TEAM PENSKE EXCITED TO OPEN 2011 IZOD INDYCAR SERIES SEASON AT HONDA GRAND PRIX OF ST. PETERSBURG
St. Pete is So Sweet: Team Penske has a strong history at the Grand Prix of St. Petersburg. Of the five previous IZOD IndyCar Series race run at the track, Team Penske has produced four wins, two poles and six podium finishes. Helio Castroneves has two wins and a pole at the venue, Ryan Briscoe has a win and two podium results to his credit and Will Power is the defending polewinner and race winner at the fast street circuit.
Striving for Another Strong Start: Team Penske is looking to open the season with a victory for the third consecutive season. Power won at Sao Paul, Brazil to open the 2010 season while Briscoe won at St. Pete to start the 2009 campaign.
Triple Play: For the second straight season, Team Penske will compete as a full-season, three-car team. The 2010 season marked the first time since 1996 that the team entered the season intending to run three cars full-time and all three cars won races and finished among the top five in the championship last season. In 1994, Team Penske fielded three cars and finished 1-2-3 in the CART Series championship, winning a record-setting 12 races in one season.
Premier Partners: Team Penske is proud to welcome several new sponsors to its family in 2011. Joining Power’s No. 12 car team primary sponsor, Verizon, in the Team Penske stable this season, IZOD will compete as a sponsor of the No. 6 car driven by Briscoe beginning this weekend. Guidepoint Systems also joins Team Penske this season and will serve as the primary sponsor of the No. 3 car driven by Castroneves at St. Petersburg. Team Penske also welcomes Shell-Pennzoil, AAA, PPG and Penske Truck Rental as primary sponsors in 2011 along with new associate sponsors Meijer, Coca-Cola and Comfort Revolution.
Street Success: Team Penske excels at street course circuits. Castroneves, Briscoe and Power have all earned temporary road course victories over the last several seasons and the team overall has produced 19 poles and 12 wins at road/street course venues since 2007. Team Penske is well positioned to start the 2011 season as the first four races are all held at street or road circuits.
No Place Like Home: The sunshine state has a Team Penske connection. Castroneves is a longtime resident of the state and maintains an office in Miami and his home Ft. Lauderdale while team advisor Rick Mears has a home in Jupiter, Fla.
V Power Parade: As defending race champion, Power will participate in the driver’s parade through the streets of downtown St. Pete on Thursday evening, March 24.
Castroneves Crew Debut: Castroneves and Team Penske will host a group of about 40 local underprivileged children on Sunday as part of Shell’s “Fuel for Success” program. Castroneves will meet with the “Castroneves Crew” and take them on a tour of the Team Penske garage on Sunday morning at 9:30 a.m. ET. The No. 3 Guidepoint Systems car will also carry a “Castroneves Crew” logo this weekend honoring the names of three police officers that were killed recently in the line of duty.
Legacy of Success: Team Penske continues to set the standard of success in open-wheel racing. Throughout its storied history, the team has posted 153 race wins, 12 National Championships and 196 pole positions. In addition, Penske Racing has won the Indianapolis 500-mile race 15 times. Across all of its disciplines, Penske Racing teams have produced 332 major race wins, 395 pole positions and 23 National Championships.
WHAT THEY ARE SAYING ABOUT THE HONDA GRAND PRIX OF ST. PETERSBURG
Helio Castroneves: "After a long offseason, I am very happy to back in race mode and excited to be back in the car this weekend. It's great to welcome some new sponsors to Team Penske this year, like Guidepoint Systems, who will be on the No. 3 car at St. Petersburg. It's always good to start off the year at a place where I've had success in the past. I've been to Victory Lane twice at St. Pete and I hope to get there a third time on Sunday."
Ryan Briscoe: “I really want to kickoff the season with a strong start at St Pete. I love the track and I enjoy the event as a whole. Team Penske has worked very hard over the offseason, as have I, and the No. 6 IZOD crew is more ready than ever to contest for the title in 2011. I am excited to go racing and hopefully all of our hard work will pay off.”
Will Power: "I'm looking forward to getting the season started – it has been such a long offseason. All three Team Penske cars had a great test at Barber and the Verizon crew is ready to go. I am excited to finally race again. I'm looking forward to trying to defend our win at St. Pete and the competition is going to be fierce."
-source: penske racing