Marlboro Team Penske Pit Notes November 11, 2004 MARLBORO TEAM PENSKE BEGINS PREPARATION FOR 2005 Once the checkered flag dropped on the 2004 Indy Racing League (IRL) IndyCarÂ® Series season last month at Texas Motor Speedway, one...
Marlboro Team Penske Pit Notes
November 11, 2004
MARLBORO TEAM PENSKE BEGINS PREPARATION FOR 2005
Once the checkered flag dropped on the 2004 Indy Racing League (IRL) IndyCar® Series season last month at Texas Motor Speedway, one would think that each Team member would get some time off before the 2005 season begins at Homestead-Miami Speedway on Sunday, March 6th.
However, that's not how Marlboro Team Penske will be spending its off-season. From the final lap of 2004 until the time the Team transporters pull into Homestead-Miami Speedway next March, the Team will be working to insure a successful campaign in 2005.
"The first month after the final race of the season is spent regrouping," said Tim Cindric, President, Penske Racing, Inc. "That's when we deicide how Marlboro Team Penske will be structured in 2005 in terms of personnel, sponsors and equipment."
During that month, Team personnel are given their assignments for the season ranging from spots on one of the driver's pit crews, roles on the test team or in other positions in Reading, PA. In addition, the 2005 budget is analyzed line-by-line so that each dollar is allocated to either equipment, personnel, uniforms or parts.
Another objective for the fall is to finalize sponsorship agreements between Penske Racing and its various sponsors in terms of monetary commitment, decal placement on the car as well as uniform branding. The Team also works with its equipment manufacturers to determine their readiness for the 2005 season and discuss any changes that need to be made.
While Penske Racing management is hard at work putting the structure of an upcoming season in place, the rest of the Team has countless jobs in order to get the Team ready for the next season. First and foremost, before planning for the next season can begin, it's important to inventory all existing equipment and parts to determine what can be refurbished and what will need to be replaced. The Team looks at each piece of equipment from the brakes, to gearboxes to body work to decide what can be translated from the 2004 package to that of the 2005 season. The Team also determines if they will send any cars to Penske Restoration in Auburn Hills for restoration and eventual display at the Penske Racing Museum in Scottsdale, AZ.
Once everything has been accounted for and a decision has been made about the status of each and every part, those remaining at the shop will be repaired and brought up to standard. Furthermore, every additional piece of equipment used by the Team from the transporters to pit board signs to the radios to golf carts is inspected and repaired.
"Dings and dents are touched up on everything from the cars to the Team scooters to the transporters to the crowd barriers used in the pits and garage areas," continued Cindric. "Everybody pitches in and wears different hats in order to get the job done and prepare for the season ahead."
In addition to upgrading existing equipment, the Team is also hard at work trying to get a head start on 2005. The engineers begin working on longer lead-time programs, dynamometers and telemetry sensors are upgraded, new equipment is installed and the general maintenance for which there is not enough time during the rigors of the season is carried out.
The Team also takes this time to analyze the data from each of the previous season's races to prepare for next season as well as wind tunnel and upcoming test sessions, including seven-post rig testing which is used to develop mechanical grip through damper development.
To supplement the off-season data analysis the Team will also be testing at least once a month leading up to the season opener. Therefore, the test Team will be hard at work on the road.
Needless to say, "off-season" is not a very effective word to describe how Marlboro Team Penske spends its time between now and that first green flag on Sunday, March 6th.
CASTRONEVES PRESENTS AT THE HORIZON AWARDS
Marlboro Team Penske driver Helio Castroneves presented the award for "Best Sports Experimental Marketing Campaign" to The Coca-Cola Company for their Olympic Torch Relay program at the 4th Annual Horizon Awards on November 5th in Atlanta. The Horizon Awards recognize the accomplishments of the thought-leaders and innovators from the sports industry. This year, the event brought together more than 800 executives, celebrities and athletes from the world of sports and business.
HORNISH JR. ATTENDS MONDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL GAME IN THE AUTO RACING CAPITAL OF THE WORLD
Two-time IndyCar Series Champion Sam Hornish Jr. was in Indianapolis on Monday attending the Monday Night Football Game between the Indianapolis Colts and Minnesota Vikings.
Hornish Jr., a guest of the IRL, watched the game from the league's luxury suite with his wife, Crystal. Also in attendance was Tony and Laura George, IndyCar Series driver Ed Carpenter and actor Jim Caviezel.
"This was the first time I'd been to a Monday Night Football game and I have to say, it was pretty exciting," said Hornish Jr. "There was a full house and the crowd was really pumped up. Not only was the atmosphere like nothing else I've ever seen, but the game was exciting as well (the Colts won the game 31-28). I always like to see the Colts win - I've met several of the players at various events over the years and Indianapolis will always be a special place for me because of the Speedway."