Team Penske Honda Indy Toronto Preview
July 15, 2010
Drivers: Helio Castroneves (No. 3 Team Penske), Ryan Briscoe (No. 6 Team Penske) and Will Power (No. 12 Verizon Team Penske)
Race: Honda Indy Toronto on the streets of Exhibition Place in Toronto, Ontario, Canada
When: Qualifying - Saturday, July 17 at 12:50 p.m. ET
TV/Radio: ABC/IMS Radio Network and XM Channel 145 and Sirius Channel 211
Talkin' Toronto: Team Penske has a decent history competing at Toronto. In 17 previous open-wheel races held at Exhibition Place, the team has produced one win, five pole positions and nine podium (top three) finishes. Team Penske's lone victory at the circuit came in 1993 with hometown driver Paul Tracy behind the wheel. After scoring two podium results last season - and coming off a win two weeks ago at Watkins Glen - the team hopes to make its first trip to Victory Circle in 17 years at Toronto this weekend.
Nifty 150? The next win for Team Penske will represent the organization's 150th all-time open-wheel racing victory. A total of 16 drivers have teamed to produce 149 wins for open-wheel racing's most successful organization, since 1968.
Pole Performance: Team Penske is currently riding a series record streak of eight straight poles won in IZOD IndyCar Series competition this season. This includes poles won by all three drivers (Will Power - 5, Ryan Briscoe - 2, Helio Castroneves - 1) and poles at all types of tracks (road courses, street circuits, short oval, 1.5-mile oval and superspeedway). Eight in a row ties the open-wheel racing record for consecutive poles. The team will look to establish a new all-time record this weekend at a venue where it's had some pole success in the past.
He's Got the Power: Power enters this weekend as the series championship leader. He tops the series in wins (three) and poles (five) and he also leads the road course standings. He's won two out of the first three street circuit events on the schedule this year (Sao Paulo and St. Petersburg). With the next two races taking place at temporary street circuits (Toronto and Edmonton), Power is hoping to add to his lead in the standings. In his three previous starts at Toronto, Power has one win (2007) and three top-10 finishes. He started second and finished third there last season for Team Penske.
TO Troubles: Castroneves, surprisingly, has struggled to produce solid finishes at Toronto. In his five career starts at the venue he has failed to finish the race four times, including last season when he led the race but saw his day end early after contact with local hero Paul Tracy. Castroneves won the pole at Toronto in 2000, has led 27 laps of competition at the circuit and won the 1997 Indy Lights Series race at Toronto, but his best result in the feature race came in his 1998 rookie CART season when he finished 10th for Bettenhausen Motorsports.
Briscoe Back for More: Briscoe has only raced once at Toronto, but it brought a solid finish for the Australian driver. After starting 11th, he earned a second-place finish last season for Team Penske. It marked one of his series-leading eight second-place results in 2009 as he finished third in the championship battle. Now ranked fourth in the IZOD IndyCar Series standings after three consecutive top-four finishes, Briscoe aims to make it 2-for-2 in podium results at Toronto.
Rewind: In the first IndyCar Series race at Toronto's Exhibition Place, Team Penske worked hard to produce two podium results in 2009. Briscoe suffered a cut tire early in the race and Power fought through contact on the opening lap as both drivers dropped back in the field. Both Briscoe and Power persevered and impressively worked their way forward, however. Briscoe finished second behind Dario Franchitti while Power came home third. Castroneves was fighting for the lead when he and Paul Tracy made contact with 20 laps remaining, ending the day early for both drivers. Castroneves finished 18th.
Oh Canada!: Team Penske has enjoyed its recent visits to Canada. Over the last three races held north of the border, the team has earned one win, two poles, four podium results and seven top-six finishes. The IZOD IndyCar Series completes its 2010 Canadian swing next weekend in Edmonton.
Leaders of the Pack: Team Penske has earned five victories in nine IZOD IndyCar Series races in 2010. The team won the first three races of the season with Power capturing the checkered flag in the No. 12 Verizon Team Penske car at both Sao Paulo, Brazil and at St. Petersburg. Castroneves won in the No. 3 Team Penske Dallara/Honda at Barber Motorsports Park in Alabama to make it three in a row. Briscoe then took the No. 6 Team Penske machine to Victory Lane at Texas, before Power won the last round of competition at Watkins Glen International on July 4.
WHAT THEY ARE SAYING ABOUT THE HONDA INDY TORONTO
Helio Castroneves: "I am excited to be going back to Toronto. It is a very challenging street circuit with a lot of concrete patches throughout the different corners, which makes it interesting for everyone. I feel like we are due to have a good result there. The Canadian fans are awesome. The city itself is a great place to visit and the race is a very cool event. It's always nice to race in front of such great fans and a large crowd."
Ryan Briscoe: "Toronto is a great venue with a lot of history. The circuit itself is fun to drive too. Last year I was just learning the track, since it was my first time there, so I did not qualify as well as I would have liked to. The Team Penske car did really well in the race though and we brought home a strong second-place finish. Going into this event, I really want to continue to build on the momentum we have established the last few races and close the gap to Will in the point standings."
Will Power: "Toronto is a tough race. There is always a lot of action there on the street circuit, which means the key to winning at Toronto is to stay out of trouble. We ran well here last year and I am confident that the Verizon car will be fast this weekend as well. We need to keep building on the work we have done so far this season and, of course, we enter this weekend focused on bringing home a win for Team Penske."
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