Power and Castroneves Both Earn Second-Row Starts
July 6, 2013LONG POND, Penn. (July 6, 2013) – Team Penske drivers Will Power and Helio Castroneves will both start in the second row for Sunday’s Pocono INDYCAR 400 at Pocono Raceway.
Each of the Team Penske drivers qualified in excess of 219 mph Saturday around the 2.5-mile triangular oval. Power will start fourth in the No. 12 Verizon Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet, while Castroneves will start sixth driving the No. 3 Hitachi Team Penske Dallara/Chevy.
This weekend marks the first IndyCar race at Pocono Raceway in nearly 24 years. The impressive speeds recorded by the cars in testing last week and Thursday certainly caught the attention of fans and competitors. During the practice session Saturday morning, cars were topping the 222 mph plateau.
Power recorded a two-lap qualifying average of 220.286 mph Saturday in the Verizon Chevrolet. He’ll start inside the second row for Sunday’s three-wide start at Pocono.
“It was a good job by the Verizon team in qualifying,” said Power. “I think our setup was spot on, and we were looking good on the first lap. I thought we had a chance at pole but then we had overboost going into Turn 1 on the second lap and the penalty for that was big and it cost us our chance. Still, qualifying in row two is a good place to be.”
Meanwhile, Castroneves posted a two-lap average of 219.581 mph in the No. 3 Hitachi machine.
“Qualifying sixth is pretty good for the Hitachi Team Penske car,” said Castroneves. “Maybe we were a little too conservative in our qualifying setup, but that’s OK. I know the car has been very fast and very smooth all weekend, and I think we will be strong for the race. This track is very interesting, and it’s going to be pretty exciting starting three-wide on Sunday. We’re looking forward to a good race and hopefully a strong finish in the Hitachi Chevrolet.”
Power will be looking to add to Team Penske’s remarkable record of success in the return to Pocono. Penske Racing earned seven victories when Indy cars raced at the track from 1971 to 1989. The list of winning Penske drivers at Pocono includes: Mark Donohue, Tom Sneva, Bobby Unser, Rick Mears and Danny Sullivan.
“I like this track here at Pocono,” said Power. “It’s pretty challenging. I think it’s going to be a good race tomorrow. It’s a very long race and you can definitely pass at this place, so it should be really fun to watch.”
Mears, now a team advisor, is once again serving as the spotter for Castroneves this weekend, and Mears has quite a history at Pocono. In nine career races at the track, Mears earned three wins (1982, ’85 and ’87), four poles and six podium finishes with 472 laps led.
With the 19-race 2013 IZOD IndyCar Series season past the halfway point, Castroneves continues to lead the championship standings. The three-time Indy 500 winner will begin tomorrow’s race with a nine-point advantage in the series standings over defending champ Ryan Hunter-Reay.
“I have to say thanks to the fans for coming out and supporting us,” said Castroneves of the crowd at Pocono on Saturday. “It was great to see so many enthusiastic people here today and they’re really excited about IndyCar. Good job by the promoters and everyone here at Pocono Raceway.”
The ABC telecast of Sunday’s 160-lap race will begin at noon ET.
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