IRL: Homestead: Team Penske preview

Marlboro Team Penske's Pit Notes March 3, 2005 MARLBORO TEAM PENSKE HEADS TO SEASON-OPENER LOOKING TO DEFEND THEIR CROWN Marlboro Team Penske returns to Miami as defending race winners as they kick-off the 2005 Indy Racing League...

Marlboro Team Penske's Pit Notes
March 3, 2005


Marlboro Team Penske returns to Miami as defending race winners as they kick-off the 2005 Indy Racing League (IRL) IndyCar® Series at the Toyota Indy 300 at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Two-time Indianapolis 500 winner Helio Castroneves and two-time IndyCar Series Champion Sam Hornish Jr. will once again pilot the #3 and #6 Marlboro Team Penske Dallara/Toyotas respectively.

At last season's opening race in Miami, Hornish Jr. earned his first victory with the Team in his debut behind the wheel of the familiar red and white machine. His victory marked the first time an Indy car driver has won in his inaugural run in the 37-year history of Penske Racing and the fifth time Penske Racing has begun an open-wheel season by capturing the checkered flag. Teammate Castroneves finished a close second (just .0698 seconds behind Hornish Jr.) after leading a race-high 85 laps.

"I always look forward to racing in Miami," said Hornish Jr. "I've had a lot of good luck there and this year I'll be going for an 80% winning percentage at the track (Hornish Jr. has won three of the four races in which he's competed at Homestead-Miami Speedway). I don't know what it is about this place, but it feels like every time I race here things just seem to go my way. Obviously, we hope that this year is no different. We'll need to make sure the Marlboro Team Penske car is there after the first 190 laps so we can go for the victory in the final ten-lap shootout."

"I'm excited for the IndyCar Series season-opener this weekend in Miami," said Castroneves. "I think we'll be carrying a lot of momentum into 2005 after our win at last year's season-finale in Texas. Marlboro Team Penske has been working hard in the off-season, so hopefully I'll be in contention to win my first Championship this season. I always like racing in Miami because it's my "hometown" race. I think this weekend's event will be a great show for the fans; the track is challenging and it looks like we're really going to have a competitive field. I can't wait to get behind the wheel and start racing again."


Not only has Marlboro Team Penske driver Helio Castroneves been hard at work on the track preparing for Sunday's season-opener, but he's also been seen around town promoting the race.

For the past week, Castroneves has been doing everything he can to raise awareness about the Toyota Indy 300 taking place in his hometown of Miami. Last Friday night, Castroneves was the guest of honor at a Brazilian-themed party at the Miami restaurant and nightclub Mosaico, where he kicked-off the week-long festivities that will culminate with Sunday's race. Earlier that day, he fulfilled an interview request for the popular local magazine show "Deco Drive". The show, in which he gives the audience a first-hand look at his new 7,200 square foot home in Coco Plum, FL., is scheduled to air tonight on the FOX affiliate in Miami.

On Monday, he spent the day with the Brazilian GNT Network giving them an "insider's tour" of his hometown of Miami. They visited posh local attractions including the Biltmore Hotel, South Beach and one of his favorite restaurants Casa Tua and ended the day with a visit to his local Go-Kart track. On Wednesday, Castroneves fulfilled live interview requests with the Spanish language national morning show "Despierta America" as well as "South Florida Today" which airs on Miami's NBC affiliate.

Before the green flag drops for Sunday's 300-mile race, Castroneves will also have made time to attend sponsor events and autograph sessions for both Firestone and Toyota.

He'll wrap up the week by spending Friday night at the Miami Heat/Sacramento Kings game where he'll sit courtside as a guest of Shaquille O'Neal. Needless to say, Castroneves has spent countless hours trying to insure a success come race day -- both on the track and in the stands.


On Tuesday, March 8th the Miami-Dade Sports Commission, in collaboration with the Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce, will present the 2005 Sports Hall of Champions at the American Airlines Arena. Helio Castroneves along with fellow inductees Jim Kiick of the Miami Dolphins, Miami Heat coach Ron Rothstein and former Heat player Rony Seikaly will be honored in the 16th annual ceremony designed to recognize their outstanding contributions to sports and the recognition they have brought to the Greater Miami area. Past inductees include Dan Marino, Alonzo Mourning, Bob Griese, Arthur Ashe and Joe DiMaggio.


Are racecar drivers really athletes? Helio Castroneves answers this question with an exclamation point in the March 7th issue of Sports Illustrated. The article appears in the "Players" section of the magazine and features Castroneves' work-out regimen and diet. To write the article, the Magazine spent a day working out with Castroneves and his trainer, Carlos Bailly.


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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Helio Castroneves , Sam Hornish Jr.
Teams Team Penske , Team Penske