IRL: Chicagoland: Team Penske preview

Marlboro Team Penske Looks Ahead to Chicago This weekend Marlboro Team Penske drivers Sam Hornish, Jr. and Helio Castroneves will be looking to close the gap between them and 2004 Indy Racing League (IRL) IndyCar® Series points leader Tony...

Marlboro Team Penske Looks Ahead to Chicago

This weekend Marlboro Team Penske drivers Sam Hornish, Jr. and Helio Castroneves will be looking to close the gap between them and 2004 Indy Racing League (IRL) IndyCar® Series points leader Tony Kanaan as they prepare for Sunday's Delphi Indy 300 at Chicagoland Speedway.

No track is more suited for Hornish to mount a comeback as the 1.5-mile oval in Joliet, IL, where the 25 year-old Defiance, OH native has taken the checkered flag in the last two events. The year before that, he earned a second-place finish in his debut at the track during the 2001 season. Furthermore, Hornish Jr. has led 155 of the 600 laps he's run in Chicago (26%). With a past performance record like that, you can be sure Hornish Jr. will have his sights set on capturing his second win of 2004 on Sunday.

"I'm excited to go back to Chicago," said Hornish Jr. "I've always done pretty well there, so hopefully my success at the track will continue this year. It's a great circuit where we've always had close finishes, so I'm sure the fans are in for quite a show."

Teammate, Helio Castroneves will also be looking to improve his luck over the past few races as he searches for his first win of the 2004 season. Castroneves has competed at Chicagoland Speedway twice and earned one top-four finish in his two attempts.

"Chicagoland Speedway is always challenging which is why I enjoy racing there," said Castroneves. "Marlboro Team Penske has struggled a bit this year on the longer ovals, but hopefully we'll be able make some progress and earn a good result this weekend."

MARLBORO TEAM PENSKE BOWLS WITH PEYTON MANNING

Last Wednesday, Castroneves and Hornish participated in the second annual PeyBack Bowl in Indianapolis. The pair joined other IndyCar Series drivers Scott Dixon, Darren Manning and Sarah Fisher as they participated in the bowling tournament to raise money for the PeyBack Foundation.

"I had a lot of fun, but I really let my Team down," said Hornish Jr. after the event. "I haven't been bowling as regularly as I'd like, and I guess this was a sign that I need to hit the lanes a bit more and practice. Even though I could have bowled better, I still had a great time. Peyton [Manning] is one of those guys that really gives a lot back and I think it's great he can get all of these people out to participate for such a worthy cause."

"Bowling is not exactly one of my strengths," joked Castroneves. "But it was a lot of fun and we were here for a great for a great cause. Plus I like any excuse that brings me back to Indianapolis - I love this city."

Other participants included ESPN's Tom Jackson, Olympic diver Sara Hildebrand, Indiana Pacers coach Rick Carlisle and Indianapolis Colts coach Tony Dungy.

HORNISH JR. SIGNS PERSONAL SERVICES AGREEMENT WITH HANSEN FITNESS

Sam Hornish Jr. has recently signed a personal services agreement with Fort Wayne, IN-based Hansen Fitness; a company that offers commercial and home fitness equipment from leading manufacturers in the industry.

"Physical fitness training is a critical part of achieving success on the race track," said Hornish Jr. "Without question, the drivers I compete against in the IndyCar Series are world-class athletes. Through this new association with Hansen Fitness, I am now able to raise my training to a whole new level. This not just due to the convenience of training at home - though that it is really nice - but also because of the type and quality of equipment that Hansen has provided me."

Under the terms of the agreement, Hansen Fitness, along with equipment manufacturers Matrix Fitness Systems, Quantum Fitness, Troy Barbell and WaterRower, will develop and outfit a fitness studio with state-of-the-art equipment in Hornish's home. The specific fitness pieces have been selected in conjunction with Sam's personal trainer Jim Leo, President of Indianapolis-based PitFit Training.

CASTRONEVES WINS MARLBORO LAP LEADER AWARD

Marlboro Team Penske driver Helio Castroneves led the most laps at the Firestone Indy 225 last weekend at Nazareth Speedway after being at the top of the leader board for 100 of the 225 laps on his way to a fifth-place finish. Castroneves earned three extra points for leading the most laps and sits in fourth place in the IRL Championship point standings with 359 points. Castroneves will be presented with his Marlboro Lap Leader Award check for $7,500 during the pre-race ceremonies at this weekend's Delphi Indy 300 at Chicagoland Speedway on September 12th. His performance also marked the second time this season that Castroneves has won the Marlboro Lap Leader Award (won his first in the season-opener at Homestead-Miami Speedway).

In addition, Kevin Lee of WIBC-AM was the winner of the Marlboro Lap Leader Award Media Contest. During each IRL event, journalists have the opportunity to enter an on-site contest to predict who will lead the most laps, and how many that driver will lead, in a given race. Lee, who guessed that Castroneves would lead 97 of the scheduled 225 laps in the race, won a MOMO Design Essenziale Watch.

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Darren Manning , Sarah Fisher , Helio Castroneves , Scott Dixon , Tony Kanaan , Sam Hornish Jr. , Sam Hornis
Teams Team Penske