IRL: Indy 500: Team Penske Pit Notes 2006-05-04

Marlboro Team Penske Pit Notes - May 4, 2006 MARLBORO TEAM PENSKE PREPARES FOR THE INDIANAPOLIS 500 On May 9th, Marlboro Team Penske will begin practice for the 90th running of the Indianapolis 500-Mile Race in hopes of earning Penske Racing's...

Marlboro Team Penske Pit Notes - May 4, 2006

MARLBORO TEAM PENSKE PREPARES FOR THE INDIANAPOLIS 500

On May 9th, Marlboro Team Penske will begin practice for the 90th running of the Indianapolis 500-Mile Race in hopes of earning Penske Racing's record 14th victory at the "May Classic" on May 28th. Since 1969, Penske Racing has amassed the following records at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway:
• 72 Starts
• 19 Different Drivers
• 13 Wins
• 12 Poles
• 9 Winning Drivers
• 5 Wins From the Pole
• 31 Front Row Starts
• 1,786 Laps Led

For Marlboro Team Penske driver Helio Castroneves Memorial Day weekend represents a chance to make yet another entry in the Indy history books as he attempts to drink the milk for the third time in his career. In 2002, the Brazilian became just the fifth, and youngest, driver to win back-to-back Indy 500's and he was the only driver in the race's history to win in his first two attempts. Should he succeed, Castroneves will join the ranks of other three-time winners: Louis Meyer, Wilbur Shaw, Mauri Rose, Bobby Unser and Johnny Rutherford and will join Meyer as the youngest (31) three-time winner in the history of the Speedway. "I can't wait to get to Indy and get the month started. The Team has been working really well together this year and it shows in our results," said Castroneves. "To come to Indy leading the points is a great feeling for us and I just hope we're still leading the points when we leave at the end of the month."

Teammate Sam Hornish Jr. has yet to win the "Greatest Spectacle in Racing" in his six appearances at the Speedway. Last year Hornish Jr. led a race-high 77 laps before an accident on lap 147 ended his day. The Defiance, OH native will be looking to become Penske Racing's tenth winning driver on race day so he can add an Indy 500 win to his list of accomplishments. In addition, there's a rumor that if Hornish Jr. does in fact take the checkered flag this year it will mean so much to him that he'd put his "Baby Borg" on a chain and wear it around his neck so it's close to him at all times. "I'm thrilled to start the month of May," said Hornish Jr. "Between Helio and I, we should be very competitive at the Indianapolis 500 this season. We tested at Indy in April and the Marlboro Team Penske car was performing well and I think it will only get stronger as the month continues. I'm really looking forward to race day - it's always my favorite day of the year."

The Team enters the month of May on a wave of momentum built upon three strong performances in as many races thus far in the 2006 Indy Racing League (IRL) IndyCar® Series season. Castroneves, who is currently leading the Series point standings, has scored wins in the last two events at St. Petersburg and Japan and finished second at the season-opener in Homestead giving him a 1.3 average finishing position. Hornish Jr., who is currently third in the Championship, led the most laps in the Homestead race and has had two top-five finishes thus far. In addition, the two Marlboro Team Penske drivers have combined to lead a total of 413 out of the 500 laps run to date (83%).

HORNISH JR. IN OHIO TO SHOOT PSA

While in Ohio for his third annual pre-Indy 500 media tour in which he visits media in Toledo, Cleveland and Columbus, Sam Hornish Jr. took some time out to shoot a public service announcement for the Ohio Work Zone Safety Coalition.

Earlier this month Hornish Jr. was named spokesperson for the Ohio Work Zone Safety Coalition's 2006 safety campaign designed to reduce motor accidents in Ohio by encouraging drivers to drive slower through road construction sites. As part of this commitment Hornish Jr taped a PSA promoting safe driving in construction zones that will run across his home state of Ohio beginning this summer.

"Too many lives are lost each year because people are not slowing down when they enter a work zone," said Hornish Jr. "Traveling through construction work zones is like driving under the yellow flag, everyone needs to exercise caution. The safety of drivers and workers in highway work zones is critically important to all Ohio motorists."

SETTING UP CAMP

While the casual race observer might think it would be inconvenient to have to relocate the Penske Racing shop from their headquarters in Reading, PA to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway for the month of May that is quite the contrary as the Team has taken up the challenge of creating the ultimate garage for their stay in Indianapolis.

Known for their attention to detail, the Marlboro Team Penske garages are truly some of the most sophisticated garages in Gasoline Alley. Most observers of Speedway lore know that it was a young Roger Penske who first put tile down on the garage floors in Indianapolis in the late 60's. Since then, many other Teams have emulated Penske's garages, which give the Team added incentive to continue to improve each year.

Thanks to equipment provided by Gladiator' GarageWorks by Whirlpool Corporation, Marlboro Team Penske has a state-of-the-art facility. The entire build and installation, which began on Monday, will take three days and includes the setup of three individual work bays, drivers' dressing areas, a lounge and offices to house Team management and engineers. Gladiator GarageWorks provided the organizational systems and appliances for the facility and hh gregg assisted with installation..

Thirty-two year Penske Racing veteran Jerry Breon will organize and oversee the project for Marlboro Team Penske. Breon was one of the "over the wall" pit crew members for 18 years changing the right rear tire for five Indy winners. He more recently served as spotter for Gil de Ferran's 2003 Indy 500 victory. Once the Indy garage is complete, Jerry will turn his attention to his next big project -- relocating the most successful American open-wheel racing team to its new facility in Mooresville, NC.

The equipment provided by Gladiator consists of everything imaginable including the Gladiator -- GarageWorks GearWall' Panels, Freezerator' and Modular Workbenches. In addition, Penske Racing has added Gladiator's tile flooring this year--one of the only fire proof, UL tested garage flooring systems on the market.

-mtp-

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Helio Castroneves , Bobby Unser , Roger Penske , Sam Hornish Jr. , Johnny Rutherford
Teams Team Penske , Team Penske