Will Power is expected to be named as Helio Castroneves' replacement at Penske while the Brazilian prepares for his impending court case.
Team Penske have scheduled an official announcement for 2.30pm local time in Indianapolis today, and team president Tim Cindric confirmed to the Indianapolis Star that Power has been recruited in Castroneves' place.
"While Helio prepares for his court case, we're excited to welcome (Power) to the team. Will has already proved that he's a terrific racer," Cindric was quoted as saying by the newspaper.
Power was set to lose his KV Racing drive this season after main backer Craig Gore withdrew following the IndyCar Series' split with the Surfers Paradise race - which was Gore and Power's home event. The 27-year-old Australian has three Champ Car victories to his name, including the championship's farewell event at Long Beach last year, and made his IndyCar debut in 2008 when the two series merged.
Castroneves was indicted on tax evasion charges last autumn, and his trial is due to begin in Florida on 2 March, just over a month before the 2009 IndyCar Series commences at St Petersburg.
When Penske's efforts to change the trial date for after the season failed, this raised the possibility that Castroneves could be sidelined for part or all of the 2009 championship. It is not yet clear whether Power's deal is for the full season, or just as a stop-gap while Castroneves is unavailable.
The Brazilian, who was Scott Dixon's closest title rival last year, is one of IndyCar's most high profile drivers. He won the Indianapolis 500 in 2001 and 2002, and became a huge star in America when he triumphed in the popular Dancing with the Stars television contest in 2007.
Ryan Briscoe is already confirmed in Penske's second car, so Power's arrival would give the team an all-Australian line-up. Justin Wilson and Ryan Hunter-Reay - who are also on the market as their 2008 teams struggle for sponsorship in the present economic climate - were the other main candidates to replace Castroneves.