural Grand Prix of Indianapolis
Speedway, Ind.
    
THE CARS

No. 2 Verizon Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet
Driven By Juan Pablo Montoya
    
No. 3 Verizon 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 Verizon Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet

• INDY ROAD COURSE EXPERIENCE:  While it is a slightly different course than the one he navigated for the U.S. Grand Prix during his Formula One (F1) Series days, Montoya is the only driver in the Verizon IndyCar Series field with experience on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway (IMS) road course.  
• FORMULA ONE STATS: In six career F1 starts at the IMS road course, Montoya produced one top-five finish and two top-10 results. His average finish was 12.0.
• BATTING 1.000: In his last Verizon IndyCar Series race at IMS, Montoya scored a dominating victory by leading 160 of 200 laps on the facility’s historic 2.5-mile oval to win the 2000 Indianapolis 500. It is his only series start at IMS until this weekend’s event.
• FAMILIAR IS FINE: Montoya is looking forward to the familiarity of competing at IMS over the next few weeks. Since his return to the Verizon IndyCar Series in 2014, Montoya has produced his best result – a top-five finish – at Long Beach, the only circuit where he raced previously in IndyCar competition.

THE Q & A

JUAN PABLO MONTOYA

WHAT ARE YOUR IMPRESSIONS OF THE NEW INDIANAPOLIS ROAD COURSE?

“I’m really impressed with the changes they made to the IMS road course since the last time I competed there in the U.S. Grand Prix in Formula One. They found a great balance between being technical and being able to put on a good race. There are several parts of the track that are going to be very high-speed, which I love. The straights are so long that you are going to get huge drafts. I really think the ‘push to pass’ button is going to play a big role. It’s going to be a challenge for everyone, but I think it’s going to be a lot of fun. The No. 2 Verizon Chevy was solid in the open test last week. Not spectacular, but we learned enough to feel like we can win the race when we come back.”

ARE YOU A FAN OF STARTING THE MONTH OF MAY OFF WITH A ROAD COURSE RACE?

“The road course race is going to be great for the fans. You’re starting off the month of May with a huge, new race that will get everyone excited. The Indianapolis 500 is such a huge event, such a big deal, but adding the road course race to the month is going to make things even bigger. If you have a bad day with someone in the Grand Prix, you have to run with them again on Sunday and Monday and Tuesday. You’re going to see them more than once. It’s definitely going to add excitement to the Indy 500.”

    
THE NEWS AND NOTES

Helio Castroneves
No. 3 Verizon Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet

• NO STRANGER TO INDY: While Castroneves has never before competed on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course, he is very familiar with the circuit’s famous Victory Lane. A three-time Indianapolis 500 champion, Castroneves would love to add another feather to his Indy-winning cap this weekend.
• ONE TEAM, ONE DREAM: The inaugural Grand Prix of Indianapolis will mark the first race for Castroneves and longtime Team Penske partner, Verizon, as a primary sponsor on the No. 3 car. The move to sponsor Castroneves will give Verizon three cars in the new event.
• SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENT: On Thursday, May 8 morning at 11:45 am ET, Castroneves, Rick Mears and Johnny Rutherford will make a special announcement regarding the 2014 Indianapolis 500.
• FIVE-TIME WINNER: Castroneves owns five wins on permanent road courses during his 14 seasons with Team Penske, most recently at Barber Motorsports Park in 2010.  
• 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

WHAT WOULD IT MEAN TO YOU TO WIN THE INAUGURAL GRAND PRIX OF INDIANAPOLIS?

“Looking forward to starting the month of May off with the first Grand Prix of Indianapolis. This month and this racetrack mean a lot to Team Penske. It would mean a lot to me and everyone on this team to win the inaugural road course race. It was good to get out there last week and get a feel for the track. It's spectacular and I think we'll have a good show next weekend. The times are so close that it's crazy. We know of a few areas that we need to work on with the No. 3 Verizon Chevy, but overall we were happy and we’re ready to go to Indianapolis.”

TIRES CAN BE AN ISSUE AT A NEW VENUE. HOW DID THE FIRESTONE TIRES PERFORM IN THE OPEN TEST FOR THE INDY ROAD COURSE?

"There were a lot of unknowns going into last week’s test on the new Indianapolis road course. There are some very high-speed areas of that track and a lot of heavy braking zones, especially Turn One. The Firestone tires held up extremely well and that is a testament to hard work on their behalf over the last few months. I’m confident that there will be no issues during the race. Firestone tires have propelled me to three Indianapolis 500 wins and I’m confident they can get the No. 3 Verizon Dallara/Chevrolet to Victory Lane in the inaugural Grand Prix of Indianapolis.”

    
THE NEWS AND NOTES    

Will Power
No. 12 Verizon Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet

• TOP OF THE HEAP: Will Power continues to lead the Verizon IndyCar Series point standings by 18 markers over Ryan Hunter-Reay heading into this weekend’s inaugural Grand Prix of Indianapolis.
• 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: Power has led 89 of the 259 total laps contested (34%) in 2014. He owns and average finish of 3.3.  
• SUPERB START: Despite enjoying some strong starts in his Verizon IndyCar Series career, Power is looking to produce one of his best starts to a season with a solid result this weekend. After finishing first, second and fifth in the three races thus far in 2014, Power is looking to start a season with four consecutive top-five finishes for the first time in his career.
• TEAM PENSKE VERIZON APPEARANCE: Power and the other Verizon Team Penske drivers will make an appearance at the Verizon store located at 9875 E. Washington Street in Indianapolis beginning at 7:30 pm ET on Wednesday, May 7.  

THE Q & A

 WILL POWER

AS ONE OF THE PREMIER ROAD COURSE RACERS IN THE VERIZON INDYCAR SERIES, WHAT IS YOUR OPINION OF THE NEW INDIANAPOLIS ROAD COURSE?

“Like everyone else I’m really impressed and really happy with what they’ve done to the road course at Indy. It’s going to be a challenging race, for sure. It’s obviously very flat, so there are places that don’t have much grip. But there are also places that have more grip than you would imagine. So it really is going to take a well-balanced car to win on Saturday. Obviously, with this being the first race, there are a lot of unknowns. A win here would be a great way to start off the month of May.”

WHAT WOULD A WIN IN THE GRAND PRIX OF INDY DO FOR YOUR CONFIDENCE HEADING INTO THE INDIANAPOLIS 500?

 

“A win in the road course race would be huge for our confidence heading into the 500. I think Juan, Helio and myself all think we have a great shot to win both races. The Team Penske Chevrolets have been very fast this year and it’s hard not to look ahead to the Indianapolis 500, but we are focused on the task at hand and that’s the Grand Prix.”