[media-credit name=”texasmotorspeedway.com” align=”alignright” width=”400″][/media-credit]Lonestar Love: After two straight races that saw Team Penske finish outside of the top three, a trip to Texas Motor Speedway (TMS) is just what the doctor ordered. Team Penske has seven IZOD IndyCar Series wins in its history of racing at Texas Motor Speedway. Currentdrivers Helio Castroneves, Will Power and Ryan Briscoe have captured the checkered flag at TMS along with Sam Hornish Jr. (two of his wins were win another team) and Gil de Ferran for Team Penske. The 2011 twin races at Texas saw Team Penske continue its success with finishing positions of third (Power), sixth (Briscoe) and 10th (Castroneves) in the first race and first (Power), third (Briscoe) and fourth (Castroneves) in the second race of the weekend.
Texas Three Step: Castroneves owns three wins at Texas Motor Speedway (2004, 2006 and 2009), which ties him with former IndyCar and current Penske Racing NASCAR driver Sam Hornish Jr. for the most IndyCar wins at the track.
Premier Pole Performance: Team Penske comes to Texas as the team to beat during qualifying. With pole positions earned by Power (St. Petersburg, Sao Paulo), Castroneves (Barber Motorsports Park) and Ryan Briscoe (Long Beach, Indianapolis), Team Penske has won five of the six poles in 2012 and has a record 208 pole positions in its open-wheel racing history.
First of Many: Power won the second race of the Texas dual events in 2011 for his first career oval win. Over the course of his career, the 2010 and 2011 Mario Andretti road course champion has 18 wins with 17 coming on road/street courses.
Looking to Rebound: Team Penske enters the Firestone 550 coming off its first two-race span without a win in 2012. Despite notearning a victory in Rounds 5 and 6, Briscoe’s fifth-place result in Indianapolis and Power’s fourth-place finish at Detroit’s Belle Isle continued Team Penske’s streak of placing a driver in the top-five of every race in 2012.
One For The Thumb: Castroneves (St. Petersburg) and Power (Barber, Long Beach, Sao Paulo) combined to win the first four races in the 2012 season. There has never been a season in the 44-year history of Penske Racing that began with four consecutive victories until 2012.
Leader of the Pack: With three race victories and two pole positions, Team Penske’s Power leads the IZOD IndyCar Series championship standings with 232 points. Teammate Castroneves is not far behind in third place with 177 points and Briscoe is currently in eighth place with 142 points.
Bowtie Bonanza: Team Penske is proud to be a contributing member of Chevrolet’s highly successful return to IndyCar competition. Paced by the performance of Team Penske drivers, Chevrolet has taken nine of 18 combined top-three finishes and 26 of 36 combined starting spots in the top six over the first six races of the season.
Premier Partners: Team Penske is proud to continue its relationship with existing partners and welcome several new sponsors to its family in 2012. Briscoe will compete with Hitachi as a sponsor of the No. 2 car at Texas, AAA Insurance will serve as the primary sponsor of the No. 3 car driven by Castroneves at Texas and Power will drive the No. 12 Verizon Team Penske for the entire season. Team Penske also features IZOD, Shell and Pennzoil, PPG and Penske Truck Rental as primary sponsors in 2012 along with associate sponsors Coca-Cola, Meijer, PTC and SKF.
Meet Team Penske: All three Team Penske drivers will meet fans and sign autographs on two different occasions this weekend. The first opportunity will be at the IZOD IndyCar Series autograph session at Texas Motor Speedway from 6:00 – 7:00 p.m. CT on Thursday evening. The second will be at the Team Penske merchandise trailer with Castroneves and Rick Mears signing from 2:30 – 2:50 p.m. CT on Friday and Briscoe and Power signing from 4:00 – 4:20 p.m. CT on Saturday.
Legacy of Success: Team Penske continues to set the standard of success in open-wheel racing. Throughout its storied history, the team has posted 163 race wins, 12 National Championships and 208 pole positions. In addition, Penske Racing has won the Indianapolis 500-mile race a record 15 times. Across all of its disciplines, Penske Racing teams have produced 357 major race wins, 418 pole positions and 23 National Championships.
WHAT THEY ARE SAYING ABOUT THE FIRESTONE 550
Ryan Briscoe: “I am excited to go back to Texas with the No. 2 Hitachi car, where there is always great racing. I think with the data we have from the early testing it should be a special event and a lot of fun for the driversand fans. This is a great opportunity to bounce back from Belle Isle and I am eager to get Hitachi and Chevrolet into the winner’s circle on Saturday.”
Helio Castroneves: “The racing is really exciting in Texas and I am looking forward to doing it again in the AAA Insurance car. We get to do it this time with the Chevy engines which have been great so far and should make the racing even better. The last time I was in the AAA Insurance machine we won the pole (at Barber) so hopefully the good luck carries on to Texas. We have had some great finishes here in the past and hopefully we can do that again to get some good points.”
Will Power: “I am looking forward to driving the Verizon car in Texas this weekend. This is one of my favorite ovals and is a place where I have won before which makes it even better. I have a lot of family in the area so it is always fun to come here. I like our chances with the Chevrolet engines this weekend so hopefully we can get another win for Team Penske.”
Ryan Briscoe: No. 2 Hitachi Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet
Helio Castroneves: No. 3 AAA Insurance Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet
Will Power: No. 12 Verizon Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet
Texas Motor Speedway
(1.5 mile oval)
Qualifying – Friday, June 8 at 4:30 p.m. ET (Taped qualifying coverage at 7:30 p.m. ET on NBC Sports Network)
Race (228 laps) – Saturday, June 9 at 8:00 p.m. ET (Live on NBC Sports Network)