Team Penske confident heading to Baltimore
Team Penske looks to build on its momentum at inaugural Baltimore Grand Prix .
Street Savvy: Team Penske has enjoyed its share of street racing success over the years and it looks to continue to add to its achievements on the streets this weekend. The team has claimed seven wins on temporary street circuits like the one in Baltimore since the beginning of the 2009 season.
For the Record: Team Penske has produced 30 street course victories among its 158 all-time race wins. The current driver lineup of Will Power, Helio Castroneves and Ryan Briscoe is responsible for generating 12 of those 30 street course victories (Power – 6, Castroneves – 5, Briscoe – 1).
Winning Races in New Places: This weekend’s race marks the second of three new events on the IndyCar Series calendar in 2011 (New Hampshire Motor Speedway hosted the first new event on the series 2011 calendar on August 14 and Las Vegas Motor Speedway will host the season finale on October 16). Team Penske has fared well at new circuits recently as the team earned wins on the two tracks that were new to the IZOD IndyCar Series in 2010 – Power won at the Sao Paulo street circuit while Castroneves claimed victory at Barber Motorsports Park in Alabama. At New Hampshire, Power had the top result for the team with a fifth-place finish.
Simple as 1-2-3: The team is coming off its first 1-2-3 podium sweep in nearly 17 years. Power won on Sunday at Infineon Raceway in Sonoma, California for his series-leading fifth win of the year. Helio Castroneves finished second to tie his season-best result while Ryan Briscoe was third for his fourth podium of the season, It marked the first 1-2-3 finish for Team Penske since September 18, 1994 when Paul Tracy won at Nazareth Speedway followed by Al Unser Jr., and Emerson Fittipaldi.
A Weekend to Remember: Last weekend was special all the way around for Penske Racing. Not only did Team Penske sweep the podium in Sonoma, but the night before, Brad Keselowski earned his third NASCAR Cup Series win of the season for Penske Racing when he captured the checkered flag at Bristol. The two victories represented the first time the team produced IndyCar and NASCAR wins on the same weekend since June of 2000 when Castroneves won at Detroit for his first win with Team Penske and Jeremy Mayfield won the Cup race at Pocono for the team.
Rising Power: Power enters the weekend ranked second in the championship standings, now just 26 points behind leader Dario Franchitti. Power trimmed 21 points of off Franchitti’s lead with a perfect points weekend at Sonoma. Power now heads to a first-time street circuit in Baltimore and the defending series Mario Andretti Road Course Champion has proven to be tough to beat on the street since joining Team Penske. Power has claimed six street course wins for the team since 2009.
Scaling the Standings: Both Castroneves and Briscoe also improved their championship standing with strong weekends at Sonoma. Briscoe improved to fifth place in the championship rankings with his third-place result while Castroneves jumped up two positions to ninth in the standings behind his runner-up result last Sunday.
Super Stats: With Sunday’s win at Sonoma, Power tied Bobby Unser, Emerson Fittipaldi and Paul Tracy for fourth on the Team Penske all-time win list with 11 IndyCar victories. Power and Unser tied for the fastest to 11 wins among Team Penske drivers as both racers reached the milestone in just 37 career starts for the team. Power’s next win for Team Penske will place him in a tie for third place (12 victories) on the all-time win list with Danny Sullivan and Al Unser Jr.
Here Comes The Judge: Castroneves will return to his hometown of Sao Paulo, Brazil to serve as a judge of the 2011 Miss Universe Pageant in a couple of weeks. Castroneves will help select the next Miss Universe from a diverse group of women representing 89 countries. The pageant will be televised live on NBC on Monday, September 12 beginning at 9 p.m. ET and is expected be watched by one billion viewers worldwide.
Penske Partners: Team Penske is proud to work with several new partners on the team in 2011. Joining the No. 12 Verizon Team Penske car as primary sponsors this weekend are Shell V-Power Pennzoil Ultra on the No. 3 car and Guidepoint Systems on the No. 6 car. Also new to the team this year as primary sponsors are IZOD, AAA Insurance, PPG Automotive Refinish, Transitions Adaptive Lenses and Penske Truck Rental. The team is also joined by associate sponsors Meijer, Coca-Cola and Comfort Revolution.
WHAT THEY ARE SAYING ABOUT THE BALTIMORE GRAND PRIX
Helio Castroneves: “It’s always fun to go to a new market and get a chance to meet new fans and race on a new circuit. I’m looking forward to this weekend in Baltimore, especially with the Shell V-Power Pennzoil-Ultra car. We are coming off a great result for Team Penske where we finished 1-2-3 and hopefully we can carry over that momentum into another strong result on the street circuit in Baltimore this weekend.”
Ryan Briscoe: “This will be my first time going to Baltimore and I’m excited about this great new venue being a part of this year’s championship. The Team Penske cars have proven to be quick on new venues the last couple of seasons and we are all hoping to ride the momentum of our sweep at Sonoma. The No. 6 car will be sporting Guidepoint Systems colors this weekend and we are looking for a strong result as we represent them in this important market.”
Will Power: ““It looks like Baltimore is a fun circuit to drive. I always enjoy going to a new city and a new track. It is both challenging and rewarding to learn a new race track. The Verizon car has been particularly good on the street courses this year and the team is really working well together. I am sure this is going to be another very competitive weekend – we are ready for it. After last weekend the whole team is ready to have another go at it.” IndyCar.com/Penske PR