DETROIT – For the final time this season, the Chevrolet IndyCar V6 teams and drivers will take on the challenges of street-course racing in the Grand Prix of Baltimore on the Streets of Baltimore. With Chevrolet clinching the 2012 IZOD IndyCar Series Manufacturers’ Championship at Sonoma, and Will Power claiming his third consecutive Road Course Championship title, the battle for the overall Driver’s Championship and Oval Championship will take center stage in the two remaining races.
"Congratulations to Ryan Briscoe and Team Penske on their win at Sonoma Raceway,” said Chris Berube, Chevrolet Racing Program Manager, IZOD IndyCar Series. “With that ninth victory of the season, Chevrolet was able to clinch the IZOD IndyCar Series Manufacturers' Championship. We are proud of the accomplishment for Chevrolet, our technical partners and all of our teams that have put in a tremendous effort in our return to IndyCar competition.
"With two races remaining in the season, we remain focused on winning the Driver's Championship and Oval Championship. First up is the Streets of Baltimore, where Will Power was the winner in last season's inaugural race.”
The 2.04-mile, 12-turn street course in beautiful downtown Baltimore, Maryland provided tremendous excitement for the fans in its inaugural race last season. Slight changes have been made to the course to heighten the competition as the Series returns this weekend. Among the changes to the race track this year include remodeling the chicane, which creates extra turns after the longest straightway along Pratt Street. There will also be improved passing areas around the course -- all expected to result in higher top speeds for drivers. However, it will remain a physically and mentally challenging event for drivers, and a technical challenge for the crews to get the car set-up perfectly suited to their drivers.
"The track is modified from last year to improve some passing zones and street courses are physically challenging for the drivers,” Berube continued. “However, we know our Chevrolet IndyCar V6 teams and athletic drivers are up for the challenge."
Chevrolet competed previously in Indy-style competition as an engine manufacturer in 1986-93 and 2002-05 with V-8 engines, winning 105 races, that powered Chevrolet to six driver champions, and included seven Indianapolis 500 victories.
CHEVROLET IN THE IZOD INDYCAR SERIES - FROM THE DRIVER’S SEAT:
WILL POWER, NO. 12 VERIZON TEAM PENSKE CHEVROLET – POINTS LEADER: “We will go into this week just as we do every week and that is to get a win for the Verizon team. We would obviously like to repeat last year’s success and once we get some practice time we will be able to see how the new changes affect the way we attack the track. Hopefully we can follow up last week’s great wins for both Team Penske and Team Chevy with another one this week.”
RYAN HUNTER-REAY, NO. 28 TEAM DHL/SUN DROP CITRUS SODA ANDRETTI AUTOSPORT – 2ND IN POINTS: "It's frustrating to have had two races without the finish the DHL/Sun Drop team deserves, but we're going all-out to win the last two races. In my mind, the championship is wide open, and we're focused on one thing: winning. I'm going to push hard and treat every lap like a qualifying lap. I think it's going to be a great event in Baltimore, between the Yellow Party and Andretti Sports Marketing promoting the event, and we'll do all we can to end the weekend in victory lane."
HELIO CASTRONEVES, NO. 3 PENSKE TRUCK RENTAL CHEVROLET – 3RD IN POINTS: “I was really impressed with how great the Baltimore fans were last year and I am looking forward to driving the Penske Truck Rental Chevrolet machine there again this year. Certainly we are still in the middle of the championship hunt so we need to have a good points weekend to start closing the gap.”
TONY KANAAN, NO. 11 MOUSER ELECTRONICS/ GEICO KV RACING TECHNOLOGY CHEVROLET – 6TH IN POINTS: “I am looking forward to going back to Baltimore. We had a good race there last year finishing on the podium after starting last and it is the home race for my sponsor GEICO, so I know I will have a lot of support. With just two races left in the season and the championship battle so tight we need to have a good result. I would also like to congratulate Chevrolet for clinching the engine manufacturer championship last weekend in Sonoma.”
JAMES HINCHCLIFFE, NO. 27 TEAM GODADDY.COM ANDRETTI AUTOSPORT CHEVROLET – 6TH IN POINTS: "I'm excited about going to Baltimore and being back on a street course. This was a great event last year and we've had competitive cars on the streets this season, so hopefully this can be a good turn around for the Go Daddy team. Sonoma was a tough weekend and now we are all focused on doing what we can as a team to give Ryan (Hunter-Reay) the best shot at bringing home the championship title. The biggest thing for us is that we want to finish the season in the same fashion we started, and that's up front."
RYAN BRISCOE, NO. PPG TEAM PENSKE CHEVROLET – 8TH IN POINTS: “I’m excited to be returning to Baltimore, it was a very challenging course last year and with the changes they are making we’ll have to see how things play out this year. Last year we faced some difficulties that kept us from finishing where we would have liked to, but we were having a strong run after qualifying fourth so we will try and pick up from what we learned there last year. It was great getting the win at Sonoma last week and clinching the (Manufacturer’s) Trophy for Chevy. We are still focused on getting wins and hopefully we get another this week.”
JR HILDEBRAND, NO. 4 NATIONAL GUARD PANTHER RACING CHEVROLET – 11TH IN POINTS: “Baltimore is a challenging place. It’s almost like it’s two different tracks jammed together; half the track is newly paved, smooth, and grips up – and the other part is really a standard street circuit that’s really rough and bumpy and pretty much low grip all around. Knowing that this year going in should be beneficial to us. It’s always difficult to figure out where you need to make the car work, so that will be an interesting challenge this weekend in the National Guard Chevy. From a driver standpoint, the track has a little bit of everything – from fast corners to hairpins that make it a match up of different styles and things you can make work. I’m excited to get back there. With it being so close to Washington DC it’s great for us and the National Guard because we’ve got a lot of support this weekend. Last year we were running pretty well and at the end of the race there were some cautions that allowed a bunch of cars we were ahead on strategy make it on fuel. This year we’re going into the weekend knowing we’ve got a good shot because we were in a position last year to get a Top Ten here last year.”
ORIOL SERVIA, NO. 22 PANTHER/DREYER & REINBOLD RACING CHEVROLET – 13TH IN POINTS: "Last year was a great event and everybody agrees that it was a packed house, so it's always fun to go back. I had a great race last year and finished behind Mr. Power. This year we've been getting closer and closer to the podium and we only have two races left, so we definitely want to seize the opportunity. I think we should have a good car. We've been improving our street course setup the last few races and I feel like we will be in contention. Unfortunately, we're not in the championship hunt, but that also puts us in a position where all we want is to go for the win and the race and we don't care about points anymore. We're in an interesting position and we are going to take advantage of it. I think that the track was pretty good for a new track last year, but there were a couple of things that they needed to improve like the railroad and the little chicane and I think that they are doing that. I think that it's going to be okay and you always hope that they can convince the city to add a couple more blocks of the city so that the track can be longer, I don't think that's possible, so I'm welcoming the changes that they've done."
RUBENS BARRICHELLO, NO. 8 BMC/EMBRASE KV RACING TECHNOLOGY CHEVROLET – 14TH IN POINTS: “I don't know much about the Baltimore circuit apart from the race that I just watched from last year. After a good result last weekend in Sonoma, I just want to keep the momentum going and finish my first IndyCar season with some more good results.”
MARCO ANDRETTI, NO. 26 TEAM DR. PEPPER ANDRETTI AUTOSPORT CHEVROLET – 16TH IN POINTS: "Last year, the Baltimore race was one of the most physically challenging races I've ever driven. As a driver, you look for elements that might give you an advantage, and I feel like I'm in good physical condition to be able to handle the street circuit this weekend and make gains on those who aren't as fit. I known they've made some changes for the better for the track, and since Andretti Sports Marketing is promoting the race, I really want to do well."
E.J. VISO, NO. 5 CITGO/PDVSA KV RACING TECHNOLOGY CHEVROLET – 20TH IN POINTS: “After a very difficult weekend in Sonoma I expect to have a much better one in Baltimore. I hope to start the weekend with clean practices and have a good qualifying session and race result. Baltimore surprised everyone last year. I believe everyone enjoyed the race starting with the drivers and down to the fans. It had a great attendance and I am looking forward to being back there again.”
ED CARPENTER, NO. 20 FUZZY’S PREMIUM ULTRA VODKA ED CARPENTER RACING CHEVROLET – 22ND IN POINTS: “I really loved last year’s Baltimore Grand Prix. What an atmosphere! Such a great crowd with enthusiasm! The city was really buzzing from the race. Bringing the racing to the city and many people, who don’t normally go to the races, get an opportunity to see the race cars and the events around the weekend. This year’s track should be a little better with the adjustments on the long straight, no chicane; and the widening in turn one. It should help for passing zones. I’m excited to go back to Baltimore and the Grand Prix. In addition, I want to congratulate the folks at Chevrolet and Ilmor for winning the coveted Izod IndyCar Series Manufacturers championship. In just its first season back in IndyCar racing, GM has proven to be a force in our sport once again. I’m proud that Ed Carpenter Racing and Fuzzy’s Vodka is associated with Chevrolet.”
SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS NO. 7 TRUECAR-MCAFEE DRAGON RACING CHEVROLET, 24TH IN POINTS (RUNNING THE STREET AND ROAD COURSE RACES IN 2012 FOR DRAGON RACING): “After a very rough end to a great weekend in Sonoma, I am looking forward to Baltimore. I was very competitive last year for the inaugural, and I hope we can carry the momentum we’ve recently had for what will be my last IndyCar race of 2012.”
Souce: Team Chevy Racing