Helio Castroneves – No. 3 Penske Truck Rental Dallara/Chevrolet
Will Power – No. 12 Verizon Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet
Event: Iowa Corn Indy 250
Iowa Speedway (.875 mile oval)
When: Qualifying (heat races) – Friday, June 22 at 7:15 p.m. ET
(Airs 7:30 p.m. ET Saturday on NBC Sports Network)
Race (250 laps) – Saturday, June 23 at 10:00 p.m. ET (NBC Sports Network)
TV/Radio: NBC Sports Network/IMS Radio Network and Sirius XM Channel 94
Less Is More: INDYCAR will limit the amount of downforce on the cars by approximately nine percent for the Iowa Corn Indy 250 which Will Phillips, INDYCAR’s VP of Technology, said should “make sure the challenge is in the drivers’ hands.” This is welcome news to Team Penske driver Ryan Briscoe who, after coming off a podium finish at the last restricted-downforce race in Texas, commended the new formula that made the cars tougher to drive and more entertaining to watch.
Corn Quest: Since the inaugural Iowa Corn Indy 250 in 2007, Team Penske has won two pole positions (Helio Castroneves in 2009 and Will Power in 2010), earned two podium finishes (Briscoe in 2009 and Castroneves in 2010) and produced four top-five results, but the team has not been able to visit Victory Lane. Briscoe has finished in the top-10 each of his last four races at the short oval.
Heating Up: INDYCAR is trying a new qualifying format this weekend. Three qualifying heat races will be held Friday evening at Iowa Speedway to determine the starting positions for Saturday’s race. The drivers will be placed into one of three heat races depending on their practice times, with the third race featuring the fastest eight qualifying times to determine the pole and order of the top eight starting positions. The format has created a lot of buzz and differing opinions from drivers as INDYCAR continues to strive to create more excitement for the fans.
Still Number One: Through the midway point of the IZOD IndyCar Series 2012 schedule, Team Penske’s Power still leads the championship standings with 274 points. Castroneves continues his season-long run in the top five by entering Iowa in fifth place and Indianapolis 500 pole winner Briscoe is ranked ninth.
Left Turn Expert: Briscoe is currently third in the AJ Foyt Oval Track Championship standings, just 12 points behind leader James Hinchcliffe. Briscoe, a native of Sydney, Australian has one podium and two top-five finishes in three oval races so far this season. Iowa will mark the last scheduled oval event on the calendar until the season’s final race at Auto Club Speedway in California on September 15.
Two For The Road: With 135 laps led so far in 2012, Power is just two laps shy of surpassing 1,500 laps led in his career. Fellow Team Penske driver Castroneves is the active career laps led leader with 4,576.
Completing and Leading: With an average finishing position of 7.6, Castroneves has completed 1,060 of 1,063 possible laps in 2012, putting him in second place and one lap behind the current leader, Simon Pagenaud. Castroneves’ 108 laps led this season ranks third in the series.
Chevy Showcase: Castroneves’ sixth-place performance last race at Milwaukee sealedChevrolet claiming the top-six finishing positions at Milwaukee. Paced by the performance of Team Penske’s drivers, Chevrolet has earned five wins in 2012 and at least one podium finish in seven of eight races.
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 unveil the new No. 2 PPG Automotive Refinish car in Iowa. Penske Truck Rental will return as the primary sponsor of the No. 3 car driven by Castroneves and Power will drive the No. 12 Verizon Team Penske car throughout the 2012 season. Team Penske also features IZOD, Shell and Pennzoil, Hitachi and AAA Insurance as primary sponsors in 2012 along with associate sponsors Coca-Cola, Meijer, PTC and SKF.
Meet Team Penske: All three Team Penske drivers will participate in the IndyCar autograph session at the Fan Village on Saturday at 4:30 p.m. CT at Iowa Speedway.
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.
Follow Team Penske On Twitter: @penskeracing, @Ryan_Briscoe, @h3lio, @12WillPower
WHAT THEY ARE SAYING ABOUT THE IOWA CORN 250
Ryan Briscoe: “I am excited to take the No. 2 PPG Team Penske car to Iowa where it should be some great racing. After testing there I think everyone found that it was pretty wide open and we should have plenty of action like we saw in Texas and Milwaukee. I am still searching for my first win this year and hopefully this is it.”
Helio Castroneves: “I am really looking forward to seeing how the Penske Truck Rental machine does in the new qualifying format. It should be as exciting for the fans as it is for the drivers. We have had some success before at Iowa and hopefully we can get Team Penske its first win at Iowa Speedway.”
Will Power: “We are working hard for a good result for the Verizon car this weekend. I think it is a great move by INDYCAR to reduce the downforce, hopefully that makes it so you really have to earn the victory. We want to finish strong now that we are in the second half of the season.”