In a press conference Tuesday, January 13, Tim Cindric, president of Penske Racing, announced that racecar driver Helio Castroneves will be replaced in the #3 Penske Indy Car by Aussie driver Will Power. Castroneves is awaiting his tax evasion trial, scheduled to begin March 2, 2009.
According to Cindric, Power "will be stepping into the number three car for at least the first part of the 2009 testing while Helio's court case is being settled."
Cindric stated, "We have three drivers for 2009," referring to Power, fellow Aussie driver Ryan Briscoe, and Castroneves. As to who will actually drive the cars once the racing season begins on April 5 in St. Petersburg, Cindric said, "We'll sort those things out. If Helio's ready to go at St. Pete and he's in a situation where he's ready to go for the rest of the year, the 3 car is here. If he's ready to go in St. Pete, then he's still our guy."
Castroneves is accused of failing to pay income taxes on $5,550,000 on fees he earned as a racecar driver and for the use of his name in endorsements. Castroneves's sister Katiucia and his attorney Alan Miller are also facing related charges.