Helio Holds First Shot at Securing 2009 Drive with Penske

Team Penske's owner Tim Cindric has been more than specific regarding Will Power's role with his team throughout the 2009 IndyCar season. While appointing the Australian as replacement for the tax-evasion-charged Helio Castroneves, Cindric revealed that the Brazilian driver can have his No 3 car back anytime he wants as long as he's up to the job.

“It's pretty simple: If Helio is ready to go at St. Pete, he's in a situation where he's ready to go for the rest of the year, the 3 car is his. He's going to stay focused on what he's doing until he's done doing all that,” said Cindric in an interview for

However, should Helio's problems with the law fail to settle by the season opener in St. Petersburg, Cidric will revise his 2009 programme and will decide who will get the 2009 drive depending on Power's situation in the overall classification. Consequently, if Helio is to be retained one or two months into the season, he might have to settle for a third drive with Penske.

“Once he gives me the call and says, 'Hey, here's the story,' then we're going to do everything we can to get him back in the race car, provided it's before St. Pete. At that point in time we just have to sit and see where are we in the season, what's the situation, what's going on. We'll be a lot smarter at that point in time than really making comments now that three or four months from now may or may not make sense,” added Cindric.

As for Power, the Australian who scored his maiden win in the unified IndyCar Series last year – at the ChampCar-sanctioned event in Long Beach – admitted his position within the Penske outfit is not very stable but insists he can only get stronger after the 2009 season, whatever situation might appear.

“To drive for Penske, it's a real honor. When you come to the U.S. and race open-wheel, it's the sort of team you want to sign up for. When I was given this offer, I didn't give it much thought. I really wanted to go. Honestly, I didn't have anything solid at the time anyway. I just thought it was the best direction for me. I can learn a lot in this team. These guys have got a lot of experience. I think no matter what happens I'll come out of it a better driver,” admitted Power.
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