Penske Racing today confirmed the widely anticipated news that Will Power will compete for the team on a full-time basis in the 2010 IZOD IndyCar Series. The Australian will drive the No. 12 Dallara-Honda with backing from Verizon Wireless, which sponsored him at the Indy 500 and at Long Beach this year. Verizon backed Penske's Grand-Am Rolex Series squad this year, but that team is being shut down for 2010 and its personnel transferred to Power's Indy car program. Verizon will also be involved in Penske's NASCAR team with Brad Keselowski and Justin Allgaier.
Power's entry will expand Penske's lineup to three cars, with Helio Castroneves and Ryan Briscoe set to remain in Team Penske cars.
Power joined Penske Racing last season, filling in for Castroneves during preseason testing and at the season-opening race in St. Petersburg when the Brazilian was sidelined by tax-evasion charges. After his acquittal, Castroneves returned to the team and Power competed in the No. 12 Verizon car, winning the pole position and finishing second at Long Beach and going on to finish fifth at Indianapolis.
Power went on to win his first race for the team at Edmonton and produced a win, two poles and four top-five and six top-10 finishes in six races. He suffered a season-ending back injury during a practice session at Infineon Raceway on Aug. 22. Power continues to recover from his injuries well ahead of schedule and he is expected to be ready to participate in 2010 preseason testing with the team.
"Will did a terrific job for Penske Racing this past season and we are excited that he will be able to drive full time with the team in 2010 in the Verizon Wireless car," said Roger Penske. "Will proved that he could consistently compete for wins and poles in 2009, despite his limited time on track. We believe he can be a legitimate championship contender next season for our team, along with Helio and Ryan. I want to thank Verizon Wireless for their continued support of our racing programs."
Power, a 28-year-old native of Toowoomba, Australia, established himself as one of open-wheel racing's most talented drivers before he joined Penske Racing last season. Power excelled in European competition as he produced strong performances in the British F3 and World Series by Renault championships before he moved to the United States in 2005 to compete in the Champ Car World Series. He captured that series' Rookie of the Year honors in 2006 and claimed three wins and six pole positions in two-plus seasons in Champ Car. In 2008, Power won on the streets of Long Beach in Champ Car's final race and, after he joined the IndyCar Series, he earned his first series pole in front of his home crowd at Surfers Paradise, Australia.
"To be able to compete for a full season with Penske Racing is really a dream come true for me," said Power. "Working with the team this past season was the best experience of my career and I can't wait to race for the IndyCar Series championship in 2010. I really have to thank everyone at Verizon Wireless and the Penske Racing team for this opportunity. I intend to make the most of it."