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Penske in Sao Paulo looking to stay perfect

Thursday - 4/26/2012, 5:20pm  ET

By TALES AZZONI
AP Sports Writer

SAO PAULO (AP) - Few things have gone wrong for Team Penske in this year's IndyCar Series, and that run could continue at the Sao Paulo 300 on Sunday.

Penske drivers have won every pole position and every race so far this season, and the team's successful record on the streets of South America's biggest city means it's in position to keep its good fortune going.

Will Power of Australia has won two races in Brazil and will be a favorite again this weekend. Helio Castroneves will get a boost from his home fans in Sao Paulo, and Australian Ryan Briscoe is coming off a first-place start and a solid race in Long Beach.

The three drivers will be trying to give Team Penske four wins in a row to start the season for the first time, dating to the introduction of CART in 1979. Penske also won the first three races of the year in 2010.

Castroneves won this year's season-opening race in St. Petersburg, and Power won in Alabama and Long Beach. Power also won the pole in St. Petersburg, while Castroneves started from the front in Alabama and Briscoe was the pole winner in Long Beach.

"The team has certainly been doing a phenomenal job," three-time Indy 500 winner Castroneves said. "I'm really excited to start the season the way we started."

Power and Castroneves are leading the drivers' standings heading into the race in Brazil, with Briscoe seventh. Power has 127 points, Castroneves 103 and Briscoe 73 points.

Power has been the most dominant of the three Penske drivers so far, and he credits the team's early success to its tireless work with the new Dallara chassis introduced at the beginning of the year.

"I think it's just that (the team has) been probably one of the best prepared with the new car, we did a lot of miles," he said. "To me it was hard work. I think whenever you're winning, the whole team feels very good. I think the team mood should be good because if it's not good now, it never will be."

Power had the pole position and the fastest lap in St. Petersburg, but finished seventh after pitting early and getting out of sequence in relation to most of the field.

He charged from a ninth-place start to victory in Alabama, and from 12th to first in Long Beach. He started back in the grid because Penske was one of the teams that had drivers penalized 10 positions because Chevy decided to change engines as a precaution following potential problems discovered in testing.

Last year, he won from the pole position in Sao Paulo in a race postponed for a day because of heavy rain. He won the inaugural Sao Paulo 300 in 2010, passing Ryan Hunter-Reay with three laps to go to win the rain-shortened race for his second career victory at the time.

"The Sao Paulo track is one of the best in the calendar, without a doubt," Power said. "There are two long straights which allow drivers to take some risks in overtaking."

Power has won seven of the past 11 IndyCar races on road and street courses. Penske has been thriving in such tracks, winning six of the past seven races. Castroneves, Briscoe and Power all have road and street course victories in the past three seasons and the team won 30 poles and 20 wins in such circuits since 2007.

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