Marlboro Team Penske Pit Notes
September 21, 2006
CASTRONEVES HITS THE SOCCER FIELD
Last Sunday night, two-time Indianapolis 500 winner Helio Castroneves was at Tropical Park Stadium in his hometown of Miami to kick-off the Miami FC playoff game against the Vancouver Whitecaps. Miami FC made its debut in the First Division of the United Soccer League (USL) this season, but fell victim to Vancouver on Sunday night ending their season.
In addition, the Team presented Castroneves with a personalized #3 Miami FC jersey. The Brazilian also participated in a photo opportunity with fellow countryman and Miami FC Forward, Romario.
"During the season, I don't get a lot of opportunities to get out and go to soccer games, so this was a lot of fun for me. Plus, there was a lot of excitement for the game with the team being in the playoffs during its first season and the fact that this was possibly Romario's last game with the team," Castroneves said. "I was a huge fan of Romario when he helped Brazil win the World Cup in 1994, so meeting him and getting to kick the first ball was a great experience for me. Unfortunately the team couldn't come up with the win, but they had a great season."
HORNISH JR. WINS THIRD QUARTER DRIVER OF THE YEAR
It was announced this week that 2006 IndyCar Series Champion Sam Hornish Jr. was named the Third Quarter Driver of the Year after his impressive campaign this season. The award, entering its 40th season, is unique because it is the oldest award that encompasses all of the racing series in the United States. A panel of 17 leading journalists and broadcasters from across the United States determines the winner. Hornish Jr. earned nine out of the 17 first-place votes for a total of 115 points. Other drivers who earned first-place votes included NASCAR Nextel Cup drivers Kevin Harvick and Matt Kenseth; and Champ Car World Series driver AJ Allmendinger.
In recognition of the honor, Hornish Jr. will receive a trophy and a Maurice Lacroix, wristwatch. The trophy presentation will take place later this year. A separate vote later this year will determine the Driver of the Year.
"I'm really honored to be selected the Third Quarter Driver of the Year," said Hornish Jr. "Knowing how well Kevin Harvick, Matt Kenseth and AJ Allmendinger have run this year. Obviously it's been a great year and it shows how well Marlboro Team Penske works together as a Team. I was excited when I found out I won this quarter. To be honest, after winning Indy and the IndyCar Championship, I did wonder if I'd have a chance to win the overall Driver of the Year award."
HELIO RETURNS TO THE BOOTH
This weekend, Castroneves heads to his native Brazil to not only support his Stock Car Team, NasrCastroneves Racing, as they compete at the Autodromo Internacional Nelson Piquet in Brasilia, but also to try his hand at broadcasting. In addition to working with his two drivers, Hoover Orsi and David Muffato, the 31 year-old Brazilian will also call the race for O Globo TV.
While this will be Castroneves' first time providing commentary for Brazilian TV, it won't be his first time in the booth. In both 2003 and 2004 Castroneves provided the color commentary on ESPN2 for the Infiniti Pro Series race at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
"I'm definitely looking forward to trying my hand at broadcasting in Brazil. Hopefully, I'll be able to do a good job, but at least I'll be able to speak my first language," Castroneves said. "It's going to be a lot of fun to broadcast a race where my Team is competing, but I'll have to try hard to keep my comments balanced and get to know some of the other drivers a little better. This is a really big race for our Team since it will decide which drivers are eligible for the Championship. Also, our team shop is located inside the circuit, so it will be exciting for our guys to race at their home track."
Castroneves is a partner of NasrCastroneves Racing, which competes in the Brazilian Stock Car V8 Championship. The cars in this Series are modified Chevrolet Astra's (a popular model in Brazil) and are based on the cars in competition in the NASCAR Busch Series. Currently drivers Orsi and Muffato sit second and 14th respectively in the point standings.
This weekend's event marks the last race before the "Chase" begins. Similar to the format of the NASCAR Nextel Cup Series, the top ten drivers make it to the "Chase," which will take place in the final four races of the season.
CASTRONEVES IN THE NEWS
Two-time Indianapolis 500 winner Helio Castroneves is featured in the September issue of Ocean Drive Magazine on newsstands now. The Coral Gables resident can be found in the "Ocean Driver" section of the magazine, which features local celebrities and their cars. In the column, Castroneves discusses his 2004 Lamborghini Gallardo as well as some of the cars and stories that stand out throughout his life.
TAKE ME OUT TO THE BALL GAME
Now that 2006 IndyCar® Series Champion and Indianapolis 500 Winner Sam Hornish Jr. has had some time to catch his breath after he earned his third Series Championship on September 10th at Chicagoland Speedway; the 27 year-old Defiance, OH native will take some time away from the track to spend at the ball park. On Friday, September 29th Hornish Jr. will be at Wrigley Field in Chicago to throw out the ceremonial first pitch and lead the crowd in a rendition of "Take Me Out to the Ball Game" during the 7th inning stretch.
This will be the third time this season Hornish Jr. has thrown the first pitch at a Major League Baseball Game. He also participated in the pre-game festivities at the Mets game after he won the Indianapolis 500 and the Reds game just before he took the checkered flag in Kentucky.