WATKINS GLEN, N.Y. (July 4, 2010) - Team Penske ended its dry spell at Watkins Glen International in a big way on Sunday producing a 1-2 finish in the Camping World Grand Prix at The Glen.
Will Power won while Ryan Briscoe finished second and Helio Castroneves ninth as Team Penske ended a five-year run in which the team had won the pole position but hadn't won the race at the historic road course. Power's victory in the No. 12 Verizon Team Penske Dallara/Honda also added to his lead in the IZOD IndyCar Series championship standings. Power now holds a 327-295 edge over Dario Franchitti, who finished third on Sunday.
"I wanted it really bad; I really wanted to win," said Power, whose pole position Saturday extended Team Penske's streak of poles at Watkins Glen to six and pushed the team's overall run to a series record eight consecutive poles. "I can't stand it when you're the quickest in qualifying and then you have a bad race. Honestly, it was the first race that I pushed on every single lap. Never once that I didn't push."
Power, who led three times for a race-high 45 laps, lost the lead briefly to Briscoe, who came out ahead of his teammate on the final pit stop of the race. Power, however, regained the lead heading into Watkins Glen's bus-stop chicane with 17 laps remaining in the 60-lap race. From there, he ran as fast as possible while trying to conserve fuel.
"We have to get the fuel number the whole race, so I had to push really hard while saving fuel," explained Power. "I had to get the lap time while saving fuel. It was just a difficult race, but it was great. I loved it."
Briscoe passed Franchitti on the final lap to earn a second-place finish. It marked the second consecutive season that Briscoe has produced a runner-up result at Watkins Glen. It also represented the third podium finish in four starts at The Glen for Briscoe. The result allowed him to jump to fourth in the IndyCar Series standings.
"Will was strong," said Briscoe. "We had a lot more downforce in the car. I was just a parachute going down the back straightaway. Both of these guys (Power and Franchitti) just came from nowhere and drove around me. It was a little bit frustrating, but with the downforce I was able to look after my red tires a bit more than Dario. He was hanging on for dear life at the end and thankfully his went off about a lap sooner than mine did, so I was able to get him. It's a great way to bring home a Penske 1-2."
While things worked out well for Power and Briscoe, the race didn't develop the way Castroneves would have liked. After starting second, Castroneves suffered a flat left rear tire when he battled with Scott Dixon while racing for fourth place on the fourth lap of the race. Castroneves was able to work his way back into the top-10, but he lost ground in the championship standings and is now ranked fifth as he trails Briscoe by just seven points.
"I think I proved I was the fastest car on three wheels out there! Unfortunately, we had the flat tire - I think it was a little impatience by the No. 9 car," said Castroneves. "He had a fast straight line car and probably could have made the pass without causing that contact, but we were both able to recover and finish in the top-10. It was a great job by Team Penske today with a 1-2 finish and congratulations to Will and the Verizon team for getting the win and finally breaking through for Team Penske at Watkins Glen."
The victory was Power's third of the season and Team Penske's fifth in nine IndyCar races in 2010. It was also Team Penske's record 40th victory in IZOD IndyCar Series competition and it marked the team's first 1-2 finish of the season and the 32nd time that the team has finished 1-2 in its open-wheel racing history.
The season resumes July 16-18 with the Honda Indy Toronto street race in downtown Toronto, Ontario, Canada.