Castroneves Gears Up For Championship Run in Chicago

September 4, 2008

PEAK Antifreeze & Motor Oil Indy 300
Sept. 7, 2008
Chicagoland Speedway

Television: LIVE 3:30 p.m. ET on ABC
Radio: IMS Radio

Helio Castroneves, No. 3 Team Penske Dallara/Honda

Fast Facts:

  • Last year in Chicago, Castroneves started third and led 56 laps on his way to a fourth-place finish, marking his third consecutive and fourth overall top-five finish at the track.
  • Castroneves is currently second in the points, 30 points behind Series leader Scott Dixon.
  • This past weekend in Detroit, Castroneves started second, marking his eighth front row start of the season.  He led a race-high 53 laps on his way to his eighth second-place finish of the 2008 season.  The result also marked the Brazilian’s tenth podium finish of the year.
  • After leading 53 laps in Detroit, Castroneves extends his IndyCar Series record for races in which he’s led laps (70).  In addition, Castroneves leads the Series this season in races led (12), laps completed (2,657), races running at finish (16); top-five finishes (14) and is tied for the lead in top-ten finishes (14) with Tony Kanaan.
  • Two weeks ago in Sonoma, Castroneves started from the pole for the fourth time in 2008 and led a race-high 51 laps en route to his first victory of the season.  This win marked his thirteenth IndyCar Series win and nineteenth career Indy car win. In addition, the victory marked an IndyCar Series-record seventh and his tenth overall win from the pole.
  • Castroneves’ victory also marked his ninth consecutive season of earning at least one win, a Penske Racing record (Rick Mears is second with seven seasons, which he earned from 1979-1985).  In addition, he also holds the IndyCar Series record for consecutive seasons with at least one victory (eight).
  • Castroneves’ win in Sonoma coupled with teammate Ryan Briscoe’s second place finish marked the Team’s second one-two finish this season (the other came in Mid-Ohio) and it’s 36th in its open-wheel history.  
  • In the sixteen IndyCar Series events this season, Castroneves has earned three poles and ten podium finishes; completed 99.9% of laps run in competition; started in the top-five twelve times; and led 18% of all laps run.  His pole in Nashville extended his IndyCar Series record for most consecutive seasons with a pole (seven).
  • Castroneves has finished in the top-five in 64 of the 111 (58%) races he’s run since joining the IndyCar Series full-time in 2002 including Miami, St. Petersburg, Japan, Kansas, Indianapolis, Milwaukee, Texas, Richmond, Nashville, Mid-Ohio, Edmonton, Kentucky, Sonoma and Belle Isle in 2008; he’s finished in the top-ten in 86 out of 111 races (77%).

Team Penske at Chicagoland Speedway:

  • While Penske Racing has had considerable success on oval tracks in recent years, the Team has never found victory at Chicagoland Speedway, making it just one of two oval tracks on the 2008 IndyCar Series schedule where the Team has never won (Iowa is the other).

Did You Know?

  • While Castroneves has never won at Chicagoland Speedway, 10 of his 19 career Indy car wins have come on oval tracks. In addition, 20 of his record 33 career poles have been on ovals, including Chicago in 2004.

Castroneves on the PEAK Antifreeze and Motor Oil Indy 300:

“We’ve had rather mixed results on the 1.5-mile ovals over the past several seasons, so we’re going to make sure we stay focused and work hard to be competitive this weekend. Despite these struggles, we’ve done fairly well at Chicagoland Speedway, as I’ve earned four top-four results since 2002, so hopefully this will be my year to climb the fence in Illinois.

"We’re still in the hunt for the Championship, but we’re clearly the underdog.  It’s going to take a strong finish and a little luck for us to clinch this Championship.  I know that Team Penske will give me what I need to get the job done, so we’ll just hope for the best.”