Our friends over at trackside online took this image of a Penske #12 hauler painted up with Verizon logos this morning at Long Beach. Two weeks ago during the St. Petersburg weekend Roger Penske and Tim Cindric both made comments to the effect that Helio would have a car waiting for him as soon as his trial was over, and by implication it would be a third car for Penske. So presumably, the hauler contains all the necessary trappings for a third Penske entry.
This seems to go against a purported clause in Roger’s contract with Phillip Morris that only allows Penske to run two cars, no more, no less. However, a few weeks ago, Roger secured the rights to the #12 from Luczo Dragon Racing (his son’s team). Further, there are reports that Verizon will be playing a larger role in Penske’s sponsorship going forward, since Phillip Morris will most likely be going to the wayside in the near future. Also, Verizon has been kept out of sponsoring NASCAR due to Sprint’s involvement so they are looking for other motorsport sponsorship avenues.
It looks like Roger is making true on his statements to provide Helio a seat if he has a favorable result in his tax trial. Now we look to Florida and hope for Helio to be found innocent this afternoon in time for him to hit practice and qualifications tomorrow.