Team Penske Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg Preview

March 25, 2010



Drivers: Helio Castroneves (No. 3 Team Penske), Ryan Briscoe (No. 6 Team Penske) and Will Power (No. 12 Verizon Team Penske)

Race: Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg on the streets of St. Petersburg, Fla.
(1.8-mile street circuit)

When: Qualifying - Saturday, March 27 at 1:20 p.m. ET
Race (100 laps) - Sunday, March 28 at 3:30 p.m. ET

TV/Radio: ABC-TV/IMS Radio Network and XM Channel 145 and Sirius Channel 211

St. Pete Success: Team Penske has a strong history at the Grand Prix of St. Petersburg. Of the five previous IZOD IndyCar Series race run at the track, Team Penske has produced three wins, one pole and four podium finishes. Helio Castroneves has two wins and a pole at the venue, while Ryan Briscoe is the defending champion at St. Pete.

Early Leader: After one round of competition in the 2010 IZOD IndyCar Series, Team Penske sits atop the championship standings. Will Power, who finished sixth last season at St. Petersburg in his debut race for the team, won March 14 on the streets of Sao Paulo, Brazil to capture the early series lead. Driving the No. 12 Verizon Team Penske Dallara/Honda, Power passed Ryan Hunter-Reay with four laps remaining in the rain-shortened race and went on to claim his second IndyCar Series win.

Strong Start: For the second consecutive season, Team Penske has won the season-opening race of the IZOD IndyCar Series. Briscoe won last year at St. Pete to get the season off to a strong start while Power's victory made it two in a row for the team.

Helio on Good Morning America: Before traveling to St. Petersburg, Castroneves was featured in a segment Thursday morning on ABC's "Good Morning America."  The appearance was part of a packed week of activity for Castroneves leading into this weekend's race. The three-time Indianapolis 500 winner attended the season premiere of the ABC hit show "Dancing with the Stars" on Monday as the season five champion of the competition, then remained in Los Angeles on Tuesday for an advance media day to promote the upcoming Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach, April 16-18. Castroneves then flew to New York City to present "Good Morning America" host Robin Roberts the keys to the 2010 Indy 500 pacecar as she will serve as the pace driver for this May's classic at the Brickyard.

Florida Connection: The sunshine state has a Team Penske connection. Castroneves is a longtime resident of the state and maintains an office in Miami while team advisor Rick Mears has a home in Jupiter, Fla.

Penske Parade: Both Briscoe and Castroneves will participate in the driver's parade through the streets of downtown St. Pete on Thursday evening, March 25, beginning at 7:15 p.m. ET.
Air Force Friends: Briscoe and Team Penske plan to host several pilots from MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa this weekend. Briscoe met the pilots earlier this month when he visited the base and got a chance to tour a KC-135 refueling plane during an advance media visit to promote this weekend's race.

Triple Play: Team Penske expands to a full-season three-car team this season with Power joining Castroneves and Briscoe. This is the first time since 1996 that the team has entered the season intending to run three cars full-time. In 1994, Team Penske fielded three cars and finished 1-2-3 in the CART Series championship, winning a record-setting 12 races in one season.

Black and White is Alright: The team recently unveiled the new look of the Team Penske cars at the Barber Motorsports Park open test, February 24-25. For 2010, the No. 3 and No. 6 Team Penske cars, and the No. 12 Verizon Team Penske machine, will all carry a sleek black and white color scheme. This is the first season since 1990 that the team will not race its iconic red and white livery.

Street Sensations: Team Penske excels at street course circuits. Castroneves, Briscoe and Power have all earned temporary road course victories over the last three seasons and the team overall has produced 12 poles and six wins at road/street course venues since 2007. Team Penske is well positioned to start the 2010 season as the first four races are all held at street or road circuits.


Helio Castroneves: "It will be nice to be back again, racing in the streets of St. Pete, since it's the one race I missed last year. I like the circuit and the city a lot and it's a place where we have done well in the past. It's a beautiful backdrop for a race and the course seems to suit me well. We need to get a better result in the Team Penske car than we did in Sao Paulo so we can start collecting more points and make sure Will (Power) doesn't get too far out in front in the championship."

Ryan Briscoe: "I am really excited about this race. I won this event last year and I very much would like to back that up with another win this weekend. I love St. Petersburg, I love the track layout and I love the whole Honda Grand Prix experience."

Will Power: "I am looking forward to racing in St Petersburg. I did not do as well as I would have liked there last year (sixth place); but I think we will be better this year. I think qualifying is very important at this race, because at this track it is easy to get tangled up someone else's accident. The Verizon Team Penske car should be strong going into this event. We came away from Brazil with some good information that should help us at this track. I am excited to get back in the car and get back into a groove; I just want to keep plugging away towards the championship, working on being consistent and doing what I do."