INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (May 25, 2012) – Team Penske put the finishing touches on its preparation for the 96th Indianapolis 500 with plenty of productive race simulation laps and an attempt at the team’s 14th IZOD Pit-Stop competition title.
The three Team Penske drivers combined for 130 laps during the final practice session with Ryan Briscoe recording a team-high 53 laps while the team’s three-year consecutive win streak at the IZOD Pit-Stop Challenge came to an end.
Briscoe, who will start from the pole position for Sunday’s Indy 500, led the way with a fast lap of 221.025 mph in the No. 2 IZOD Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet. That ranked fifth-fastest among the 33 cars that participated in the one-hour Carb Day practice session.
"It was a good final practice for the IZOD car,” said Briscoe. “We ran the entire session - we made a lot of changes and made good use of the time. This was a good session for us – we learned a bit and this positions us nicely as we head into the race."
Current IZOD IndyCar Series points leader Will Power, who will start fifth Sunday in the No. 12 Verizon Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet, had the seventh-fastest lap of the session – 220.394 mph. Power will attempt to win his first Indianapolis 500 on Sunday when he starts from the fifth position.
"The Verizon car was quite good out there today,” said Power. “It was pretty hot out there which is likely what we will see in the race. We ran through our check list and we garnered a lot of useful information. We are looking good for the race."
Three-time Indy 500 winner Helio Castroneves had the 11th-fastest lap of the session, 219.832 mph in the No. 3 Shell V-Power Pennzoil Ultra Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet. Castroneves will join his teammate Power on the second row after qualifying sixth on Pole Day.
"We certainly made the most out of our final practice in the Shell-Pennzoil car today,” said Castroneves. “We made changes, ran in traffic and now we have a very good understanding of the car and what we will need to do on Sunday."
Friday also saw Team Penske come up just short in the IZOD Pit-Stop Challenge, only the second time since 2005 that a Team Penske driver has not taken the top spot in the annual competition among the top pit crews in the series.
Will Power and the crew of his No. 12 Verizon Team Penske car made it to the semifinal round of the tournament before losing by just 0.3 seconds to the eventual winner, Scott Dixon and the crew of his No. 9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing car.
Briscoe and the No. 2 IZOD Team Penske crew, the defending champions of the event, lost in the third round to Oriol Servia and the Panther/Dreyer & Reinbold Racing crew, which went on face Dixon in the final round.
Three-time Indy 500 winner Helio Castroneves and his No. 3 Shell V-Power Pennzoil Ultra Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet crew lost in the first round to Panther Racing’s JR Hildebrand and his team.
Team Penske will look to add to its record 15 Indianapolis 500 victories on Sunday in the “greatest spectacle in racing.” Team Penske will also look to win its fifth straight race as it drivers have won all four events so far in 2012.