Team Penske Turns First Laps of 2011 at Barber Test

2011 Indy Car

LEEDS, Ala. (March 1, 2011) – Team Penske took to the track at Barber Motorsports Park for the first laps of the 2011 IZOD INDYCAR Series season on Tuesday. Drivers Helio Castroneves, Ryan Briscoe and Will Power all spent considerable time on the track getting re-acquainted with their cars, engineers and crews.

For the drivers it was a welcome opportunity to get back in the cockpit and on to the track. For the engineers it was a chance to try a few of the ideas they were working on in the off-season and for the mechanics it was an opportunity to get back into the flow of a day at the race track.

The day was smooth and productive for all three crews and drivers. There were no official timed laps, but all of the teams were pleased with the work they accomplished.

“It felt great to be back in the car,” said Helio Castroneves. “Today was mostly about getting back in to a groove and finding our rhythm. We spent the first part of the day just getting comfortable and then in the afternoon we were actually able to test a few things out on the track. Overall, it was a very productive day and I certainly look forward to coming back for the open test in a couple of weeks.”

“I was happy to be back in an IndyCar, it has been a long time away from the car for all of us,” said Ryan Briscoe. “We spent the morning just kind of knocking the rust off. This afternoon we were able to get into our test program and it was a productive afternoon. We are already looking ahead to the open test and we are excited to get the season underway.”

“We had a great day on track, it felt like I had not been out the car at all and was almost surprised at how I immediately felt comfortable,” said Will Power. “I can’t wait to come back for the open test and then get down to business in what is sure to be one of the most competitive seasons in IndyCar history.”

Team Penske will next take the track at the open test March 14 -15 at Barber Motorsports Park.


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Guidepoint Systems to Sponsor Team Penske IndyCars


MOORESVILLE, N.C. (February 2, 2011) – Penske Racing announced today that Guidepoint Systems has joined Team Penske beginning with the 2011 IZOD IndyCar Series season. Guidepoint Systems, an industry-leading vehicle tracking service, will serve as both a primary and associate sponsor of the team’s No. 3 and No. 6 IndyCar entries.

Guidepoint will sponsor the No. 3 Guidepoint Systems Dallara/Honda driven by three-time Indianapolis 500 champion Helio Castroneves at five races this season and Ryan Briscoe in the No. 6 Guidepoint Systems machine at two events in 2011.

Based in Madison Heights, Mich., Guidepoint Systems deliver a variety of services to vehicle owners and fleet managers. GuidePoint is available through more than 2,500 new and pre-owned dealerships, including Penske Automotive Group dealerships, nationwide.

“We look forward to building this relationship with Guidepoint Systems and we are excited to welcome another new sponsor to the IZOD IndyCar Series,” said Roger Penske. “Guidepoint is a key partner for us in our automotive business and we will continue to grow with them both on and off the race track with Team Penske.”

In addition to serving as a primary sponsor for select events this season, Guidepoint Systems will also be a full-season associate sponsor on the No. 3 Team Penske IndyCar under the terms of the multi-year agreement with Penske Racing.

“It is a great opportunity to partner with Penske Racing to showcase the safety, security, convenience and pin-point accuracy of Guidepoint Systems location-based services,” said Rand Mueller, founder and CEO of Guidepoint. “Team Penske is a proven winner and we look forward to working with Helio, Ryan and the entire team beginning this season.”
Guidepoint is a complete system that integrates global positioning satellites (GPS), advanced wireless technology, the Internet and 24/7/365 response centers to provide stolen vehicle recovery, driver safety & convenience, vehicle tracking and fleet management services.

Sold through more than 2,500 new and pre-owned dealerships nationwide, Guidepoint integrates GPS, advanced wireless technology, the Web and 24/7/365 response centers to deliver a variety of services to vehicle owners and fleet managers. Rated the No. 1 stolen-vehicle tracking solution in 2007 by international research firm Frost & Sullivan, Guidepoint also offers a variety of driver safety, convenience, fleet management and vehicle tracking services. Visit or call 1-877-GPS-FIND.
Penske Racing is one of the most successful teams in the history of professional sports. Competing in a variety of disciplines, cars owned and prepared by Penske Racing have produced 332 major race wins, 396 pole positions and 23 National Championships. The team has also earned 15 Indianapolis 500 victories. For more information about Penske Racing, please visit


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IndyCar seeks to change image with new rules, marketing shift


INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Randy Bernard is giving the IndyCar Series a distinctlyNASCAR flavor.

Next season, oval races will include double-file restarts. He’s bringing back a race once thought to have been lost, and he’s even hired away a former NASCAR executive to help the series make inroads in Hollywood.

It’s all part of a new strategy as the series celebrates the centennial anniversary of the Indianapolis 500.

“I’m not afraid to steal an idea,” Bernard said before speaking at Tuesday’s State of IndyCar meeting. “It if works, great.”

The idea for the double-file restarts was proposed by the series’ most successful team owners, Roger Penske and Chip Ganassi, both of whom have seen it work on the Cup circuit.

But the rule may be modified for the more sensitive IndyCars.

Double-file restarts will not be used on road or street courses because of limited passing zones and officials are still debating whether to move lapped cars to the back of the field — which some drivers prefer.

The debut could come at the trickiest track on the circuit, Indianapolis, something three-time race winner Helio Castroneves and other drivers are lining up against.

“Right now, all the drivers are together and we have a different opinion about it,” he said. “But I’ve got to give them credit because they are trying to change things.”

Marco Andretti worries that putting two lines of traffic on the ovals could force cars in the outside lane into the “marbles,” making the racing more dangerous.

The bigger question is will it make races more interesting, or just more dangerous?

Brian Barnhart, the series’ president of operations and competition, is sure the drivers are capable of pulling it off at “this level of racing,” but Danica Patrick isn’t sure the IndyCar Series will get the same results they’ve had on the Cup circuit.

“We accelerate differently and you can’t just bump other cars to get up in front, so it will be different,” said Patrick, the most recognizable IndyCar driver and a veteran of both circuits. “Look, I’m all for change and if it doesn’t work, I have no doubt they’ll take it out.”

GALLERY: Danica Patrick’s career in photos

That change is only one part of the strategic plan.

Before the meeting, Bernard announced the league was officially ditching the Indy Racing League name, in favor of IndyCars, and was opening a new office near Los Angeles in an effort to bring on more celebrities. Sarah Nettinga, who worked in a similar capacity at NASCAR, will manage the office in Santa Monica as senior vice president of media and entertainment.

SCHEDULE: List of races for 2011

It didn’t take long for Hollywood style to meet Indianapolis.

As the annual meeting began, lights were dimmed, music was turned up and drivers walked in through fog.Bruce Springstein’s “Born in the USA” blared when the first of seven American drivers took the stage. Scotland’sDario Franchitti, the reigning IndyCar and Indy 500 champ, paraded through the hotel ballroom with the Gordon Pipers — a local bagpipe group that is as traditional at the Indy 500 as the starting command.

But Bernard wants more than just a new image.

• Drivers now will have to go faster to start a race, qualifying at 105% of the fastest lap time. Previously, it had been 107%. The move is designed to keep drivers from going too slow and causing race day problems.

• Pit selections now will be based on qualifying performance at a previous race rather than entrants points. But the results will come from the previous event on a similar venue, or road course to road course and oval to oval.

• Drivers will have to use the same tires during a qualifying segment on road courses. They can switch between segments, just not during them.

• Children as young as 9 years old now can purchase tickets to go into the garage area of all races except Texas.

• At Indianapolis, children 12 and under will be admitted free when an adult buys a general admission ticket to the race.

• And Bernard said he will consider looking at ways to set new track records, if the series can keep it safe for drivers.

“The fan is the most important thing we have,” Bernard said. “You can take the best entertainers in the world and the one who is reaching out to the most fans will be their favorite. So we need to make sure our fans have a compelling entertainment.”

Two new slogans for this season also were unveiled Tuesday.

The series will use Real Drivers, Real Racecars, Real Fast. The Indy 500 is being dubbed “the most important race in history.”

Whatever Bernard is doing, it is attracting new sponsors.

Over the last 12 months, IndyCars has signed 15 new partners. That includes Starwood Hotels and Resorts, which announced Tuesday it has reached a new three-year deal to become the series’ official hotel.

And after saying in November that the series would not run in Edmonton this season because it couldn’t get necessary upgrades, the race is now back on schedule for July 24.

Edmonton city spokesman Robert Moyles said the issue was resolved under an arrangement to cover the extra cost through about $2 million in parking revenue in the area and $1 million from the local business community.

All of it, Bernard insists, bodes well for the future of the sport.

“I feel a tremendous amount of progress and momentum right now,” he said. “I think we’re better today than we were March 1st, so we’ve got to continue to make it happen.”

Copyright 2010 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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