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100th Indianapolis 500 team preview: Team Penske

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MotorSportsTalk looks through the Verizon IndyCar Series grid ahead of the 100th Indianapolis 500 presented by PennGrade Motor Oil. First up, Team Penske.

There is no greater race, no more important race for Team Penske than the Indianapolis 500. And as the team celebrates its 50th anniversary season with the 100th ‘500 a centerpiece of the campaign, nothing less than the team’s 17th Indianapolis victory will suffice.

ENTRIES 

Juan Pablo Montoya-W, No. 2 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet
Helio Castroneves-W, No. 3 Pennzoil Team Penske Chevrolet
Will Power, No. 12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet
Simon Pagenaud, No. 22 Menards Team Penske Chevrolet 

2016 SEASON SO FAR

Heading into May, the team has three wins from four races – thus matching its entire 2015 win total – and Simon Pagenaud is riding the wave of his IndyCar career to this point with back-to-back wins and a 48-point lead in the championship. He’ll be leading the points into the ‘500 regardless of what happens in the Angie’s List Grand Prix of Indianapolis, even if he scores minimum points.

Elsewhere Juan Pablo Montoya has been nearly as good with the St. Petersburg win, while Helio Castroneves has been good if not great to this point and Will Power doing a fair job of playing catch up after missing the season opener. 

INDY OUTLOOK

It’s hard to bet against any of the four drivers, particularly now that Pagenaud has a wave of momentum entering the event. And keeping in mind Pagenaud probably had the strongest car of the four last year, he’ll be buoyed by his performance.

Castroneves ticks the highest national story line boxes if he were to finally win his fourth – he’s not gone more than seven years in-between Indy wins (2001, 2002, 2009) – while Montoya looks to further etch his place in history, and Power looks to beat Pagenaud to his first Indy triumph.

RECENT RESULTS 

  • 2015: 1. 2-Montoya (15), 2. 1-Power (2), 7. 3-Castroneves (5), 10. 22-Pagenaud (3)
  • 2014: 2. 3-Castroneves (4), 5. 2-Montoya (10), 8. 12-Power (3)
  • 2013: 6. 3-Castroneves (8), 7. 2-Allmendinger (5), 19. 12-Power (6)
  • 2012: 5. 2-Briscoe (1), 10. 3-Castroneves (6), 28. 12-Power (5)

MotoGP points leader Fabio Quartararo scores third win of season

MotoGP Fabio Quartararo
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Fabio Quartararo won the Catalan Grand Prix, recapturing the MotoGP points lead and his championship momentum Sunday with his third victory of the season.

Quartararo, who opened the season with his first two career victories in the premier series, took his first checkered flag in two months by winning at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya aboard his Petronas Yamaha SRT.

The French rider opened an eight-point lead (108-100) over Joan Mir, who finished second Sunday. Alex Rins was third.

After winning the previous race, Maverick Vinales slipped to 18 points behind Quartararo after a ninth-place finish.

Andrea Dovizioso was the points leader entering the race but crashed his Ducati in the second turn and placed last. Dovizioso fell three spots to fourth in the championship rankings, 24 points behind Fabio Quartararo in MotoGP.