Team Penske Toronto Race Preview
July 16, 2014
Verizon IndyCar Series
No. 2 Hawk Performance Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet
No. 12 Verizon Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet
· TOP-FIVE SEASON STATS: Juan Pablo Montoya currently sits fifth in the Verizon IndyCar Series standings with six races left in the season. In addition he ranks inside the top five in several key statistical categories including: Laps Completed (third), Running at Finish (third) and Top-Five Finishes (fifth).
· THINGS THAT MAKE YOU GO HMMM: The second race this weekend’s doubleheader will mark the 14th race on the Verizon IndyCar Series 2014 schedule. Since 1994, seven drivers that have won the season’s 14th race have gone on to win the championship in that season. Montoya was one of those drivers in 1999 when he won the 14th race at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course.
· MONTOYA BRINGS EXPERIENCE TO TORONTO: In two career Verizon IndyCar Series starts on the streets of Toronto in 1999-2000, Montoya has finishes of 22nd and 24th, respectively, due to accidents in both races. After spending 13 years in Formula One and NASCAR, Montoya hopes to use his experience and savvy to create better results this weekend at Exhibition Place. .
· WELCOMING HAWK PERFORMANCE: Hawk Performance will make its debut this weekend as a primary sponsor of the No. 2 Team Penske Chevrolet. Hawk’s parent company, Carlisle Companies, has been a Team Penske partner since 2011. Hawk Performance is a leading supplier of severe duty and high-performance friction products manufactured in ISO-certified facilities for the motorsports and performance automotive aftermarket.
· LOOKING AHEAD: After racing on the streets of Toronto this weekend, Montoya will turn his attention back to NASCAR. Next weekend’s Brickyard 400 will be the second and final NASCAR Cup Series race that Montoya is scheduled to compete in for Team Penske this season. He finished 18th at Michigan International Speedway in June for his first Cup Series start of the year. The 2000 Indianapolis 500 winner has come close on several occasions to winning the annual Cup race at Indy. He would like nothing more than to breakthrough with a win there for Team Penske.
JUAN PABLO MONTOYA
WHAT HAVE YOU LEARNED OVER THE YEARS TO HELP YOU THIS WEEKEND AT TORONTO, A NOTORIOUSLY TOUGH STREET CIRCUIT?
“Toronto is a very tough circuit. It requires patience because the corners do not have a lot of room but you have to make passes when you have the opportunity. I’ve been known as an aggressive driver and I’m fine with that. You have to be aggressive in the Verizon IndyCar Series because the cars are so close together. But you have to know when to be aggressive and I have learned that over the years. Toronto is known to have a lot of contact but I hope we can keep the No. 2 Hawk Performance Chevy clean and in the mix for the win.”
HOW IMPORTANT IS TORONTO IN THE BATTLE FOR THE VERIZON INDYCAR SERIES CHAMPIONSHIP?
“You really don’t like to put emphasis on one weekend over the others, but doubleheader weekends have a different feel to them because there are a lot of points at stake. Your championship hopes can take a big hit if you have two bad runs. But I try not to think too much about that. If you run well the points will take care of themselves. If we are able to get through this weekend in good shape I think we set ourselves up nicely for the run to the end.”
THE NEWS AND NOTES
· TOUGH AT T.O.: Toronto has traditionally been a course where Castroneves has struggled to produce strong finishes. In 10 career starts at Toronto, he has picked up one pole (2000) and four top-10 finishes while leading a total of 29 laps at the venue. Castroneves has experienced success at Exhibition Place, however. He won the 1997 Indy Lights race at Toronto.
· WELCOME BACK PPG: One of Team Penske’s longest and most valued partners, PPG, will make its first appearance of the season as a primary car sponsor for Castroneves’ No. 3 Chevy this weekend. Founded in 1883, PPG has its global headquarters in Pittsburgh, Penn., and operates in more than 60 countries around the world. PPG has been a Team Penske partner for over 30 years!
· ACTIVE LEADER: Castroneves is the active leader in starts, pole positions, laps led and top-five finishes in the Verizon IndyCar Series. He is tied with Team Penske advisor and mentor Rick Mears for fourth on the all-time pole positions list (41) and 11th on the all-time wins list (29).
CAN YOU GET YOUR FIRST CAREER VERIZON INDYCAR SERIES TORONTO WIN THIS WEEKEND?
“Man, Toronto has never been very good to me. I don’t know why. I love Canada! You know, it’s just a very tough track, much like all of the temporary street courses in the Verizon IndyCar Series. I’m encouraged by the way we have run on those types of tracks this year, Houston especially. A lot of unusual things usually happen at Toronto and it’s very hard to stay out of trouble there. I know we will have a fast No. 3 PPG Chevrolet. With a little good fortune, we will be fine.”
IS THERE ANY PARTICULAR REASON THAT YOU HAVEN’T HAD THE SUCCESS AT TORONTO THAT YOU WANT?
"Well, unfortunately, some accidents have taken me out of a few races at Toronto. But we seem to have found speed and had good strategy over the last three races there. Last year was my career-best finish (second place) and with the speed our cars have shown this year I think we will challenge for the win again. It’s such a great circuit – one of our premier events – and I would love to add a win there to my list of accomplishments.”
THE NEWS AND NOTES
· FORMER WINNER: Will Power, a two-time winner on the streets of Toronto, owns one of the two Team Penske wins at Exhibition Place. In 2010 the Australian-born driver qualified in the second position before leading 15 laps on the way to his eighth career Verizon IndyCar Series win. Power also took the checkered flag at Toronto in 2007 prior to his arrival with Team Penske. Canadian native son Paul Tracy (1993) is the other driver to win at Toronto for the organization.
· THE BEST ON THE STREETS: Since joining Team Penske prior to the 2009 season, Power has proven to be the best driver in the Verizon IndyCar Series on temporary street and closed road courses. His 18 wins and 23 pole positions are tops in the series over that span. Power has produced five-consecutive front row starting spots at Toronto.
· TO FINISH FIRST, YOU MUST FIRST FINISH: This racing adage definitely describes the results of Will Power. Now second in the series standings, Power is currently riding a series-leading 19-race streak of running at the finish of each race.
· LAPS LED LEADER: Power leads the Verizon IndyCar Series with 348 laps led. This mark is the third-highest of his career with six races remaining in the season. Power led a career-high 518 laps during the 2011 season.
· MEET TEAM PENSKE: All three Team Penske drivers will appear at the INDYCAR autograph session in Fan Village at 12:00 pm ET on Sunday afternoon.
HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT BEING RECOGNIZED AS ONE OF THE BEST STREET AND ROAD COURSE RACES IN THE SERIES?
“Being recognized as one of the best at a certain discipline is very cool, especially at this level of racing. I don’t mind being called a good road racer, but I am striving hard to become the best racer, period. There are a lot of road and street courses in the Verizon IndyCar Series, so I don’t want to let up too much on that part of my game, but I’m working on the ovals as well. That’s the way to be a champion, but I’m definitely looking at this weekend as a prime opportunity to win a race or two.”
YOU’RE A TWO-TIME WINNER AT TORONTO. WHAT WILL IT TAKE TO GET NUMBER THREE THIS WEEKEND?
“Any time you race at Toronto you need to have a bit of luck on your side. Obviously a fast car helps tremendously, but it seems inevitable that you will have some contact during the race. You just hope it doesn’t put you out. You have to race side-by-side into some of the corners – especially after the long straight – and sometimes both of you don’t come out of it unscathed. Hopefully we qualify our No. 12 Verizon Chevy on the pole, lead every lap and run away with it.”
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