Team Penske Brings Momentum to Barber
By: Jeff Wackerlin - @JWackerlin Twitter and Instagram | MRN.com on March 30, 2012 | 9:40 A.M. EST
Helio Castroneves' AAA Insurance car goes through tech on Thursday at Barber. (Photo: Jeff Wackerlin)
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – Team Penske looks to continue their momentum from the IndyCar season opener with another strong showing in the Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama at Barber Motorsports Park.
Penske is coming off a win in last weekend’s Honda Indy Grand Prix of St. Petersburg with driver Helio Castroneves, and now arrives at Barber where they have won both of the IndyCar Series races that have been contested there.
After being locked out of Victory Lane in 2011, Castroneves took the checkered flag last Sunday for his 26th career win. He was one of four Chevrolet drivers to place in the top five in the manufacturer’s debut of their V-6 engine in the series.
Castroneves, who leads the IZOD IndyCar championship standings for the first time since early in the 2008 season, now sets his sights on another win in at Barber after winning there in 2010.
“I feel great this week going to Barber, a great place to go race and where I have enjoyed winning before," Castroneves said. "Last week Chevy gave me a great engine, not only on Horsepower but also on the fuel mileage as well, and we are counting on that again this week in the No. 3 AAA Insurance Team Penske car. It’s been a great start to 2012 and I hope to continue the success this weekend.”
Will Power gave Penske its second win at the 2.38-mile Alabama road course last season after dominating the race, leading all 90 laps, from the pole.
“I was very determined last year,” Power said. “We had the best car (in 2010) and we led every single session, yet we didn’t come away with a win. But last year was mistake-free and everything went right. After what happened the first time here, last year was very satisfying.”
Team Penske was strong in offseason testing in the new Dallara DW12 at both Barber and Sebring International Raceway.
"Our car tested well there in the offseason and we should be able to capitalize on having a great car," Power said. "I’m excited to see what we can do there this year with the new Chevy engine.”
Power, who captured his 25th career pole last weekend, is a two-time pole winner at Barber.
Ryan Briscoe started his season off with a fifth-place run at St. Pete and will be looking to rebound from a disappointing 21st-place finish last year in Alabama.
"Our goal is to build on the good results that Team Penske and Chevy achieved at St. Pete," Briscoe said. "This is a good track for our team and we hope to keep 2012 going in the right direction towards a championship."
IndyCar Series teams will kick off the first of three practice sessions on Friday at 1:30 p.m. (ET) prior to Saturday’s qualifying session at 10:40 a.m.
NBC Sports Network’s coverage of Sunday’s 90-lap race will begin at 2 p.m. (ET) with the estimated green flag time at 2:45 p.m.