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Penske looking for sponsorship for 3rd car

TALLADEGA, Ala. (AP) - If Penske Racing fields three IndyCars next season, the team owner hopes Ryan Briscoe will fill the third seat.

Roger Penske told The Associated Press on Sunday his priority is securing sponsorship for a third IndyCar entry. Options have already been picked up for Will Power and Helio Castroneves.

``Right now we are just trying to get a third car lined up. We've got commitment with Helio for another year and obviously with Will, so it's a matter of sponsorship,'' Penske said. ``I am either going to have one or I am not, and I don't know at this point.''

Should a third car develop, would Briscoe be in the seat?

``I sure hope so,'' Penske said.

Briscoe has spent the last five seasons driving for Penske. He's won seven races and finished a career-best third in points in 2009. He had one victory this past season, at Sonoma, and was sixth in the championship race.

Penske went into Sunday's NASCAR race at Talladega Superspeedway with driver Brad Keselowski leading the championship race. Keselowski won a second-tier Nationwide title for Penske, but the organization has never won an elite Sprint Cup title.

With six more races in the Chase for the Sprint Cup championship after Sunday, Penske was too cautious to predict where Keselowski might end up. But he made it clear what a title would mean to the 75-year-old owner.

``If I could win a NASCAR championship at this stage of my racing career, I'd say that would be the highest mountain I've ever climbed,'' he said.

Penske fell short of winning the IndyCar championship this year when Power crashed out of the season finale. But Penske said he was touched Sunday by NASCAR drivers approaching the owner to offer words of support about Power.

``It was unfortunate and a very disappointing night for me, and obviously for the team,'' Penske said. ``But Will is a very good driver and I talked to Juan (Pablo Montoya) today and he said, `Boy, that's tough,' and then Jimmie Johnson came to me and said, `Geez, how's Will feeling?'

``So these drivers who know him and know what it's like to be there and not get to the top, they understand and they understand it's tough. But Will is a great guy, and he'll be a leader for us going forward and we just have to move on.''

Copyright 2017 by STATS LLC and Associated Press.
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