Team Penske Ready for Memorable Weekend in Motegi

September 16, 2009

MOTEGI, Japan (September 16, 2009) - Team Penske enters this weekend's Indy Japan 300 ready to create some special Motegi memories.

Entering the second-to-last round of the 2009 IndyCar Series, the team has a chance to do some special things at the Twin Ring Motegi oval. Ryan Briscoe carries a 25-point lead in the championship standings into this weekend's race and he actually has a chance to clinch his first series title if he is able to build a lead of more than 54 points after Saturday's race.

After winning two of the last four events on the series' calendar, including last round at Chicago, Briscoe is in the championship driver's seat. He has claimed victory in the last two 1.5-mile oval races (Chicago and Kentucky) and with both Motegi and the final race at Homestead-Miami Speedway also being 1.5-mile tracks, the driver of the No. 6 Team Penske Dallara/Honda is well positioned for a strong title run.

Though he only earned a ninth-place finish last season at Japan, Briscoe enters this weekend as a strong favorite to earn his fourth win of the season.

“I'm really excited about going to Japan and have always enjoyed the atmosphere of racing there," said Briscoe. "Team Penske has done an amazing job all year long, and I'm hoping to continue our streak of 1.5-mile circuit performances going into the final two rounds of the Championship.”

Helio Castroneves has a solid record of success at Twin Ring Motegi that he hopes to build on this weekend. Castroneves has started on pole at the unique oval each of the last three seasons. He won the event in 2006 for Team Penske and is looking to become just the second driver to earn a pair of wins at Motegi (Dan Wheldon won in 2004 and 2005). Last season, the three-time Indy 500 winner led 94 laps and finished second at Motegi.

“I’ve always liked the track at Motegi," said Castroneves. "It’s a very challenging oval, with two different ends; so it’s difficult to get the set-up right to handle well in both Turns 1 and 2 and Turns 3 and 4.  We’ve achieved some great results in Japan and I’m hoping for more of the same this year. I’ve started from the pole the past three years and I won in 2006, so we know we can win there.  Team Penske has been performing well on the 1.5-mile ovals all year, which gives us a lot of confidence heading into the race.”

The two-day weekend schedule at Twin Ring Motegi calls for practice and qualifying on Friday. The 200-lap Bridgestone Indy Japan 300 will be televised on Versus begining at 10:30 p.m. ET on Friday. The event will also be re-broadcast on Sunday at 7 p.m. ET.