Mid-Ohio: Team Penske preview

CASTRONEVES IN THE CITY OF ANGELS AS AWARDS PRESENTER AND NOMINEE Two-time Indianapolis 500 winner Helio Castroneves is taking time away from the hectic IndyCar Series schedule to go to Los Angeles for two events this week. This evening, ...


Two-time Indianapolis 500 winner Helio Castroneves is taking time away from the hectic IndyCar Series schedule to go to Los Angeles for two events this week.

This evening, Castroneves will be attending Univision's "Premios Deportes" Awards in Pasadena, CA. Castroneves has been nominated for an award in the "Auto Racer of the Year" category. In addition, Castroneves will be presenting the "All-Star Soccer Team of the Year Award," which will be decided by fan votes.

Tonight's ceremonies mark the first-ever "Premios Deportes" Awards that were created to honor Latin athletes and their talent, perseverance, and character; as well as their impact on the Latin Community. The "Premios Deportes" nominees were selected by a panel of current and former professional athletes and sports writers, including famed boxer Oscar de la Hoya; legendary Mexican soccer goalie Jorge Campos; retired NFL player Tony Casillas; NFL Hall of Fame inductee Anthony Muñoz; former Mexican soccer coach Jesus Bracamontes; and Enrique Borja, legendary Mexican forward and team president of the Universidad Autonoma de Nuevo Leon (UANL) Tigres. "It is truly an honor to be recognized by the Latin community for my contribution to the sports world," said Castroneves of his award nomination. "Being from Brazil, the Latin community in the United States is a tremendously important part of my life. To be considered one of the top Latin drivers competing in America is something I'm very proud of, and I will certainly keep my fingers crossed at tonight's ceremony!"


As if one awards show this week wasn't enough for Castroneves, he will remain in Los Angeles o attend the 16th Annual ESPY Awards on Wednesday night hosted by Justin Timberlake.

Castroneves' role at the Ceremony will be two-fold, he will present the "Female International Athlete of the Year" ESPY, and he will work as a correspondent for Entertainment Tonight.

While he has been nominated for an ESPY Award in the past (2002), it will be the first time in his career that he will be presenting. In addition, the 33 yearold Brazilian will reprise his role as an Entertainment Tonight correspondent as he reports from the red carpet and behind the scenes at the Nokia Theater. As the ET ESPY correspondent, Castroneves will pick up where he left off when he provided post-show interviews for the entertainment show during the most recent season of "Dancing with the Stars."

In addition, Castroneves will also be taping a segment with professional snowboarder Gretchen Bleiler, which is slated to air during the "Countdown Show" leading up to the awards broadcast. The piece will feature the pair as they highlight the gift bags that ESPY nominees and presenters will be receiving.

"I am really looking forward to attending the ESPY's this week," explains Castroneves. "The evening is a perfect opportunity for athletes to interact with one another away from the track, field and court; and it's always a good time. And this year, not only do I have the honor of presenting an award, but I also get to work with 'Entertainment Tonight.' I had a blast trying things on the other side of the camera during the most recent season of 'Dancing with the Stars,' so I'm definitely looking forward to hitting the red carpet on Wednesday night."


This weekend, Team Penske heads to the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course with the rest of the stars of the IndyCar Series as they prepare for Sunday's Honda Indy 200.

The Team will be looking to carry the momentum of its past success at the 2.258-mile permanent road course into Sunday's event as it looks for its seventh win in Lexington, OH.

In two of the last three times Team Penske has competed at Mid-Ohio, they not only earned 1-2 finishes, but also swept the front row. In 2000 and 2001, Gil de Ferran started from the pole and finished second; while teammate Castroneves started second and won the event each time. In addition, Castroneves led the most laps in the race in 2001 and 2002, as well as last season when the IndyCar Series made its debut at the permanent road course.

"In my opinion, Mid-Ohio is one of the best road courses in this country," said Castroneves. "I enjoyed racing and winning two races there early in my career, so I was really excited when it was added to the Series schedule last season. Not only did the race produce some great action, I was also amazed at the fan support. It seemed that on race day every seat was filled and all of the viewing mounds were blanketed with spectators. Last year's race was especially memorable for me because I tied the Series record for poles in a season with six. Unfortunately, we weren't able to hold the position throughout the race but we did manage a podium finish when I finished third."

Furthermore, Team Penske teammate Ryan Briscoe nearly scored his first Mid- Ohio win in 2007 while competing in the American LeMans Series. He and teammate Sascha Maassen started and finished second overall.

"This will be my first trip to Mid-Ohio in an IndyCar, but I gained some experience running at the track in 2007 in the American LeMans Series," explains Briscoe. "It's a great circuit, so I'm looking forward to returning this year. It seems that Penske Racing has always been strong at Mid-Ohio regardless of what series they're competing in. Last year, the ALMS Team qualified and finished 1-2 overall and Helio won the pole for the IndyCar race, so hopefully we'll be able to bring the same level of competitiveness to the track again in 2008."

-credit: pr

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Helio Castroneves , Gil de Ferran , Sascha Maassen , Ryan Briscoe
Teams Team Penske , Team Penske