Team Penske Searches For Short Track Success This Weekend At Iowa Corn Indy 250
In Tune In Iowa: Team Penske has had some success at Iowa Speedway, but it continues to search for its first victory at the short, fast oval. In nine IZOD IndyCar Series starts at Iowa, Team Penske has recorded seven top-10 finishes, including three top-five results last season with the current driver lineup of Helio Castroneves, Ryan Briscoe and Will Power. The team has led 327 laps at the track, yet its best finish to date has been second place, posted by Briscoe in 2009 and Castroneves last season.
Protecting the Pole: Team Penske is the defending polewinner at Iowa. Power topped qualifying last year at Newton to earn his first ever pole on an oval track. Two weeks ago, Power – the IZOD IndyCar Series defending road course champion – won his first oval race by taking the checkered flag at Texas Motor Speedway.
Helio the Hawkeye: Castroneves has started all four events at Iowa Speedway from either the first or second row, but he has only managed one podium finish at the track – last season’s runner-up result. Castroneves has led laps in all four previous races he’s run at Iowa and he has led a total of 210 laps at the venue.
Briscoe is Back: Briscoe has two top-five and three top-10 results in his three previous races at Iowa. He has led 85 laps at the track – all during his runner-up finish in 2009 – and he has also qualified inside the top five twice and inside the top 10 in all of his previous starts in Newton.
Iowa’s Power Source: Power has just two previous starts at Iowa, but both resulted in top-10 finishes. In his rookie IZOD IndyCar Series season of 2008, Power started 11th and finished ninth for KV Racing Technology. Last season, he started from the pole and led 32 laps at Iowa before he finished in fifth place.
Still on Top: Team Penske currently sits atop the IZOD IndyCar Series standings after eight races as Power continues to lead the overall rankings. Following Dario Franchitti’s win at Milwaukee on Sunday, he and Power are tied in the title chase with each driver posting a 271-point total. Briscoe is ranked seventh in the standings while Castroneves is 13th heading into Iowa.
Home Cookin’: Two Team Penske crew members are natives of Iowa. Travis Law, the inside front tire changer on the No. 6 PPG Team Penske car driven by Ryan Briscoe, hails from Maquoketa, Iowa and Jeffrey Baker, mechanic on the No. 6 PPG car, is from Clear Lake, Iowa.
Mears Memories: Team Penske advisor and four-time Indianapolis 500 champion Rick Mears will participate in a press conference alongside Target Chip Ganassi Racing’s Dario Franchitti on Saturday, June 25 at 4 p.m. CT in the Iowa Speedway media center. Last weekend, Franchitti earned his 29th win to tie Mears for ninth place on the all-time IndyCar victories list. Both drivers will talk about their success and answer questions from the media.
Night Owls: This weekend’s race marks the first IndyCar race under the lights at Iowa Speedway. Nighttime has been the right time for Team Penske recently as the team has won six IZOD IndyCar Series night races since 2009, including one earlier this year when Power captured the checkered flag in Texas.
Circle Swan Song: This weekend’s race marks the last oval track on the series schedule for several weeks. Following the Iowa Corn Indy 250, the series will compete on three consecutive road or street course circuits in Toronto, Edmonton and Mid-Ohio before returning to oval action at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in mid August.
WHAT THEY ARE SAYING ABOUT THE IOWA CORN INDY 250
Helio Castroneves: “I am excited to be racing this weekend in Iowa. The Guidepoint Systems car was really competitive at Milwaukee last weekend and I think that we will be able to carry that momentum with us into this race. I have always enjoyed the challenges that Iowa brings. It is a very busy place and the No. 3 Team Penske car is finally getting into a good rhythm so this weekend should be very good.”
Ryan Briscoe: “Iowa is a great place to race. It is a quick track and the action is non-stop. We have raced well there in the past and we should be in good shape going into this event. I plan on doing my best to get my first win at Iowa and my first victory of the season while driving the PPG Automotive Refinish car this weekend.”
Will Power: “Last year we had a great race in the Verizon car at Iowa; it was actually quite fun. I won my first-ever oval track pole there and had a top-five finish so I will be looking to come back and have a strong result this weekend. We should be in decent shape heading into Iowa. I think we’ll have a good car this weekend. It is really important for us to have a solid result there and stay up top in the standings since this is the last oval race for a while in the IZOD IndyCar Series.”