Will Power currently has the best shot at winning an IndyCar Series title for Roger Penske this season, but he's 20 points behind Target Chip Ganassi Racing's Dario Franchitti. To boost Powers chances of catching Franchitti, Penske is moving race strategist Tim Cindric (LEFT, with Roger Penske) to the No. 12 Verizon Team Penske car for the Honda Indy Toronto race weekend.
Cindric had been Helio Castroneves' strategist since 2000, but Power is in the championship hunt, and Castroneves is nowhere close.
Power, who has earned four PEAK Performance Pole Awards this season (all on the road/street courses) and won three races – including his first oval in the second half of the Texas Motor Speedway doubleheader – is trailing Franchitti by a slim 20 points. Their 2010 championship duel went to the season finale, with Franchitti prevailing by a hair .
Power and Franchitti entered the Iowa Corn Indy 250 presented by Pioneer on June 25 tied for the lead. Franchitti finished fifth while Power suffered his first DNF of the season when the No. 12 car made hard contact with the Turn 2 SAFER Barrier on Lap 90. He was credited with 21st place.
John Erickson, who worked with Power in the past and has been the team's shop-based general manager, will be Castroneves' race strategist, replacing Clive Howell, who will focus on his general manager duties and join Cindric on pit lane working with Power.
Penske will continue to be the race strategist for the No. 6 PPG Automotove Refinish Team Penske car driven by Ryan Briscoe.
Castroneves was second quick in the initial practice session (1m1.632 s – 0.0640 of a second behind Franchitti) on the 1.755-mile, 11-turn circuit. Power was fifth quick (1:01.7192). Power won on the Exhibition Place circuit in 2010, and has two victories and top-10 finishes in his four starts. He'll be seeking his eighth consecutive pole start on a road/street course.