Team Penske Excited About Prospects Entering Opener

March 12, 2010

SAO PAULO, Brazil (March 13, 2010) - For Helio Castroneves, the start of the 2010 IZOD IndyCar Series season is personal. For his teammates at Team Penske, it's promising.

For all three, it's a new beginning they hope culminates in another championship.

Castroneves, Ryan Briscoe and Will Power will open the season this weekend with the Sao Paulo Indy 300 in the streets of Sao Paulo, Brazil. The race is the realization of a dream for Castroneves, who was born in Sao Paulo and raised in nearby Ribeirao Preto. He has become famous on a global stage by way of his three Indianapolis 500 victories.

"I'm extremely excited to have this race as the start of the season," Castroneves said. "Obviously it means a lot to me personally, but it also means a lot to my country. People are proud to have this race in their city, and they're doing their very best to show the world that Brazil is worthy of world-class sporting events. I can't wait to get started, and I can't wait to perform well in front of the home crowd."

While Castroneves is the center of attention as the season begins, Team Penske's Briscoe and Power are quietly mentioned among the favorites to win the IZOD IndyCar Series championship. Sunday's race in Sao Paulo kicks off a 17-race season that concludes in October at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

"I think this is as strong a lineup as we've ever had," Castroneves said. "It has great potential. I'm looking forward to big things from the entire team."

Those big things start with Briscoe, who took his fight for the 2009 championship to the final race last fall and finished third in the final drivers' standings. He returns in the No. 6 Team Penske Dallara/Honda with sustained momentum and renewed vigor.

"I see no reason why we won't be coming out just as strong as we finished last year," Briscoe said. "If we're fighting each other to win races, it's got to be good for the whole team."

Meanwhile, Power has recovered from injuries sustained in a crash in August that ended his season and will return to the No. 12 Verizon Team Penske entry.

"This is a fantastic opportunity," said Power, noting the team's chart-topping lap times during a preseason test in late February at Barber Motorsports Park in Alabama. "At some point this season, we have the potential for a 1-2-3 finish. It's a very strong lineup. I've got the same engineer I had in 2007 and 2008 (David Faustino) working with me again, so there's a sense of familiarity with that. I feel great, and I've got a lot of confidence heading into the season."

But for Castroneves, who has won 22 races in his 10-year career with Roger Penske's legendary race team, this season opener is unlike all others.

"Everybody in Brazil is excited and pumped up and ready to welcome us," Castroneves said. "I can't wait to get started."

Practice begins Saturday morning, with qualifying scheduled for Saturday afternoon. The Sao Paul indy 300 will take the green flag Sunday at 12 p.m.ET and will be televised live on Versus.