Penske Racing

Team Penske Sonoma Race Preview

August 23, 2013

THE RACE

GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma (IZOD IndyCar Series)
Sonoma Raceway (2.385-mile permanent road course)
Sunday, August 25, 2013

THE CARS

No. 3 Hitachi Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet
Driver: Helio Castroneves   

No. 12 Verizon Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet
Driver: Will Power

THE BROADCASTS   

TV
Qualifying: Saturday – 5:30 pm ET (tape-delayed on NBC Sports at 9 pm ET)
Race: Sunday  – 4 pm ET (live on NBC Sports) 
   

Radio Broadcast:  IMS Radio/ SiriusXM 211
 

THE NEWS AND NOTES

No. 3 Hitachi Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet
Helio Castroneves - @h3lio
IZOD IndyCar Series Championship Standing: 1st

· OUT FRONT: Helio Castroneves continues to lead the IZOD IndyCar Series standings as he begins this weekend with a 31-point lead in the title chase over rival Scott Dixon. Castroneves has led the points for the last nine consecutive races and 11 events overall this season as he pursues his first series title.

· MODEL OF CONSISTENCY: The only driver to complete every lap of competition this season, Castroneves has been consistently consistent in 2013. He has completed all 1,843 laps and has posted top-10 results in 13 of 14 races, including the last 10 in a row dating back to the Indianapolis 500.

· NUMBERS GAME: Castroneves also ranks high in several other key statistical categories. He is currently second in the Road Course championship rankings as well and is tied with Ryan Hunter-Reay for the lead in the Oval Course standings. Castroneves also leads the series with 13 top-10 finishes in 14 races. His average finishing position of 5.7 tops all series drivers as well.

· SONOMA SCENE-SETTER: Wine Country has been a good place for Castroneves over the years. One of only three active IZOD IndyCar Series drivers to compete in every series race at Sonoma, Castroneves has earned five top-five finishes in eight starts at the picturesque road course. After winning from the pole in 2008, Castroneves added runner-up results at Sonoma in 2007 and 2011.

· BACK ON TRACK: During the break in the IndyCar schedule after the last series race at Mid-Ohio on August 4, Castroneves returned to his native Brazil to compete in a stock car race in his hometown of Ribeirao Preto. Unfortunately, his car experienced a mechanical failure in practice on August 9 and Castroneves crashed into a tire barrier. He only suffered minor injuries in the incident but doctors directed him to not compete in the race. Castroneves is anxious to get back on track in the No. 3 Hitachi Chevrolet this weekend.

· HELLO HITACHI: Hitachi, the sponsor of Castroneves’ No. 3 Team Penske IndyCar, is hosting Technology in Racing Summit on Thursday, August 22 in San Francisco to discuss all the technology that is available in IndyCar. Hitachi is also hosting a number of guests at Sonoma this weekend. One of the featured guests is Sher Shepps, a resident of Portland, Ore., who won Hitachi’s “Cheer for Gear” sweepstakes. Shepps entered the sweepstakes online and won authentic racing gear and a diecast model car autographed by Castroneves. As the grand prize winner, Shepps and her husband also won a free trip to Sonoma to watch this weekend’s race and the opportunity to meet Castroneves and spend the weekend as a guest of Team Penske and Hitachi.
   
THE Q & A


HELIO CASTRONEVES, NO. 3 HITACHI DALLARA/CHEVROLET

ARE YOU LOOKING FORWARD TO THIS WEEKEND AT SONOMA?

“I am looking forward to getting back behind the wheel of the Hitachi Team Penske Chevrolet at Sonoma. I am feeling much better after the accident in Brazil and I’m ready to go. It was good to get in a full day of testing at Sonoma to make sure everything is right for a big race weekend. Team Penske has had a lot of success here over the last few years and we want to make sure we continue that this weekend.”

IS THIS A RACE WHERE YOU FEEL YOU CAN ADD TO YOUR CHAMPIONSHIP LEAD?
“It would be great to be able to leave Sonoma with a bigger lead in the points but we know how tough the competition is right now in IndyCar and we’ve seen how things can change so quickly in races and in the championship. We’ll keep working on being consistent and getting the most out of the Hitachi car. That’s been working well so far this season.”

 
   
THE NEWS AND NOTES

No. 12 Verizon Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet
Will Power - @12WillPower
IZOD IndyCar Series Championship Standing: 11th (-148 pts.)


· SULTAN OF SONOMA: The only IndyCar driver to earn multiple wins at Sonoma Raceway, Power enters this weekend with high hopes to earn his first victory of 2013. The native of Toowoomba, Australia has won the last three pole positions at Sonoma in the Verizon car and he earned back-to-back wins in 2010 and 2011 before finishing second last season at Sonoma.

· ROAD COURSE REJUVENATION: The three-time defending series road course champion, Will Power is starting to hit his stride, despite a tough start to the season. Competing at the Mid-Ohio permanent road course, Power posted a strong fourth-place finish in the last series race. Now ranked 11th in the championship standings, but just eight points outside the top 10, Power looks to improve his standing this weekend on another permanent road course where he’s been dominant over the last several seasons of competition.

· A DIFFERENT TURN: Ironically, Power, who has traditionally experienced more success on road and street courses, has had his best results this season on oval tracks. Power’s average finish on road courses so far in 2013 in 14.0 while his average finishing position on ovals is 10.0. Power earned his top finish of the year with a third-place result at the Milwaukee Mile short oval in June. He will be looking to better his top road course result of fourth place from Mid-Ohio this weekend at Sonoma.

· STRONG SIGNS: Despite some tough results in the actual races themselves, Power and the No. 12 Verizon Team Penske squad have demonstrated good speed and the ability to run at the front of the challenging IndyCar field this season. Power has earned two poles and his averaging starting position is 4.6, which ranks second among all drivers in 2013. He has also led 10 of 14 races this season which is tops among all series competitors.

· TEST TIME: On Wednesday, August 21, Power and the rest of the IZOD IndyCar field participated in a day-long open test session at Sonoma Raceway in preparation for this weekend’s race. Power clocked the fourth-fastest lap at the test while Castroneves owned the fifth-fastest time overall.

· PAINFUL MEMORY: Though Sonoma has provided many great memories for Power, it’s also the place where he experienced the worst accident of his career. He was involved a freak practice crash during the 2009 race weekend when he made hard contact with the car of Nelson Philippe that had spun and was sitting in the middle of the track over the top of a blind hill. Power suffered several broken vertebrae and other injuries in the accident that abruptly ended his first season with Team Penske.

THE Q & A

WILL POWER, NO. 12 VERIZON DALLARA/CHEVROLET

DO YOU FEEL GOOD ABOUT RETURNING TO SONOMA?

“Sonoma is a very challenging course, but one I enjoy racing on. We’ve been fast here in the Verizon Chevy the last few years and we’ve had some great race results. It was good to have a solid finish at Mid-Ohio and I think we can build on that in Sonoma. This is a big event for Verizon and for Team Penske. We need to take what we learned at the test and make the most of it over the course of race weekend.”

IS THIS THE WEEKEND WE SEE THE VERIZON CAR IN VICTORY LANE?
“Victory Lane at Sonoma is a special place and we’ve got some great memories there. It would be awesome to end the weekend there, but we’ve got a lot of work to do in order to make that happen. It’s going to be a real challenge to win pole here on Saturday and then you’ve got to be smart and avoid any mistakes and hope things go your way on race day. We’ll be trying to get that done, for sure.”



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