TEAM PENSKE EXCITED TO MEET NEW CHALLENGE BEHIND STRONG HERITAGE AT NEW HAMPSHIRE MOTOR SPEEDWAY
Loudon Legacy: Team Penske has an interesting history of competition at New Hampshire Motor Speedway (NHMS). While the team will compete in the IZOD IndyCar Series for the first time this weekend at NHMS, Penske Racing has a storied past at Loudon. Across all levels of competition – including Indy Car, NASCAR and Trans-Am competition, Penske Racing has made 91 starts at New Hampshire while producing seven wins and 12 pole positions. The team first raced at New Hampshire just over 44 years ago in Trans-Am competition when Mark Donohue drove a Camaro Z28 at the venue then known as Bryar Motorsports Park on August 6, 1967. A broken axle brought an early end to that race but one year later, Donohue returned and scored Penske Racing’s first win in Loudon. The team has earned four NASCAR Cup Series wins at New Hampshire to go along with its two Trans-Am victories. Team Penske’s lone Indy Car win at NHMS came in 1994 when Al Unser Jr. captured the checkered flag.
Indy Memories at NHMS: In four previous Indy Car races in the CART Series at New Hampshire, Team Penske produced eight top-five finishes among its drivers, highlighted by Unser’s win and a pole claimed by Emerson Fittipaldi in 1994.Current Team Penske advisor and four-time Indianapolis 500 winner Rick Mears raced for the team at Loudon in 1992 and scored a fourth-place finish.
Momentous Milestones: It will be a milestone weekend for Team Penske at New Hampshire. The team will make its 1,300 start in open-wheel racing on Sunday and Helio Castroneves is set make his 200th career Indy Car start for the team as well. Castroneves has more starts with Team Penske than any driver in the history of the most successful team in North American open-wheel racing.
Testing the Waters: Though he has never raced at New Hampshire, Will Power does have some laps under his belt at the one-mile oval. Power tested at NHMS on July 5 and was impressed with the circuit. The test came just a few days after Power’s accident that ended his race early at Iowa Speedway on June 25, the last oval event on the IZOD IndyCar Series schedule before this weekend.
Reading the Rankings: Power heads into this weekend’s event still ranked second in the series standings. After Sunday’s 14th-place finish at Mid-Ohio, he now trails series points Dario Franchitti by 62 points in the IZOD IndyCar Series standings. Ryan Briscoe enters this weekend ranked seventh in the championship chase while Helio Castroneves is ninth in the point standings.
First-Time Fireworks: This weekend’s race marks the first of two new events on the IndyCar Series calendar in 2011 (Baltimore is the other track where the series has never raced before). Team Penske has fared well as first-time circuits recently as the team earned wins on the two tracks that were new to the IZOD IndyCar Series in 2010 – Power won at the Sao Paulo street circuit while Castroneves claimed victory at Barber Motorsports Park in Alabama.
WHAT THEY ARE SAYING ABOUT THE MOVETHATBLOCK.COM INDY 225
Helio Castroneves: "Obviously, I've never raced at New Hampshire Motor Speedway but I've heard it's a very challenging track. It's always good to race at new places and learn new tracks. My teammate, Will (Power), tested at New Hampshire and he said that it's kind of like Milwaukee. We had a really strong car there so if we have a similar performance from what we had in Milwaukee this year, we should have a good weekend in the Guidepoint Systems car."
Ryan Briscoe: "I like going to new race circuits and getting familiar with the track and making new fans, so it should be exciting in New Hampshire this weekend. We're looking for a big weekend with the No. 6 Penske Truck Rental team. I enjoy racing on short ovals and we should put on a good show for the fans at Loudon and at home watching on TV."
Will Power: "We had a good test at New Hampshire a few weeks ago. It's a fast, short oval and I think we come into this weekend with a good base line for our setup thanks to the testing we did. We need to come back with a good result this weekend in the Verizon car and I'm looking forward to the race on Sunday."