Power and Briscoe Qualify One-Two at Sonoma

August 26, 2012

SONOMA, Calif. (August 25, 2012) – Will Power won his third consecutive pole at Sonoma Raceway and will lead the field to the green flag during Sunday’s GoPro Indy Grand Prix of Sonoma.

Power’s pole-winning performance led an impressive qualifying effort by Team Penske with teammate Ryan Briscoe joining Power on the front row and Helio Castroneves starting in the second row from the fourth position. Having all three drivers in the top-four, Team Penske nearly matched last season’s feat of starting 1-2-3 at Sonoma and the result marks the fourth time since 2005 that Team Penske has swept the front row in qualifying.

Power was clocked at 77.2709 seconds around the 13-turn, 2.31-mile road course in his No. 12 Verizon Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet. The result marks his fourth pole in 13 IZOD IndyCar Series races this season and is the 28th of his career.

“It’s good to be back on the pole here at Sonoma in the No. 12 Verizon Team Penske Chevy,” said Power, who won from the pole in both 2010 and 2011.  “It is important to start up front here and we are very happy to be on the front row again, as that is where we want to start.  This track was great for the team and we look to continue our success as a team here.”

Briscoe recorded a lap of 77.4347 seconds in the No. 2 Hitachi Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet. Sunday will mark the fourth time that Briscoe has started from the front row at Sonoma.

“We definitely unloaded strong, the car’s been good since practice yesterday and you just sort of adjust for the wind because it has the biggest impact on the balance around this place,” said Briscoe, who has three podium finishes in his last four races at Sonoma. “I’m really proud of the whole team, they prepare so well and Chevrolet as well. I’ve got a fresh engine this weekend and we’ll be ready for the race tomorrow.

Castroneves posted a lap of 78.1090 seconds in the No. 3 Penske Truck Rental Dallara/Chevrolet. The 2008 Sonoma race winner from the pole, Castroneves will attempt to win his third race of 2012 on Sunday.

“We found some things in the car,” said Castroneves. “The Penske Truck Rental guys did a great job and went through the car and found some speed. At the end of the day, doing well at this track is about hitting the spots. That’s what we’re focused on for tomorrow’s race.”

With the point earned winning the pole, Power leads the IZOD IndyCar Series standings by six points with three races remaining. Castroneves is third, and Briscoe is ninth. A race victory by Power tomorrow will clinch his third consecutive Mario Andretti Road Course Championship and a win by any Team Penske driver would result in Chevrolet winning the Manufacturer’s Championship.

“I just really like this track and I would love to make it three in a row here,” said Power. “The wind really made the car unstable the last two days, so it will be interesting to see what the wind is like tomorrow and it will also be interesting because the race is an extra ten laps.  The whole team has worked hard all year and we’ll just continue to push to win the Championship.”

Live coverage of Sunday’s race begins at 4:30 p.m. ET on NBC Sports Network.

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