Team Penske St. Pete Preview

[media-credit name=”www.gpstpete.com” align=”alignright” width=”300″][/media-credit]TEAM PENSKE EXCITED TO OPEN 2012 IZOD INDYCAR SERIES SEASON AT GRAND PRIX OF ST. PETERSBURG

FAST FACTS

Drivers: Ryan Briscoe (No. 2 IZOD Team Penske),


American Muscle

Helio Castroneves (No. 3 Shell V-Power Pennzoil-Ultra Team Penske) and Will Power (No. 12 Verizon Team Penske)

Event:    Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg

Streets of St. Petersburg, Fla.

(1.8-mile street circuit)

When:    Qualifying – Saturday, March 24 at 1:55 p.m. ET

Race (100 laps) – Sunday, March 25 at 12:30 p.m. ET (Live on ABC)

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

Sebring Sweep: Team Penske is coming off a very successful open test at Sebring where it swept the top three fastest times. Helio Castroneves paced the group with a lap time of 52.14 seconds with Will Power and Ryan Briscoe just behind him. The three drivers were separated by a mere 0.066 seconds.

St. Pete is So Sweet: Team Penske has a strong history at the Grand Prix of St. Petersburg. Of the six previous IZOD IndyCar Series race run at the track, Team Penske has produced four wins, three poles and seven podium finishes. Helio Castroneves has two wins and a pole at the venue, Ryan Briscoe has a win and two podium results to his credit and Will Power has won the last two consecutive poles with a win in 2010 and a second-place finish in 2011.

Striving for Another Strong Start: Team Penske has opened the season with a podium finish in five out of the last six years. In the first four races of 2011 Power won all four poles and had two wins with Briscoe recording two podium finishes in the same span.

Triple Play: For the third straight season, Team Penske will compete as a full-season, three-car team. Team Penske finished second (Power), sixth (Briscoe) and 11th (Castroneves) in 2011 championship standings.

New Year, New Car: In 2012 Team Penske will begin its pursuit of a championship with a new engine partner as Chevrolet rejoins the IndyCar Series this season with Ilmor Engineering providing support. The IZOD IndyCar series also welcomes the new DW12 chassis design in 2012 and the new car is expected to be a faster and safer car for the competitors.

Premier Partners: Team Penske is proud to continue its relationship with existing partners and welcome several new sponsors to its family in 2012. Briscoe will continue to compete with IZOD as a sponsor of the No. 2 car, Shell-Pennzoil will serve as the primary sponsor of the No. 3 car driven by Castroneves at St. Petersburg and Power will drive the No. 12 Verizon Team Penske for the entire season.  Team Penske also features Hitachi (new in 2012), AAA, PPG and Penske Truck Rental as primary sponsors in 2012 along with associate sponsors Coca-Cola, Meijer, PTC and SKF.

King of the Road: Power has won the Mario Andretti Road Course title in each of the past two seasons and begins his quest for a third road crown this weekend. Last season, seven of Power’s eight poles and five of his six wins came on road/street courses.

Street Success: Team Penske excels at street course circuits. Castroneves, Briscoe and Power have all earned temporary road course victories over the last several seasons and the team overall has produced 27 poles and 17 wins at road/street course venues since 2007. Team Penske is well positioned to start the 2012 season as the first four races are all held at street or road circuits.

No Place Like Home: The sunshine state has a Team Penske connection. Castroneves is a longtime resident of the state and maintains an office in Miami and his home Ft. Lauderdale while team advisor and four-time Indy 500 champion Rick Mears has a home in Jupiter, Fla.

Meet Team Penske: All three Team Penske drivers will meet fans and sign autographs on two different occasions this weekend. The first opportunity will be at the Team Penske merchandise trailer at the St. Pete circuit from 5:00-5:30 pm on Friday, March 23 and the second will be in the IndyCar fan village on Saturday March 24 from 4:00-5:00 pm.

Legacy of Success: Team Penske continues to set the standard of success in open-wheel racing. Throughout its storied history, the team has posted 159 race wins, 12 National Championships and 204 pole positions. In addition, Penske Racing has won the Indianapolis 500-mile race 15 times. Across all of its disciplines, Penske Racing teams have produced 351 major race wins, 404 pole positions and 23 National Championships.

WHAT THEY ARE SAYING ABOUT THE HONDA GRAND PRIX OF ST. PETERSBURG

Helio Castroneves: “Finally the 2012 season is starting in St Pete and we are very anxious to start. We had a lot of great testing and I really feel like we are prepared for what will happen with the new car and Chevrolet engine.  The No. 3 Shell Pennzoil was very strong in the open test and we want to make sure we get off to a strong start. We have won here before and hope to do it again.”

Ryan Briscoe: “We are all very excited at Penske racing for the season to start with brand new cars and Chevy engines. I have high expectations for this year and a lot of hard work has gone in to be ready for this race in St. Petersburg. Hopefully we can come away with the win for Penske and Chevrolet.”

Will Power: “I’m looking forward to getting the season started – it is going to be very interesting to see how all the new cars and engines stack up against each other. We have had some strong practices with our new Chevy engines so far and should have a great package put together for the race. It is important for us to get off to a good start and I feel good about competing for the win in St. Pete.”

More information and statistics on all Penske Racing teams is available to registered members of the press at http://media.penskeracing.com. For updated stats and quotes during race weekend, please visit http://media.penskeracing.com/teampenskemedia/stpete.


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The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of SpeedwayMedia.com.

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