POWER LEADS TEAM PENSKE’S BUSY DAY OF PRACTICE FOR THE INDIANAPOLIS 500
INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (May 17, 2012) – Team Penske got back to business Thursday, using the six-hour practice session at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway (IMS) as its last opportunity until Sunday to run through race setups in preparation for the 96th Indianapolis 500.
The team’s three drivers also returned to their familiar place in the upper-echelon on the speed charts as the Team Penske trio finished the day ranked fourth, sixth and 14th on the timing rundown. The three drivers combined to run an even 200 laps around the 2.5-mile IMS oval on the day.
Will Power led Team Penske’s efforts with a fast lap speed of 221.932 mph in the No. 12 Verizon Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet. The IZOD IndyCar Series point leader recorded 70 laps, also a team high, as his speed on lap 60 ranked fourth overall on the day.
“Today was our last chance until Sunday – and I hope the weather stays good until Sunday – it was our last chance to try race setups and understand what the car does in traffic,” said Power. “We did two full runs basically. Tomorrow we’ll get out and start to understand what the Verizon car is like with more boost. It will be full focus on qualifying.”
Ryan Briscoe experienced his fastest session in the No. 2 IZOD Team Penske machine with a quick speed of 221.510 mph. Briscoe finished sixth among the 29 drivers participating in the practice session and is confident his 68 laps were productive ones as he tries to win his first Indianapolis 500 on Memorial Day weekend.
"Not a bad day really - it was nice to get more running in after a quiet Wednesday,” said Briscoe. “We did a lot of race set-up work with our IZOD car today and we are learning a lot - finding more of the things we will need come race day."
Three-time Indy 500 winner Helio Castroneves finished the day with his No. 3 Shell V-Power Pennzoil Ultra Team Penske car running a fast lap of 220.598 mph. While his speed ranked him 14th on the day, the driver ranked second in the IZOD IndyCar Series point standings feels his 62 laps put him in a place where he can now focus on winning his fifth career pole position at Indianapolis on Saturday.
“Today was good, our Shell V-Power Pennzoil Ultra car was really consistent,” said Castroneves, who last won at Indy in 2009. “Most of our day was spent doing race set-up work so that we can focus on qualifying tomorrow. We made a lot of major steps in the right direction and we are looking forward (to) tomorrow since we will be getting some additional power per the rules. We should be in good shape moving towards Saturday.”
With 15 wins at the “greatest spectacle in racing,” Team Penske is the most successful team in the history of the Indy 500. Team Penske drivers have also combined to win 16 poles at the storied race.