The cast: Drivers – Helio Castroneves, Will Power, AJ Allmendinger. Chief engineers – Jonathan Diuguid (Castroneves), David Faustino (Power), Ron Ruzewski (Allmendinger).
Twitter: @h3lio, @12WillPower, @AJDinger, @penskeracing
The cars: No. 3 Chevrolet power with multiple primary sponsors (Castroneves), No. 12 Chevrolet-powered Verizon Team Penske (Power), No 2 Chevrolet-powered IZOD (Allmendinger).
Season finish: Castroneves was second in the standings (-27 points to Scott Dixon). Power, who was the series’ championship runner-up in 2010, ’11 and ’12, wound up fourth.
The stats: Castroneves won at Texas Motor Speedway and recorded 16 top-10 finishes overall, including 12 in a row, in challenging for the IZOD IndyCar Series title through the final race. … Entering the Houston doubleheader, Castroneves was the only driver to complete every lap. He wound up second (2,385 of 2,433) to Charlie Kimball. Castroneves has been running at the finish in the past 31 races. "As a complete driver, this year I'm much better," he said. … Power won three races, including the final two of the season -- on the Houston street circuit and the 2-mile Auto Club Speedway oval. He topped the field with 15 races led (of the 19) and was first in laps led (351) by a wide margin. … Power, with three Verizon P1 Awards, qualified in the top three in 13 races. He’s started in the top 10 in the past 14 races. … Allmendinger competed in six races, with a best finish of seventh (after starting fifth) in his first Indianapolis 500 Mile Race.
The gist: Castroneves (runner-up finish at St. Petersburg opener, third place at Barber) and Power (pole at St. Pete, fifth-place finish at Barber) had strong starts to the season as Team Penske attempted to capitalize on data gleaned from the 2012 first year of the Dallara-Chevy package and offseason testing. Castroneves continued on a solid results path, holding the outright lead in the standings from his victory at Texas in early June through Race 1 at Houston in early October. Power had 10 races in which he finished outside the top 10, but charged into the top five of the standings by winning three of the final five races.
Mechanical issues in both races of the Houston weekend greatly impacted Castroneves’ opportunity to secure his first series title. Both drivers return to Team Penske in 2014 in another attempt to claim the team’s first series championship since 2006 with Sam Hornish Jr. Castroneves also will seek to become the fourth four-time winner of the Indianapolis 500 Mile Race, while Power aims for his first 500 Mile Race win. They’ll be joined for the 18-race season by Juan Pablo Montoya.
He said it: Penske Racing president Tim Cindric's comments:
"It was a lot of fun to watch Helio battle for the championship this year. He drove his heart out at Fontana and it was unfortunate that the 83 car took his wing off as I don’t think anyone would’ve kept him from winning. He is a great example of a 'team player' and I was really hoping we could make the championship a reality for him. In the end, I guess it is fair to say that we need to have more than one win to expect to win the championship with the level of competition that exists today in the IndyCar Series."
"Will’s late-season charge in the points proved that he still has what it takes to win a championship. We simply have to get it right throughout the year. Despite not winning the championship, we took a lot of satisfaction from being able to win Fontana while qualifying 1-2-3. Winning Fontana gave Will the confidence he needed to know that he can be successful on the ovals as well as the street and road courses."