Team Penske Scores Pair of Top-Five Finishes in Kansas
KANSAS CITY, Kan. (April 26, 2009) - Helio Castroneves rallied from a start at the back of the field and an early crash to lead a solid finish for Team Penske, which put both of its cars in the top four Sunday in the RoadRunner Turbo Indy 300 at Kansas Speedway.
Castroneves finished second, while teammate Ryan Briscoe led 53 laps and caught a bad break that might have cost him victory, but still finished fourth. The result kept Briscoe in the middle of the IndyCar Series championship race -- he's now second, just one point out of the lead -- while Castroneves, who missed the season opener, is now 10th in the series standings.
Castroneves started 22nd in the 22-car field after being penalized for driving below the white line during Saturday's qualifying session. Just 15 laps into the race, his No. 3 Team Penske Dallara/Honda ran into the back of Vitor Meira's car. The impact tore the nose wing off the car, but the crew quickly replaced it and got Castroneves back in the race.
"He had some kind of problem," Castroneves said of Meira. "All of a sudden he lifted. There was nothing I could do. The Team Penske crew did a great job on the pit stops to get me back into it."
The crew also played a major role in Briscoe's success with a quick pit stop on the 99th lap that put the No. 6 Team Penske Dallara/Honda out front.. On lap 152, however, Briscoe committed to the pits just as Dario Franchitti crashed behind him, a circumstance that gave the lead to eventual winner Scott Dixon.
"We had the track position until we got caught out with that yellow," Briscoe said. "It's really unfortunate, but I'm happy to be disappointed for that reason, that's for sure."
Penske Racing's three-car team -- with Will Power rejoining the mix in the No. 12 Team Verizon Wireless car -- will be among the favorites to win the 93rd Indianapolis 500 next month. Action begins Wednesday, May 6 with the opening day of practice with Pole Day qualifying set for Saturday, May 9. The race is scheduled for Sunday, May 25.
The Penske squad has won the Indy 500 a record 14 times, including wins by Castroneves in 2001 and 2002.