First-Lap Fracas Hurts Power, Briscoe Teams in Australia

October 23, 2010

SURFERS PARADISE, Australia (October 23, 2010) - The first of two weekend V8 Supercar Series races at Surfers Paradise had a tough beginning for two Team Penske drivers Saturday as a first-lap accident ended the day early for the teams of Will Power and Ryan Briscoe. Though his team was able to complete the star-studded endurance race, Helio Castroneves and his co-driver finished one lap off the pace in 18th place at the Gold Coast 600 opener.

Many of the international stars competing as co-drivers in this weekend's races where behind the wheel at the start of Saturday's event, including Power, who normally drives the No. 12 Verizon Team Penske IndyCar. Another international standout, Jacques Villeneuve, suffered contact to his car on the opening lap and spun on the Surfers street circuit. Power, whose team qualified fourth earlier on Saturday, found himself with nowhere to go and he was collected in the incident. The damage to Power's Ford Performance Racing entry was too severe to continue and his race was over before it began. Briscoe never even got in the car for his Holden Racing Team (HRT) as his co-driver, Will Davison, was also involved in the first-lap accident and the team was forced to retire early.

"I had a really good start, was just trying to be clean to the first chicane, which I was, came around, Jacques was there and I had nowhere to go," said Power, the native of Toowoomba, Australia who has won three pole positions at Surfers Paradise in open-wheel competition, but his best finish has been a 12th-place result at his "home" circuit. "Simple as that, that was it. It's just unfortunate, for me. I just want to have a good race around here actually ... a good, clean, race."

For Briscoe, the driver of the No. 6 Team Penske IndyCar who hails from Sydney, Australia and won on the Gold Coast for Team Penske in the 2008 IndyCar Series exhibition race, it was also a disheartening start.

"Very disappointing with the first-lap carnage," said Briscoe. "Will (Davison) couldn't have done anything better to try avoid the mess, he was just caught by Villeneuve. We had a good starting spot in 10th, but it just goes to show just how important it is to start further up the grid here. I don't know what it's going to take for me to get a clean start in V8 Supercars ... some things are out of your control, but maybe I'll have to take the start!"

The race had a tough beginning, but a good ending for Briscoe's team as the other HRT entry driven by Garth Tander and Cameron McConville won after a controversial finish that saw the team capture the lead following a late black-flag penalty on the car that looked to be headed for victory.

Castroneves recovered from an accident in Friday practice to score the best result of the three Team Penske cars on Saturday. After his Wilson Security Racing team qualified 18th, Castroneves and his co-driver Tim Slade finished in the same position at the checkered flag, running one lap down to the race leaders.

All three Team Penske drivers will return to action in the second race of the weekend on Sunday from Surfers Paradise. SPEED will televise all the action from the Gold Coast on Sunday, October 31 beginning at 3 pm ET.