Penske gives Power IndyCar ride

BY foxsports • December 15, 2009

Penske Racing hired Will Power of Australia to drive full-time next year after giving the Indy Racing League driver a part-time gig last season.

Power will drive for a team that features countryman Ryan Briscoe and three-time Indianapolis 500 winner Helio Castroneves of Brazil.

"It is a dream come true," Power told reporters on Thursday after Penske made the announcement. "It's something I've worked very hard for my whole career, to end up in a place like this."

Penske said the move was a key element of a multiyear deal with Verizon Wireless that began this year. Power's deal was only for the 2010 season, and additional years haven't been discussed.

Power drove for Penske last season while Castroneves dealt with U.S. tax issues. After Castroneves returned, Power stayed on temporarily and finished fifth at the Indianapolis 500. Penske eventually brought him back, and Power finished third at Toronto and won at Edmonton.

"The results speak for themselves," Penske Racing president Tim Cindric said. "We're excited to be able to give him the opportunity to come on full-time because he's done an excellent job in a very difficult situation."

A crash on Aug. 22 in Sonoma, California ended Power's season. He broke four bones in his back, had a concussion and chipped his left front tooth in a collision.

Power said he's on pace to recover in time for next season.

"I'm feeling really good," he said. "Everything's going well. It's actually ahead of schedule, the way my back healed. I don't think there's going to be any problem getting back in the car in January."

Penske felt it couldn't afford to take a chance on Power going elsewhere.

"With the results he had last season, there was probably going to be more people knocking on his door if they found out he was available," Cindric said.

Power said he wanted to stay all along because of Penske's quality.

"Every time I was in a car, it was a good car," he said. "There's no use running around in the back of the field in a team that's not up to the job. You don't do yourself any favors."

Now, instead of hunting for a ride, Power wais talking about winning a championship.

"That's what I'm aiming for," he said. "I want to be running at the front all year, and I'll really want to be one of the contenders. I'll be doing my absolute best."

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