TEAM PENSKE eager to return to winning ways at infineon raceway
Sonoma Success: Team Penske has enjoyed its share of success at Infineon Raceway since the IZOD IndyCar Series began competing at the circuit in 2005. Helio Castroneves claimed the team's lone victory at Infineon as he won from the pole in 2008. Ryan Briscoe has earned two runner-up results at the venue and collectively, Team Penske has produced six top-five and seven top-10 finishes to go along with four podium results, one win and one pole in 10 starts at the famed wine country road course.
Top-Two Tradition: In the last three IZOD IndyCar Series races at Infineon, Team Penske has finished in either first or second place -- Castroneves finished second in 2007, Castroneves and Briscoe finished 1-2 in 2008 and Briscoe earned a runner-up result last season.
Championship Power: Will Power enters this weekend's event as the newly-crowned Mario Andretti Road Course Champion of the 2010 IZOD IndyCar Series season. After unveiling the Mario Andretti trophy with Power at Union Square in San Francisco on Thursday afternoon, Andretti will present the inaugural award named in his honor to Power and Verizon Team Penske in Victory Circle after Sunday's race. Power, who leads the series in wins (four) and poles (seven), currently sits atop of the overall championship point standings with a margin of 41 points separating himself and his closest competitor, defending Grand Prix of Sonoma winner Dario Franchitti.
Previous Power Production: In his lone official race start at Infineon Raceway, Power started third and finished 25th after going off course late in the race while driving for KV Racing Technology in 2008.
Helio History: It has been feast or famine at Infineon for Castroneves, who has produced one pole, one victory and one second-place finish in Sonoma. Accidents prevented the three-time Indy 500 champion from finishing events at the venue in 2005 and 2009, but he has scored top-five finishes in his other three starts at Infineon. Castroneves, who is currently fifth in the series standings, has never qualified worse than fourth in his five starts at the track.
Packed Week: It's been a busy week for Castroneves as he prepares for Sunday's race. The three-time Indy 500 champ was in Dallas, Tex. on Tuesday for the special announcement regarding next season's twin races at Texas Motor Speedway. From there, Castroneves flew to New York City to have dinner with NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg who was hosting Mayor Gilberto Kassab, the man who helps govern Castroneves' hometown of Sao Paulo, Brazil.
Ryan Review: Briscoe has a solid track record at Infineon Raceway. The third-year Team Penske driver has started and finished second in each of his last two outings in Sonoma. Briscoe also won his first IZOD IndyCar Series pole at Infineon in 2005, while driving for Target Chip Ganassi Racing. Briscoe enters this event ranked fourth in the championship point standings, just 27 points behind third-place driver Scott Dixon.
Sign of the Times: Castroneves and Power, along with select Indianapolis 500-winning drivers, will participate in an IZOD IndyCar Series autograph session at Macy's Union Square in San Francisco on Thursday, August 19 from 6-7 p.m. PT. All three Team Penske drivers will also sign autographs at the Verizon store located at 3138 Jefferson Street in Napa on Friday evening from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. PT.
Start Milestone: Team Penske will make its 1,250th all-time open-wheel racing start on Sunday when the green flag waves to begin the Indy Grand Prix of Sonoma.
WHAT THEY ARE SAYING ABOUT THE INDY GRAND PRIX OF SONOMA
Helio Castroneves: "The race at Infineon is one of the most prestigious events on the series schedule, not only because of the challenging circuit, but also because the area is unbelievably beautiful. The wine country is a special place for the spectators, the sponsors and even for my family. Of course we have to wait to enjoy some of it until after the race, but some things are worth waiting for! Our Team Penske cars have certainly been fast here recently and in the past races. The fans and the facilities at Infineon Raceway are awesome and I am really looking forward to racing there this weekend."
Ryan Briscoe: "I really like Infineon Raceway, with its steep elevations and blind corners. This track will always be special for me since it is the place where I earned my first IZOD IndyCar Series pole position back in 2005. It is always nice to visit the wine country and this is a trip that I truly look forward to making every year. The No. 6 Team Penske car has been fast at Sonoma the last couple of years and Will (Power) tested well there last week. I feel good about our chances for a solid result."
Will Power: "This is going to be another challenging weekend. Dario (Franchitti) is very quick at this track and we know he'll be tough. I went into the event at Sonoma last year wanting to win and I did not get the opportunity to race, because of the accident. I am going into the weekend determined to drive the Verizon Team Penske car into Victory Circle. I love Infineon Raceway. It is a very technical track, a real driver's track, and I am looking forward to racing there this weekend. I plan on working hard, having a little fun and hopefully getting the job done right on Sunday."
-source: team penske