Two championships to be settled in MAVTV 500

DETROIT (September 12, 2012) – After 14 races; 14 battles for wins – it comes down to this weekend’s MAVTV 500 at Auto Club Speedway for Chevrolet IndyCar V6 teams and drivers to settle both the IZOD IndyCar Series coveted Driver’s Championship, as well as the Oval Track Championship.

Will Power, Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet
Will Power, Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet

Photo by: Covy Moore

“It is hard to believe that we are heading to the final race of the 2012 season,” said Chris Berube, Chevrolet Program Manager, IZOD IndyCar Series. “It has been an extraordinary year for Chevrolet as we made the return to IndyCar competition with the all new 2.2 liter twin turbo Indy V6 engine. The results stem from the passion, skill and experience applied via the collective effort of the Chevy Teams, our technical partners and internal resources. But, there remain a couple pieces of unfinished business as we prepare for the weekend at Auto Club Speedway - the driver's championship and the oval track championship. We feel very fortunate that there are Team Chevy drivers mathematically in the mix for both titles. We wish all of the Team Chevy drivers and teams the best of luck this weekend in Fontana. It is sure to be a nail-biter.”

The top-three drivers in the battle for the Driver’s Championship are all members of Team Chevy. Team Penske’s Will Power heads to the two-mile oval track with a 17 point lead over Andretti Autosport’s Ryan Hunter-Reay. Helio Castroneves, also from Team Penske, sits 35 points behind Hunter-Reay.

Tied atop the standings for the Oval Track Championship are Hunter-Reay and KV Racing Technology driver and former Series Champion (2004) Tony Kanaan. James Hinchcliffe, Andretti Autosport, is sitting in third position in the Oval Track Championship standings.

"Having a 500-mile race as the season finale is a great way to close out the IndyCar season,” concluded Berube. “It requires a significant effort from everyone involved; the race teams and drivers, Firestone tires, Sunoco fuels, the Somatro safety team and countless others that make the race a show of skill, strategy and grit. It is also good practice for another piece of unfinished business - that other 500-mile race in May."

Chevrolet clinched the Series Manufacturers’ Championship following the 13th race of the season at Sonoma Raceway. That same weekend, Power was crowned the Road Course Champion for the third consecutive season.

Saturday night’s 250-lap/500-mile race will be the first appearance for IndyCar at the Fontana, California track since 2005. Chevrolet competed previously in Indy-style competition as an engine manufacturer in 1986-93 and 2002-05 with V-8 engines, winning 105 races which included two victories at Auto Club Speedway, 2002 and 2003. The wins 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: “This is a big weekend for the entire Verizon crew and we are all completely focused on what we need to do to win the championship. Having been in this position before, I know that our guys are ready. I am ready. We were able to learn a lot about the track at the test and now it is time to put it all together. I am appreciative of the Team Penske and Chevrolet teams putting me in this position and it is our mindset to finish race as the champion.”

RYAN HUNTER-REAY, NO. 28 TEAM DHL/SUN DROP CITRUS SODA ANDRETTI AUTOSPORT – 2ND IN POINTS: “I think it is so neat that we are finishing the season in California - I grew up just down the street (from the track) and this is a great place for the finale. Auto Club Speedway is a great facility. I haven't driven around the track since 2003 in a Reynard, and I can tell you the track has picked up some 'character' since then. But the race will be the same for all of us and I fully expect that the fans will see a fantastic race under the lights. After Sonoma we thought our chance (at the championship) was gone - but I'll tell you what - this team, the guys at Andretti Autosport, with the support of DHL and Sun Drop never, ever give up. We'll be there in the end. We are going to put on a great show. We're using the momentum we have on our side from winning four of the last seven races, and we hope to use that to our advantage. We've won the last two oval races as well. It's going to be a tough one to get the job done over 500 miles but this team has shown to be resilient toward the end of races, so I think we just have to approach it like we have been very other race this year. We're going out to win it. There's not a lot of time and energy wasted on counting points - we're going out to win the thing."

HELIO CASTRONEVES, NO. 3 AUTO CLUB TEAM PENSKE CHEVROLET – 3RD IN POINTS: “After the test last week we feel very good about what we can do with the Auto Club machine this weekend. It is going to be very competitive out there and I’m excited to see how the championship plays out over the 500 miles. Our car has felt strong all year long thanks to my crew and Chevrolet and hopefully we can finish with a great race.”

RYAN BRISCOE, NO. IZOD TEAM PENSKE CHEVROLET – 6TH IN POINTS: “I am excited to race for the first time at the Auto Club Speedway in the No. 2 IZOD car, the 500 miles could make things very interesting. Certainly the focus this week is on Will going for the championship but the IZOD guys still have a lot to go for as well. I am proud of my crew to overcome the adversity we had this year to put us in position to finish fifth this season, it really shows how hard we have worked. It has been a great year for Team Penske and Chevrolet and I want to end it with a great race.”

JAMES HINCHCLIFFE, NO. 27 TEAM GODADDY.COM ANDRETTI AUTOSPORT CHEVROLET – 7TH IN POINTS: “There are a lot of mixed emotions, I think, coming into this race. Definitely sad it's the last race of the season, it's been such a fun year and it's a bummer to see it come to an end. On top of that the anticipation of another 500-mile race - it's going to be a really long race around (Auto Club Speedway). The test for us was interesting. I think from what we saw there fans are going to see a really exciting race, kind of like what we saw at Texas (Motor Speedway). At this point we are still finalizing what the package is going to be, but I think with the experiences the drivers and team has - from TX especially - we're gong to make the right decisions and put on a hell of a show. So, overall sad the season is over but hopefully we can end on a high note for the team and for Go Daddy."

TONY KANAAN, NO. 11 MOUSER ELECTRONICS/ GEICO KV RACING TECHNOLOGY CHEVROLET – 8TH IN POINTS: “I have never lost a championship racing in Fontana. I have had some success there finishing second a couple of times and in the top-four a couple more. It would be great to get a win there not only for the championship race, but to insure that I win the A. J. Foyt oval championship. That would be an honor. ”

RUBENS BARRICHELLO, NO. 8 BMC/EMBRASE KV RACING TECHNOLOGY CHEVROLET – 11TH IN POINTS: “And here we are back to the ovals again...to be honest I had a great time on the ovals this year and I look forward to Fontana. From testing it looks like it is going to be good racing and I am looking to have a very good one so we can finish the season on a high note.”

ORIOL SERVIA, NO. 22 PANTHER/DREYER & REINBOLD RACING CHEVROLET – 12TH IN POINTS: “First of all, I'm excited to go back to Fontana. I think that it has provided some of the best oval racing. I actually have good memories of Fontana because it's the track where I became the Indy Lights champion in 1999. It's the type of race, with it being 500 miles, that suits me best. It's a long race and you have to be patient and you have to work on the car towards the end of it. I'm sure the race will be a great season ending. I'm excited to go back there and I'm also excited that we will have a chance to test the week of the race. We will be able to refresh our oval skills because we haven't been on an oval in awhile, especially a fast one like that, and I think that we will be very well prepared. I'm looking forward to have a strong end of the season and to get that podium or win that we've been chasing."

MARCO ANDRETTI, NO. 26 TEAM RC COLA ANDRETTI AUTOSPORT CHEVROLET – 17TH IN POINTS: “The RC Cola team is really focused on going out on a high note. I've had a great car on the ovals this year, and with a full day of testing, I think we're prepared to run at the front. It would be great to see Ryan (Hunter-Reay) win the championship, and we expect to be in the mix for a victory. It would be great way to end the season. We're going for it."

ED CARPENTER, NO. 20 FUZZY’S PREMIUM ULTRA VODKA ED CARPENTER RACING CHEVROLET – 22ND IN POINTS: “The last time I raced at Fontana was 2005. So it’s been a long time. But I always enjoyed racing there. I liked Michigan too as they are similar layouts. Fontana was more challenging though. It’s a little more bumpy as well as hot and windy. From what I am hearing that the Auto Club Speedway will be more challenging than what I remember it, especially with the track having aged a little bit. I’m really excited to get to Fontana again and to have another 500 miler on the schedule too. So we will be testing on Sept. 12 to get an idea of the surface and the conditions. As we get down to the end of the schedule, you don’t have many opportunities to run well and do something for your team. I’m as motivated as ever to pick up another win on an oval at Fontana. We left Iowa feeling like we had a car to win. That was our last oval race. I felt like we missed a good opportunity there. So, going into Fontana, I feel like we have something to prove. I feel good going to another oval, but we know that other teams are working hard like our Fuzzy’s Vodka team to get a good chance to win the Fontana race. It’s the season finale, so it’s a big race. A lot of people are racing for many things there, whether it’s for the overall championship, the oval championship or people like us who want to make a statement at the end of the season. It’s the last chance before the long off-season to score a win. We have been working hard and I’m really happy with effort the team has put in preparing for the Fontana finale. I think we will have a good car and a fast car. I don’t think it’s going to be just about speed for this race. It’s going to be a good balanced car for the whole race. And that is going to be exaggerated by going 500 miles in the race. But I feel confident going into the race. If you look at all of the ovals this year, we’ve run well in all of the races. At Indy, we were there in third with 20 laps to go, at Texas we were fast but got a bad break, and Milwaukee and Iowa we came on strong at the end. With Fuzzy’s Vodka sponsoring the winner’s circle at Fontana, the Fuzzy’s 19th Hole, so we definitely want to pay a visit there !!

KATHERINE LEGGE, NO. 6 TRUECAR DRAGON RACING CHEVROLET, 26TH IN POINTS (RUNNING THE OVAL TRACK RACES IN 2012 FOR DRAGON RACING): “We are looking forward to finishing the season in Fontana. Our test last week didn't go quite as we had planned, but we are working hard towards a comfortable race car. 500 miles is a long race at a very unique track like Fontana with a lot of challenging bumps!"

SEBASTIAN SAAVEDRA, NO. 17 TEAM AFS RACING ANDRETTI AUTOSPPORT CHEVROLET, MAKING HIS THIRD APPEARANCE IN IZOD INDYCAR SERIES THIS SEASON: “It is incredible how quick this season went by. One race to go and there's not a better place to have it than Auto Club Speedway. It's going to be a busy weekend with the AFS Racing team doing both Firestone Indy Lights & IndyCar for a total of 600 miles. We are prepared for this and looking forward to a good show in both series. I had the opportunity to watch my Andretti teammate's test last Thursday, which gives me some inside knowledge of what to expect for my first contact with the track. I will have the chance to test on Wednesday, which is a big extra for us to get a bit more familiar with the car and the track itself. Every mile counts."

Source: Team Chevy Racing