TEAM PENSKE PREPARES FOR THREE-RACE CLOSE TO 2007 SEASON As soon as the checkered flag dropped on the Meijer Indy 300 at Kentucky Speedway on Saturday night, Team Penske began preparing for the final three races of the 2007 IndyCarÂ® Series ...
TEAM PENSKE PREPARES FOR THREE-RACE CLOSE TO 2007 SEASON
As soon as the checkered flag dropped on the Meijer Indy 300 at Kentucky Speedway on Saturday night, Team Penske began preparing for the final three races of the 2007 IndyCar® Series season.
With back-to-back-to-back races in three different parts of the country on three different types of circuits, the Team will have to make sure they're looking ahead not just to Sonoma, but to Belle Isle (Detroit) and Chicago as well.
"We're definitely preparing for three completely different races," explains Tom German, Team Penske Technical Director and Race Engineer for the #6 Team Penske Dallara/Honda. "Sonoma is a permanent road course, with a smoother surface than Belle Isle. The course at Belle Isle is usually used for regular traffic, whereas Infineon Raceway is a dedicated race circuit so they will have traits that differ significantly from one another. Plus, we have previous experience at Sonoma, so we will be starting with a set-up that we've raced with in the past. At Belle Isle, we'll be starting with a general idea of what we'll need, but the learning curve will be much steeper. The circuit in Detroit is much different than when we raced there in the CART Series. They've made efforts to improve the passing areas as well as repave some of the surfaces. So, while we have raced there in the past, with the change in layout and obviously the change in racecars, it will feel like a brand new event for Team Penske."
In addition to the engineering staff preparing for the challenge of three different circuits on consecutive weekends, the Team Penske crew will also be under the pressure of making sure the cars are prepared for these events in an efficient manner. The Team will work in the shop this week from Monday through Thursday preparing the two primary and back-up Team Penske cars for the 2.3-mile road course in the hills of Sonoma. They will all have this Friday off so that each of them can have a three-day weekend with their family and friends before the frenzied 21-day stint closes out the season.
On the Monday before the race in Sonoma, the Team Penske transporters will depart North Carolina and head for northern California. During the week leading up to Infineon, the crew will return to the shop to prepare the cars for the seasonfinale at Chicagoland Speedway as time in the shop will be limited due to the upcoming travel schedule.
Upon the completion of the event at Infineon Raceway, the transporters will leave for Belle Isle and arrive in Detroit by Wednesday morning. The crew will join the trucks when the track opens on Thursday.
"With three races in a row in different parts of the country, we'll have to make sure we're thinking ahead and preparing for three races at one time," explains Tom Wurtz, Team Penske Manager. "Unlike most IndyCar Series organizations, Team Penske doesn't have the luxury of being in close proximity to Detroit and Chicago, so we won't be able to stop at our shop to prepare the cars between Sonoma and Belle Isle. When we arrive in Detroit, we'll not only be setting up our pits and garage area, but we'll also be preparing our racecars for the race."
After Belle Isle, the Team will have three days at the shop to prepare for the final event of the 2007 season at Chicagoland Speedway. The transporters will head to Illinois on Thursday of race week followed by the crew, which will be at the track and ready to close out the season on Friday of race weekend.
"I'm looking forward to the final three races," continued German. "Sam (Hornish Jr.) has come a long way on street/permanent road courses, and I think we have a great opportunity to really improve in the point standings. To me, that's the most exciting part of these final races -- the street/permanent road courses; we know Sam can run well in Chicago, but this year we're also looking for strong performances at Sonoma and Belle Isle as well. Sam has been solid on street/permanent road course circuits this year, especially with his second-place finish at Watkins Glen and his performance at Mid-Ohio. His results this season, coupled with Helio's (Castroneves) success on street/road courses should make us very competitive on these tracks."
THREE RACES LEFT...
With the 2007 IndyCar Series season coming to a close, Team Penske is looking ahead to a trio of races on completely different circuits. While each of them has a unique set of challenges, the Team has found success at each one.
HORNISH JR. TO ATTEND PEYTON MANNING'S CHARITY BOWLING TOURNAMENT
Three-time IndyCar Series Champion Sam Hornish Jr. will be in Indianapolis next week to attend Peyton Manning's fifth annual tournament, the PeyBack Bowl. The tournament, taking place on August 21st, will benefit the PeyBack Foundation and will help to raise money for at risk youth in Indiana.
Other celebrities expected to participate include Jerome Bettis, Archie Manning, Reggie Miller, Greg Oden, Mike Golic, Rik Smits; as well as fellow IndyCar Series drivers Sarah Fisher, Tony Kanaan, Dan Wheldon, and Team owner Michael Andretti.