Crafty Veteran: Helio Castroneves leads Team Penske drivers with nine career races at Mid-Ohio, which includes two Champ Car Series victories (2000 and 2001) to go along with his pole wins in the 2007 and 2008 IndyCar races. The three-time Indianapolis 500 winner has finished in the top-seven in the last five consecutive races in 2012, highlighted by his victory last round at the Edmonton Indy.
The Missing Piece: The Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course is a notable venue for Will Power as it joins Belle Isle as the only two temporary street/road courses on the 2012 schedule where Power has not recorded a victory. Power, who is the two-time defending Mario Andretti Road Course Champion and is leading the road course points again in 2012, has been on the cusp of winning before at Mid-Ohio as he started from the pole and finished second there in 2010.
Dynamic Duo: Team Penske is firmly entrenched in the IZOD IndyCar Series championship hunt as it enters the Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio. Castroneves’ victory in Edmonton catapulted him past his teammate Power and into second place in the standings with 339 points, just a mere 23 points behind series leader Ryan Hunter-Reay. Power is currently in third place and three points behind Castroneves while Briscoe is in ninth place with 241 points.
Starting Strong: Briscoe has been Team Penske’s most consistent driver at Mid-Ohio with the team best average starting and finishing positions of third and 6.2, respectively, at the venue. Briscoe was the 2009 Mid-Ohio pole winner with a lap that still stands as the course record (121.905 mph) and has started from the front row in three of his four races at the track. In addition, his two podium finishes include the race win in 2008. Still searching for his first victory this season, Mid-Ohio could be one of Briscoe’s best remaining opportunities to visit Victory Circle in 2012.
Coming From Behind: Team Penske’s Power is contributing to a new trend in 2012 that has seen an apparent decrease in the importance of starting position. In both 2010 and 2011 the average starting position of the race winner was an identical 3.17 while 2012 has seen that average more than double to 6.9. Power’s average starting pot in his three wins in 2012 is 7.3 while his 2010 and 2011 average starting position in his wins was 1.7.
Chasing History: After his win in Edmonton, Castroneves now has 27 career victories, which places him two behind his mentor and Team Penske legend Rick Mears for the most wins all-time at Penske Racing.
WHAT THEY ARE SAYING ABOUT THE HONDA INDY 200 AT MID-OHIO:
Ryan Briscoe: “Our plan for the No. 2 PPG car at Mid-Ohio is to go for the win. This is a place I have won before and we will need to continue our streak of qualifying well in order to put us in a favorable position to take the victory. We need wins to move up the points standings and I know the Team Penske and Chevrolet teams have what it takes to make that happen.”
Helio Castroneves: “Mid-Ohio has been a great place for me before and I hope to continue that this week in the No. 3 Penske Truck Rental machine. When everything goes right it is a really fun track to drive and I look forward to what we are going to be able to do this time around with the Chevrolet engine. We have really great momentum heading into the race and we need to keep that going to win the championship.”
Will Power: “We are very focused on what we need to do to put the No. 12 Verizon in the championship. Mid-Ohio is going to be an exciting race as it is getting down to the end and it is great to be in the middle of what looks to be a Chevy chase for the championship. We know we need to win races and I had some good performances here before so now it is time to put it all together, win the race and put our team where we want to be.”
Source: Team Penske