Team Penske: Series championship battle continues into Iowa

Helio Castroneves has produced five top-10 finishes in six races at Iowa but will be looking for his first win at the short oval on Sunday.

HERE COMES THE LEADER: Behind four podium finishes and two consecutive top-two results, Helio Castroneves carries a 16-point lead in the IZOD IndyCar Series championship battle into Iowa. Castroneves now has entered a race weekend leading the standings six times this season.

Helio Castroneves, Team Penske Chevrolet
Helio Castroneves, Team Penske Chevrolet

Photo by: Michael C. Johnson

STRONG STARTER: Castroneves has traditionally turned in strong qualifying results at Iowa. He has earned one pole (2009) and four front-row starting positions in six previous starts at Iowa Speedway with an averaging starting spot of fourth.

With this weekend’s new heat race format, it will be interesting to see if Castroneves’ qualifying success can continue.

HELIO AT IOWA: Though he typically qualifies well, Castroneves continues to try and convert that into race success at Iowa.

The three-time Indy 500 winner scored his top Iowa finish in 2010 when he finished second to Tony Kanaan. Castroneves has produced five top-10 finishes in six races at Iowa but will be looking for his first win at the short oval on Sunday.

Helio Castroneves, No. 3 Hitachi Dallara/Chevrolet:

ON RACING IN IOWA... “I’m excited to race at Iowa this weekend in the Hitachi Team Penske Chevrolet. The fans are always great there and I really like the Iowa Speedway track. With the IndyCars racing on the short, banked oval, it always means lots of action and there’ll be even more of it this weekend with not only qualifying but the heat races on Saturday night. That should be fun.”

ON THE KEY TO THE RECENT STRONG PERFORMANCES... “We’ve been doing a great job as a team and we need to keep this run going if we want to stay in front in the championship. The No. 3 car guys have given me great setups every weekend and we’ve been really consistent on race day so we’ll look to build on that in the Hitachi Chevy at Iowa.”

ON THE NEW QUALIFYING FORMAT THIS WEEKEND... “It will definitely be interesting. It’s good that we are trying something new and hopefully it will be a great show for the fans.”

Will Power, No. 12 Verizon Dallara/Chevrolet

RISING POWER: Will Power has picked up four spots in the IZOD IndyCar Series standings in the last two weeks of competition. Power was 15th in points after contact took him out of the second race at Detroit’s Belle Isle. But following two consecutive top-10 finishes, Power enters this weekend ranked 11th in the standings.

CIRCLE SUCCESS: Ironically, Power, the series’ three-time defending road course champion, has had his best success this season on oval tracks. Power’s average finish on road courses so far in 2013 in 14.8 while his average finishing position on ovals is 9.6. The native of Toowoomba, Australia is coming off his top finish of the year with a third-place result at the Milwaukee Mile short oval last weekend.

IOWA HISTORY: Power will first be looking to finish Sunday’s Iowa Corn Indy 250 as accidents have taken him out of action in each of the past two races at Iowa Speedway. Despite an average starting position of 5.8 in four previous races at Iowa, Power has produced just one top-five result at the unique oval.

POWER POLE PRODUCTION: With 31 career pole positions, including two earned this season, Power has proven to be a qualifying force. Though the format of qualifying will be different Saturday at Iowa with heat races determining the starting positions for Sunday’s race, Power will be looking to add to his career total. He won his first career pole on an oval track at Iowa Speedway when he topped single-car qualifying in 2010.

ON TRYING TO CONTINUE HIS STRONG OVAL RESULTS AT IOWA... "It should be an interesting weekend at Iowa Speedway. The Verizon team is coming off two good oval results at Texas and Milwaukee and we’re looking to continue to build our momentum at Iowa. The track is pretty unique and very fast, especially for a short oval.

I think it will be good racing for the fans to enjoy and hopefully we’ll have the Verizon Chevrolet running up front. With the heat races on Saturday, it should add some more excitement and it will be a good challenge for the teams with championship points on the line.”

ON CONTINUING TO CLIMB UP THE POINT STANDINGS... “We’ve just been working hard as a team and focused on getting solid results each and every weekend. We definitely want to get back to the top step of the podium, but the Verizon team is approaching each race weekend with the mindset of earning the best possible result and collecting as many points as possible so we can continue to try and work our way back from the tough start to the season.”

Team Penske

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Series INDYCAR
Article type Previews
Tags castroneves, indycar, iowa, penske, power