IRL: Team Penske Pit Notes 2003-05-01

Marlboro Team Penske Pit Notes May 1, 2003 Marlboro Team Penske has sights set on third consecutive Indy 500 victory. Marlboro Team Penske heads to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway (IMS) for Opening Day of the 87th running of the Indianapolis...

Marlboro Team Penske Pit Notes
May 1, 2003

Marlboro Team Penske has sights set on third consecutive Indy 500 victory.

Marlboro Team Penske heads to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway (IMS) for Opening Day of the 87th running of the Indianapolis 500 on Sunday, May 4th in search of their third consecutive win at the Brickyard. The familiar red and white cars will hit the track on Sunday with 2001 & 2002 Indianapolis 500 winner Helio Castroneves and two-time CART Champion Gil de Ferran driving the #3 and #6 Marlboro Team Penske Toyotas respectively.

Castroneves will be coming to IMS for the third time in his career in hopes of extending his perfect record at the Speedway. If successful, Castroneves would be the first driver in Indy 500 history to win three consecutive times, let alone in his first three attempts. Furthermore, Roger Penske could become just the second owner in history to win three years in a row; the first time this happened was when Lou Moore won in 1947, 1948 and 1949.

Teammate, de Ferran will be looking for his first victory at the Speedway after two close races in as many years. In 2001, de Ferran finished second to Castroneves to earn Penske Racing's first-ever 1-2 finish at IMS. In 2002, de Ferran was running third when his left rear wheel came off after a pit stop on lap 176; he would go on to finish the race tenth.

While the month of May may seem like a long time to be at one track, Marlboro Team Penske will be using each day to its full advantage. On Opening Day, the Team will be shaking down the #3 and #6 primary and back-up cars in order to get a good basic set-up to work from. In addition, the Team will be running two different chassis, the Dallara and Panoz G-Force, in order to determine which one to qualify.

Once the chassis package has been determined, the Team will use the long month ahead to work on getting the car in prime condition for Pole Day on Saturday, May 10th and Race Day on Sunday, May 25th.

MARLBORO TEAM PENSKE ON THE INDIANAPOLIS 500

"Obviously, Indy is a very special place to me," said 2001 & 2002 Indianapolis 500 winner Helio Castroneves. "This year will be even more amazing as I try to go for a record third consecutive win. I'm trying not to think about the three-peat and just enjoy every minute of the month. Records are made to be broken and if it's meant to be, it will be. The Team has been working very hard in preparing the cars for the month. We'll start off running both the Dallara and the G-Force and hopefully make a decision early in the week so that we can get to work on our qualifying and race set-ups. I've enjoyed tremendous success at the Speedway and I only hope it continues this year."

"For me, Indianapolis will be like a second start to my season," said Gil de Ferran. "It will be the first time I get back in a car since Phoenix and I'm quite anxious to get going. Although it wasn't the type of time off I would've preferred, it was nice to have a little break and now its time to go back to work. From a physical standpoint, I'm nearly at the same level of fitness I was prior to the start of the season. Indy will be unique to us this year because we will start the month with a choice of two chassis. This, however, can be both a benefit and a challenge. I still haven't had the opportunity to test the G-Force so I know I have a lot of work ahead of me. From a competitive standpoint, I feel we have a realistic possibility to be in contention to win, but a lot of things come into play at Indy and you never know how the cards will fall on race day."

"Our team has done a tremendous job preparing for this month and what we have accomplished in preparing this many cars and engines is a real testament to the quality and can-do attitude of our people. Although everyone is excited to give Helio a chance to three-peat, we are also really looking forward to getting Gil back in the fold," said Tim Cindric, President, Penske Racing, Inc. "From a personal perspective, there is nothing better than the month of May and the opportunity to win three in a row is just icing on the cake."

PENSKE RACING AT THE INDIANAPOLIS MOTOR SPEEDWAY

No other Team in American open-wheel racing has been as successful at the fabled May Classic as Penske Racing has in its past 34 years of competition. Here's a look at the records the Team has been able to establish at the Brickyard since its first campaign in 1969:

*       66 Race Starts

* 18 Different Drivers
* 12 Victories
* 11 Poles
* 8 Winning Drivers
* 5 Wins From the Pole
* 29 Front Row Starts
* 1,611 Laps Led

-mtp-

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Series IndyCar
Teams Team Penske , Team Penske