Marlboro Team Penske Pit Notes
May 5, 2005
MARLBORO TEAM PENSKE RETURNS FROM JAPAN
Last weekend, Marlboro Team Penske was in Japan as the Indy Racing League (IRL) IndyCar® Series made its fourth stop of the 2005 season at Twin Ring Motegi for the Indy Japan 300 on April 30th.
Two-time IndyCar Series Champion Sam Hornish Jr. was at the top of the speed charts for qualifying and earned his first Marlboro Pole Award of the 2005 season as well as his first pole while piloting the #6 Marlboro Team Penske Dallara/Toyota. The pole also marked the sixth time in his IndyCar Series career that he'd led the field as the green flag dropped on race day. Hornish Jr. received a check for $10,000 for winning the Marlboro Pole Award.
Unfortunately, his dominance wouldn't hold on race day as the 25 year-old Defiance, OH native was only able to lead 14 of the 200 laps run on Saturday. In the closing laps of the race, Hornish Jr. lost a few positions as he had to come in for a quick fuel stop, then on lap 198, he developed gearbox problems relegating him to a seventh place finish, his third top-ten finish of the season. The showing was good enough to keep him in third place in the Championship point standings and he will head to the Brickyard just seven points behind second place Tony Kanaan.
Marlboro Team Penske teammate Helio Castroneves was also strong during qualifications in the "Land of the Rising Sun," as he was able to put the #3 Marlboro Team Penske car in the second row and begin the race in fourth. However, the two-time Indianapolis 500 winner was involved in an accident on lap 198 after running though the gear oil from Hornish Jr.'s machine, he finished 11th.
While in Japan the drivers visited team sponsor Hino Trucks executive office and assembly line where they met with employees and witnessed the production of light, medium and heavy duty trucks. They also spent another day with the Governor of Tochigi Prefecture and the Mayor of Utsunomiya. Both are big supporters of the IndyCar series and were instrumental in bringing the series to Japan.
HORNISH JR. IN THE NEWS
Make sure to check out the May 23rd issue of ESPN The Magazine featuring Hornish Jr. and his second favorite pastime -- restoring and modifying cars. ESPN The Magazine visited Hornish Jr. in his garage in Defiance, OH to photograph his street car inventory including a 1967 Chevy pick-up as well as a nearly finished 2003 Chevy Silverado pick-up.
The article, part of a special issue dedicated to professional athletes and their love of cars, will not only feature photos of his recent projects, but also highlights his approach to restoring cars and his modification process.
CASTRONEVES FEATURED IN FHM AND GOLD COAST MAGAZINE
Not to be outshined by his teammate, Helio Castroneves can also be seen on newsstands in FHM Magazine and Gold Coast Magazine. The 29 year-old Brazilian will be featured in a full-page article in the "Reporter" section of the June issue of FHM Magazine as he looks ahead to the month of May and the 89th running of the Indianapolis 500 on May 29th. The issue will hit newsstands on Tuesday, May 10th, as Castroneves and the rest of the IndyCar Series stars open the month of May at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
In addition, Castroneves is also featured in the May issue of Gold Coast Magazine, in a cover story entitled "Dukes of Broward" which discusses the growing popularity of motorsports in Southern Florida.
PENSKE HEADS TO LAS VEGAS
Immediately following the Japan race, Roger Penske flew directly to Las Vegas to open Penske Wynn Ferrari-Maserati. The new 10,000 square foot dealership operated by UnitedAuto Group is located on the ground floor of the new Wynn Las Vegas Resort and Country Club that opened on April 28th. On hand at the opening were Marlboro Team Penske drivers Helio Castroneves and Sam Hornish Jr. as well as Penske Racing President Tim Cindric.
GENTLEMEN, START YOUR TAXIS
Also housed at the new Wynn Las Vegas Resort and Country Club is a 170-foot long taxi tunnel, complete with a photo montage designed to look like the starting grid of an IndyCar race. Roger Penske recommended that famed Los Angeles-based photographer Jonathan Exley create the photo montage which features 10 life-size images of IndyCars (16 x 3 feet) on each side of the tunnel creating the illusion that the taxi cabs are in the center row of the starting grid.