Team Penske Ready to Battle for Title in Vegas Finale
October 13, 2011
Drivers: Helio Castroneves (No. 3 Guidepoint Systems Team Penske), Ryan Briscoe (No. 6 IZOD Team Penske) and Will Power (No. 12 Verizon Team Penske)
Event: IZOD INDYCAR World Championships
Las Vegas Motor Speedway in Las Vegas, Nevada
When: Qualifying - Friday, October 14 at 6:00 p.m. ET
Race (200 laps) - Sunday, October 16 at 3:45 p.m. ET (Coverage begins at 3 p.m. ET live on ABC)
TV/Radio: ABC/IMS Radio Network and Sirius XM Channel 94
Fantastic Finale: The 2011 IZOD IndyCar Series concludes on Sunday at Las Vegas Motor Speedway at the IZOD INDYCAR World Championships. The event will complete an exciting 18-race season that began in March and Team Penske will try to win its 13th open-wheel racing title as driver Will Power pursues the series crown.
Power to the Finish: Power enters the weekend ranked second in the series championship standings, just 18 points behind leader Dario Franchitti. Power led Franchitti by 12 points entering the series' most recent race at Kentucky but an incident on pit lane with another car damaged Power's Verizon Team Penske machine. The contact resulted in a disappointing result for Power and left him second in the standings entering the finale.
Familiar Territory: This is the second consecutive year that Power has entered the last race of the season challenging for the series title. Franchitti and Power battled through the closing laps of the season-ending race at Homestead-Miami Speedway in 2010 until Power made contact with the wall and had to retire early from the race. The incident ended his championship hopes as he fell just five points short of the championship.
Consistent Contenders: This is actually the fourth consecutive season that a Team Penske driver has entered the season-ending race contending for a championship. The 2008 season saw Helio Castroneves battle Scott Dixon for the series title at the year's last race in Chicago. While Castroneves did win the race, Dixon finished second and in doing so clinched the championship by 17 points. During the 2009 season it was Ryan Briscoe that carried championship potential into the last race of the year at Homestead-Miami Speedway as he fought Franchitti and Dixon down to the last laps of the race. Briscoe finished the race in second-place and ended up third in the championship just 12 points shy of the title.
Round and Round: Team Penske has enjoyed its share of oval racing success over the years and it looks to continue to add to its achievements at Las Vegas this weekend. The team has claimed six wins on 1.5-mile oval tracks that are similar to the one in Vegas since the beginning of the 2009 season.
All-Time Oval Wins: Team Penske has produced 93 victories on ovals among its 159 all-time race wins. The current driver lineup of Will Power, Helio Castroneves and Ryan Briscoe is responsible for generating 20 of those 93 oval victories (Power - 1, Castroneves - 15, Briscoe - 4).
Vegas Visit: This weekend will mark the first time competing at Las Vegas Motor Speedway for all three Team Penske drivers. Power has had a victorious visit to Las Vegas, however. He started from the pole and led a race-high 38 laps en route to his first Indy car win in the 2007 Champ Car race on the streets of downtown Las Vegas.
Winning Races at New Places: This weekend's race marks the third of three new events on the IZOD IndyCar Series calendar in 2011 - New Hampshire Motor Speedway hosted the first new event on Aug. 14, Baltimore provided a stunning site for the second new venue of the season on Sept. 4 and now Las Vegas Motor Speedway will host the season finale on Sunday. Team Penske has fared well at new circuits recently as the team earned wins on the two tracks that were new to the IZOD IndyCar Series in 2010 - Power won at the Sao Paulo street circuit while Castroneves claimed victory at Barber Motorsports Park in Alabama. Earlier this season, Power also won on the newly-designed street course at Edmonton on July 24. At New Hampshire, Power had the top result for the team with a fifth-place finish and Power scored a convincing win on the streets of Baltimore.
Verizon Visit: Power will meet with fans and sign autographs at the Verizon store located at The Arroyo, 7300 Arroyo Crossing Parkway, in Las Vegas on Thursday evening Oct. 13 beginning at 5:30 p.m. PT.
Seen on the Strip: Also on Thursday, Oct. 13, the three Team Penske drivers will participate in the IZOD IndyCar Series Parade presented by Verizon. This parade will feature all of the series drivers running their IndyCars down the Strip from Mandalay Bay to The Bellagio. Following the parade the drivers will appear that the Wet Republic lounge at the MGM Grand at 9:30 p.m. PT.
International Stage: Power and fellow championship contender, Franchitti, will appear at an international press conference hosted by ORTSBO on Saturday, Oct. 15 on stage in the IZOD IndyCar Series Fan Village located at Mandalay Bay from 10:00 - 11:00 a.m. PT. Media members and fans from around the globe may participate in the press conference both in person and online. Watch it live at www.penskeracing.com.
Proud Partners: Team Penske is proud to work with several new partners on the team in 2011. Joining the No. 12 Verizon Team Penske car as primary sponsors this weekend are Guidepoint Systems on the No. 3 car and IZOD on the No. 6 car. Also new to the team this year as primary sponsors are Shell V-Power/Pennzoil Ultra, AAA Insurance, PPG Automotive Refinish, Transitions Adaptive Lenses and Penske Truck Rental. The team also welcomed new associate sponsors Meijer, Coca-Cola and Comfort Revolution to the team this season.
WHAT THEY ARE SAYING ABOUT THE IZOD INDYCAR WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS
Helio Castroneves: "It's very exciting to be racing in Las Vegas, especially since it's the last race of the season. I believe we have a great chance to win in the Guidepoint Systems car and with the last race being in Vegas, it would be a perfect place to win big and then celebrate big. Since I have never raced here it's hard to say how the track will be, but our Team Penske cars are pretty good on the mile-and-a-half ovals so we will be ready to go. I do know with 34 cars this is going to be a wild race and I think that the fans will be the biggest winners."
Ryan Briscoe: "I am looking forward to this race. The series has done a great job of creating a buzz around the IZOD INDYCAR World Championships. There are going to be a ton of events happening before the race and that will really give the fans unparalleled access to their favorite drivers. As for the race itself, we are feeling good about our chances. The IZOD car should be very strong on the Vegas track and we are ready since this is our last chance to win this season."
Will Power: "We have done everything that we can to ensure that the Verizon car will have a shot at winning this race - and that's exactly what we need to do to win the championship. The series is doing everything possible to make this race and the week leading up to it spectacular. We are focused and we will do the best we can to finish this season in a positive manner. It's been a good season and this race should be a great show and a fitting ending to the year."