IRL: Pikes Peak: Toyota preview

ROCKY MOUNTAIN HIGH -- While Toyota will race in its third Pikes Peak Indy 225 this weekend, the manufacturer has competed in Colorado for more than a decade at three different racing venues -- walking away victorious in each. Toyota's first ...

ROCKY MOUNTAIN HIGH -- While Toyota will race in its third Pikes Peak Indy 225 this weekend, the manufacturer has competed in Colorado for more than a decade at three different racing venues -- walking away victorious in each.

Toyota's first excursion in the Rocky Mountains came in 1994 when Rod Millen drove a specially-prepared Toyota Celica to the all-time Pikes Peak Hill Climb record as he secured the first of five Unlimited Class championships.

In 2002, Bruno Junqueira led Scott Dixon and Cristiano da Matta in a one-two-three Toyota sweep at the Denver CART street race. Toyota rounded out its triumvirate of victories when Scott Dixon dominated at Pikes Peak in 2003, Toyota's first season of IRL competition.

TOYOTA DRIVERS CLIMB THE PEAK -- All six Toyota-powered drivers that have previously competed at Pikes Peak have registered top-10 finishes on the one-mile tri-oval.

Scott Dixon (Target Toyota) won the 2003 event, while Castroneves registered a second-place finish in 2002 as part of Marlboro Team Penske one-two showing with then-teammate Gil de Ferran.

Sam Hornish Jr. (Penske Toyota) placed second in 2001, one of three top-five finishes for the Defiance, Ohio-native at Pikes Peak.

Alex Barron (Red Bull Toyota) notched a pair of top-10 finishes with a 10th in 2002 and 2004. Jimmy Kite (Ethanol Toyota) placed ninth in 1997, while Jaques Lazier was 10th in 1997.

SHORT-TRACKING -- Penske drivers Sam Hornish Jr. and Helio Castroneves have excelled on the short ovals in IRL competition -- winning each of the three races this season run on tracks of a mile or less. Hornish Jr. won at Phoenix and Milwaukee, while Castroneves was victorious at Richmond.

In their six collective starts, they have started from the pole twice, second twice, third once and sixth once. Another factor that should bode well this weekend is the team's previous success at Pikes Peak, winning the race in 2002 and finishing third in 2003.

SHORT-TRACKING PART TWO --Penske Racing isn't the only Toyota-powered entry to have success on the short tracks this season as Red Bull Cheever Racing has excelled on the short ovals as well. Patrick Carpentier has registered a pair of top-three podium finishes with thirds at Richmond and Nashville and a seventh at Milwaukee. In addition, Alex Barron, coming off a season-best fourth at Kentucky last week, placed sixth at Richmond and was running in the top-three late at Nashville.

Both Patrick Carpentier and Ryan Briscoe (Target Pioneer Toyota) will make their debut run on the Pikes Peak track this weekend.

POINTS CHASE - Three Toyota-powered drivers continue to rank in the top-10 in the IRL IndyCar Series point standings. Sam Hornish Jr. extended his advantage and maintains second-place, while teammate Helio Castroneves remains in sixth-place. Red Bull driver Patrick Carpentier continues to sit in 10th.

-toyota-

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Helio Castroneves , Gil de Ferran , Bruno Junqueira , Jimmy Kite , Patrick Carpentier , Scott Dixon , Alex Barron , Ryan Briscoe , Sam Hornish Jr. , Cristiano da Matta , Jaques Lazier
Teams Team Penske , Team Penske