Some old things are returning to the fold for Team Penske's 2012 IndyCar program – first, a shift to Chevrolet engines, and now, a number change from 6 to 2 for Ryan Briscoe in the team's third entry.
Briscoe, who's run 6 since his Penske tenure started in 2008 (and was also 6 in the American Le Mans Series' Porsche RS Spyder in 2007), will now wear the No. 2 from 2012. Without much fanfare, Briscoe's Twitter handle mysteriously changed from @RyanBriscoe6 to @Ryan_Briscoe, and the number change now seems to provide an answer to that decision.
"We are making the switch to the No. 2 for 2012 because our organization has considerable history and tradition with that number and we felt this was the right time to make the change," Roger Penske said.
Penske last ran Nos. 2 and 3 in 2000, when Gil de Ferran captured his first CART championship, Penske's 100th career open-wheel win at Nazareth, and set a national speed record at 241.428mph at California Speedway qualifying. Since the team shifted from CART to IndyCar (then the IRL) in 2002, Penske has run Nos. 3 and 6, adding the 12 once Power joined on a part-time basis in 2009 and full-time in 2010.
Penske Racing has 142 starts in the No. 2 entry among five different drivers in its open-wheel racing history. The 2012 sponsor lineup for the No. 2 Team Penske car should be announced in the coming weeks.
The No. 2 itself has been a valuable commodity to IndyCar Series teams in recent years. Newman/Haas Racing got it back for 2011 with Oriol Servia after Dragon Racing's two-year run with the “deuce” ended at the end of 2010. With Newman/Haas not answering the bell in IndyCar for 2012, the No. 2 was once again available.
Also announced was Briscoe's engineer change with Eric Cowdin out and Jonathan Diuguid taking over. Diuguid has been with Penske Racing since 2005 when he joined the organization as a member of Penske's sports car teams. He has served as a data acquisition engineer, a design engineer and race engineer in the team's ALMS Porsche and Grand-Am Daytona Prototype programs. Most recently, he worked as a data acquisition engineer for Briscoe for the past two IZOD IndyCar Series seasons.
"We always like to promote from within our organization and Jonathan has done a terrific job for us and he is ready to take over as Ryan's race engineer," said Roger Penske. "Jonathan and I have worked together for several years now and I look forward to winning more races together in his new role on the No. 2 team beginning next season.
"I want to thank Roger and Tim (Cindric) for giving me this opportunity and for having confidence in me to perform in this new role," said Diuguid. "I came to Penske straight out of college when I worked with Ryan on the No. 6 Penske Porsche in the ALMS program. We've enjoyed success in sports cars and in IndyCar. Over the years, Ryan and I have formed a strong working relationship and I look forward to using that bond to produce results on track with the strong No. 2 Team Penske crew in 2012."