Team Penske Firestone 600 Texas race advance

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Will Power: “If you go out, race hard and focus on nothing but winning the race, I believe the points will take care of themselves."

Will Power - No. 12 Verizon - Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet

· MOTOR CITY MADMAN: Will Power enjoyed a spectacular doubleheader at Belle Isle last weekend. After starting from the 16th position in the first race on Saturday, Power used great strategy to pick up his second Verizon IndyCar Series win of the season. In Sunday’s second race, Power finished second to teammate, Helio Castroneves, and took command of the series points lead for the second time in 2014.

· BREAKTHROUGH WIN: On Saturday, June 11, 2011, Power collected his first career oval win in the Verizon IndyCar Series at Texas Motor Speedway (TMS) in the second race of the Firestone Twin 275s.

· MOVING ON UP: At just 33 years of age, Power has already won 23 career races. That places him tied for 18th place on the all-time wins list with Tommy Milton, whose 23 wins came when the series competed under the Automobile Association of America sanctioning body in the 1920s. Power is just seven wins away from entering the top 10 in career IndyCar victories.

· SUPERB START: Despite enjoying some strong starts in his Verizon IndyCar Series career, Power is looking to produce one of his best starts to a season with a solid result this weekend. The Toowoomba, Australia native has finished inside the top 10 in the last nine Verizon IndyCar Series races – the longest top-10 streak of his career – including two wins.

· CLOSE TO HOME: An Australia native that now resides in North Carolina, TMS is the closest thing Power has to a home track. His wife, Liz, is from nearby Plano. There will be many family members in attendance to watch Power compete for the victory on Saturday night.

YOU’VE WON AT TEXAS BEFORE AND YOU WON AT FONTANA LAST YEAR. HOW IMPORTANT ARE OVALS TO YOU? “The great thing about the Verizon IndyCar Series is that you have to be a master of many different disciplines, including ovals, if you want to be a champion. It’s something that I’m constantly working on. I definitely want to do a better job than what I did last year. We got a bit more downforce now and my teammate absolutely destroyed the field last year. No excuses on the car front. Now it’s just confidence on ovals.”

YOU AREN’T LOOKING AT POINTS NOW. YOU ARE JUST FOCUSING ON RACING HARD. HOW HAS THAT HELPED YOUR OVERALL CHAMPIONSHIP FOCUS? “If you go out, race hard and focus on nothing but winning the race, I believe the points will take care of themselves. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that we haven’t finished outside the top 10 in almost 10 races. When you’re constantly looking at the standings and how many points you won or lost, it can be maddening. It takes your focus away. I just want to get solid results every weekend. I’m trying to be mistake-free. I’m trying to forget about the championship in every race – just try to do your best. That's really all you can do.”

Helio Castroneves - No. 3 AAA Insurance Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet

· SEIZING MOMENTUM: Last weekend’s race at Belle Isle in Detroit could prove to be a catalyst for the rest of the Verizon IndyCar Series season for Castroneves. After securing the Verizon P1 Pole Award and finishing fifth in the first race of the doubleheader weekend on Saturday, Castroneves scored his first win of the season in the second race on Sunday by leading 42 of 70 laps en route to his third career win at Belle Isle.

· A LOVE FOR TEXAS: To say that Castroneves loves racing at Texas Motor Speedway (TMS) is a huge understatement. The Brazilian-born driver has won four times at the 1.5-mile oval, including last year’s event in which he led 132 laps, the most he has ever led in a single TMS race. No other current Verizon IndyCar Series driver has won more than once at TMS.

· MOVING ON UP: By taking the checkered flag on Sunday, Castroneves has advanced six positions in the standings since the series left Barber Motorsports Park four races ago. He is now positioned second in the point standings, just 18 behind Team Penske teammate, Will Power.

· A HISTORIC WIN: With his 29th career series win Sunday, Castroneves now has won a race in 14 of the last 15 seasons. Castroneves is now tied with his Team Penske mentor, Rick Mears, for the most IndyCar victories in team history and for 11th place on the all-time Verizon IndyCar Series wins list.

· TOP-FIVE STREAK: Castroneves has finished in the top five in four consecutive series races dating back to Barber Motorsports Park on April 27. In all, Castroneves has five top-five results in seven races this season.

YOUR WIN IN DETROIT HAS CAPPED OFF A STRONG RUN RECENTLY. WHAT HAS CLICKED WITH THE TEAM? “I think I’m definitely becoming wiser with age. I’m paying attention to the smallest of details and that allows me to work with my engineers better than I have before. This is my second year with Jonathan (Diuguid) as my engineer, which is probably the biggest reason. It’s so important for the two of you to be on the same page. Jonathan is doing a great job in giving me amazing cars. We should have another fast AAA Chevrolet this weekend. So, yes, things are going in my favor right now.”

CAN YOU GET YOUR FIFTH TEXAS WIN THIS WEEKEND? "Yes, we are on it. We are not playing around. I'm very confident with my team. We know what we have with the No. 3 AAA Insurance Chevy. We’ve improved quite a bit on the ovals, which is crazy considering that we led so many laps in our win at Texas last year. But we are ready.”

Juan Pablo Montoya - No. 2 Verizon - Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet

· JUST OUTSDIE THE TOP FIVE: With two top-five finishes on the season, Montoya is positioned seventh in the Verizon IndyCar Series standings heading into this weekend’s race at Texas Motor Speedway. Montoya is just 40 points behind Marco Andretti for the fifth spot, a gap that could easily be closed over the next few races.

· INDYCAR OVAL STATS: In 18 career series starts on ovals, Montoya has won a total of six races including the 2000 Indianapolis 500. Montoya’s last oval win came at Gateway International Raceway on September 17, 2000 before he transitioned to racing in Formula One.

· NASCAR STATS: Montoya has made 14 NASCAR Cup Series starts at Texas Motor Speedway (IMS) with his best finish of seventh coming in the spring race of 2009. In addition, the former NASCAR race winner has made three NASCAR Nationwide Series starts at the 1.5-mile oval.

· SHELL SAFETY DAY: On Wednesday afternoon, Montoya visited Houston to attend Shell Safety Day. Annually, Shell employees celebrate safety in the work place with Shell Safety day. Safety is Shell’s number one priority as it relates to the work force.

TEXAS MOTOR SPEEDWAY IS AN OVAL TRACK WHERE YOU HAVE NO INDYCAR EXPERIENCE – UNLIKE INDIANAPOLIS – ONLY NASCAR EXPERIENCE. DOES THAT HELP YOU? “I’m really excited to get to Texas. Obviously these are the types of tracks where I have the most experience over the last seven years in NASCAR. We tested there back in April and it went really well. I was very comfortable in the Verizon Chevrolet and we were up to speed quickly. Will (Power) and Helio (Castroneves) have both won there so we have a good pool of information to pull from. It should be a good weekend.”

DO YOU FEEL LIKE YOU CAN GET YOUR FIRST WIN OF THE SEASON THIS WEEKEND? “The speed in the Verizon car is there, no doubt, but there are so many things that go into winning a Verizon IndyCar Series race. But I feel like I can go into any race and get a win. None of us would be here if we didn’t think that way. But yes, based on our test at Texas, I think this is one of our better opportunities.”

Team Penske

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Series INDYCAR
Article type Previews
Tags helio castroneves, indycar, juan pablo montoya, tms, will power