IRL: Team Penske pit notes 2003-12-09

Castroneves participates in Chris Evert/Bank of America Pro-Celebrity Tennis Classic. This past weekend, Marlboro Team Penske driver Helio Castroneves was in Delray Beach, FL to play in the Chris Evert/Bank of America Pro-Celebrity Tennis...

Castroneves participates in Chris Evert/Bank of America Pro-Celebrity Tennis Classic.

This past weekend, Marlboro Team Penske driver Helio Castroneves was in Delray Beach, FL to play in the Chris Evert/Bank of America Pro-Celebrity Tennis Classic, to raise money to fight drug abuse in south Florida.

The two-day event featured an all-star line-up of tennis stars and celebrities alike including former United States President George Bush; "Friends'" star Matthew Perry; comedians Chevy Chase and Jon Lovitz; and Gavin Rossdale of the popular rock band Bush.

Each of the celebrity participants was teamed with a pro tennis player for the one set match-ups at the Delray Beach Tennis Center. On Saturday, Castroneves was paired with Xavier Malisse, one of tennis' rising stars, against the team of Jon Lovitz and ATP regular Vince Spadea. Castroneves and Malisse were able to hold off their opponents with a score of 6-5.

The highlight of the event came at the end of the day, when Castroneves was able to hit balls with the 41st President, George Bush. The two got some court time and just volleyed with one another to close out the first day of competition.

"What an honor," said Castroneves after the experience. "This afternoon was a once in a lifetime opportunity. I'm so excited that I had the chance to warm-up with a United States President! I've always admired President Bush and it was a lot of fun to have that personal interaction with him. This is something that I will never forget."

After the day's action on the court, Castroneves attended a black-tie fund raiser at the Boca Raton Resort. During the event, the young Brazilian was able to rub elbows with the likes of celebrity guests including Matthew Perry, Jennifer Capriati, Jon Lovitz, Chevy Chase and of course, Chris Evert.

Castroneves donated a VIP package to the IndyCar® Series season-opening Toyota Indy 300 on February 29, 2004 at Homestead-Miami Speedway. The package, which sold for $3,000, included a pair of tickets to the race, special VIP passes as well as a pace car ride with Castroneves.

"A night out with" Helio Castroneves.

Not only did Helio Castroneves have the chance to mingle with the entertainment and sports worlds' elite this weekend, he also had some time to participate in "A Night Out With" New York Times journalist Linda Lee. Lee, who pens the widely read "A Night Out With" column for the popular Sunday Styles section of the paper, was in Miami on Friday night for an evening of Brazilian culture with Castroneves and his friends. Lee attended the cocktail reception with Castroneves at the Delray Beach Tennis Club before the pair departed for Ft. Lauderdale where the two-time Indianapolis 500 winner had the opportunity to show Lee his spin on southern Florida.

Castroneves took her to one of his favorite restaurants, Chima, which is a Brazilian-style Churrascaria (Brazilian BBQ). His sister, Kati, as well as three Brazilian friends of the Castroneves' accompanied the trio to create an authentic "Night Out" with Castroneves as he introduced Miami's Brazilian influence to Lee for her column scheduled to run in 2004.

Hornish in Defiance, Oh for photo shoot.

Marlboro Team Penske's newest addition, two-time IndyCar Series Champion Sam Hornish Jr., was in his hometown of Defiance, OH this past weekend so that celebrity photographer Jonathan Exley could shoot him for his 2004 lifestyle photos. The photo shoot consisted of Sam in his hometown surroundings, including set-ups with him and his fiancee, Crystal, in front of their new home; and shots of him with his parents and friends. In addition, the photo shoot featured Sam with his Harley-Davidson Fat Boy and Big Dog motorcycles, as well as participating in some of his favorite hobbies including shooting pool; bowling and playing poker with friends; and working on his go-karts with his Dad.

Castroneves to appear in Ocean Drive en Espanol.

Helio Castroneves will be in South Beach on Wednesday for a photo shoot for the regional magazine Ocean Drive en Espanol. Castroneves is slated to appear in the February issue of the Floridian periodical to coincide with the kick-off event of the 2004 IndyCar Series season.

Marlboro Team Penske testing in Phoenix.

Marlboro Team Penske will be testing the 2004 Marlboro Team Penske Dallara/Toyotas this week at Phoenix International Raceway. Helio Castroneves will be fulfilling driving duties for the Team on Monday, December 8 while teammate Sam Hornish Jr. will be in the cockpit on Tuesday, December 9. The Team will be making sure that they are ahead of the curve for the IndyCar Series event at the Raceway on March 21, 2004.

-tp-

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