Team Penske Looks To Build On Winning Tradition At Mid-Ohio
Mid-O Memories: Team Penske has a remarkable history at Mid-Ohio. In the 26 open-wheel races that have been held at the course since 1980, Team Penske has won seven times, including four in a row from 1992-95 when Emerson Fittipaldi and Al Unser Jr. each won two races in a row at the venue. A Team Penske driver has won the pole in each of the last four races run at Mid-Ohio (Will Power – 2010, Ryan Briscoe - 2009 and Helio Castroneves – 2008 and 2007).
(Mid-Ohio) is going to provide some intense competition
Sweepin’: In the majority of its victories at Mid-Ohio, Team Penske has demonstrated an uncanny ability to sweep the top spots in the finishing order. In five of its seven wins at the track, Team Penske has finished first and second. The team claimed the top two positions in 1992 (Emerson Fittipaldi followed by Paul Tracy), 2000-2001 (Castroneves followed by Gil de Ferran) and 2008 (Briscoe followed by Castroneves). In 1994, the team scored an impressive 1-2-3 result as Unser Jr. captured the checkered flag followed by Tracy and Fittipaldi. That result stands as the team’s last 1-2-3 finish at a road circuit. Team Penske swept the top two spots last round in Edmonton as Power won followed by Castroneves at City Centre Airport.
On a Roll: Power heads into this weekend’s event coming off his fourth IZOD IndyCar Series win of the season last round in Edmonton and he is ranked second in the series standings, now 38 points behind Dario Franchitti. Power, the defending Mario Andretti Road Course Champion of the series, trails Franchitti by just four points in the 2011 road course point standings.
Power Play: In his two career IZOD IndyCar Series starts at Mid-Ohio, Power owns a pair of top-four finishes. He started 12th and finished fourth for KV Racing Technology in 2008 for the top result of his rookie campaign in the series and last season he won the pole and went on to finish second in the race at Mid-Ohio
Liking Lexington: Briscoe has had his share of success at Mid-Ohio. He captured the pole for this event in 2009 and he also won at Mid-Ohio driving for Team Penske in 2008. Last season, Briscoe earned a sixth-place finish in the Honda Indy 200. He enters this event ranked sixth in the championship point standings, but he stands just 43 points behind third-place driver Scott Dixon.
Awesome in Ohio: Castroneves owns two wins and two poles at Mid-Ohio in his distinguished open-wheel racing career. He topped qualifying at the circuit in both 2007 and 2008 and captured the checkered flag at the venue in the CART Series in both 2000 and 2001. Overall, he owns five podium (top-three) results in eight career races at Mid-Ohio and finished third here last season. Following a tough start to 2011, but coming off his top finish of the year with a runner-up result in Edmonton, Castroneves has improved his position to ninth in the championship standings.
Ready for a Run: In 2010, Castroneves began a run of six straight top-six finishes at Mid-Ohio. The hot streak included two wins, a pole and three podium finishes. The three-time Indy 500 champion hopes his return to Lexington this weekend brings a similar streak to end the season.
Helio at Honda: Castroneves, along with several other IndyCar Series drivers, will visit the Honda of America Manufacturing Plant in Marysville, Ohio on Thursday, August 4. Castroneves will tour the facility, meet plant employees and sign autographs that afternoon for Honda, the exclusive engine manufacturer and sponsor of the IZOD IndyCar Series.
WHAT THEY ARE SAYING ABOUT THE HONDA INDY 200
Helio Castroneves: “I am excited to be returning to Mid-Ohio as it has a great road racing tradition. We are really hoping to carry the momentum we found from our last race to this weekend’s event. The Penske Truck Rental car is really fast right now and I can’t wait to take a shot at winning this race. It will also be good to see all the great Mid-Ohio fans – they really seem to appreciate IZOD IndyCar Series racing.”
Ryan Briscoe: “I love the track at Mid-Ohio. The No. 6 car has historically been fast there and I have had a lot of success there as well. We have been making steady gains in our qualifying performance on the Penske Truck Rental team and we are racing much better than our results have shown. I feel very good going into this weekend and we should be able to come home with a strong result.”
Will Power: “Mid-Ohio is a great track and I’m thinking it is going to provide some intense competition. In general, it’s a tough place to pass, but the side-by-side restarts will give us the opportunity to make some passes. Our Verizon car has been really quick on the road courses this year and the guys have been solid in the pits. As usual, it will be all about flawless execution to win and that is what we are going to have to do to this weekend.”