IRL: Indy 500: Team Penske Pit Notes 2002-05-22

Marlboro Team Penske revs up for The 86th Indianapolis 500 Mile Race. The field has been set for the 86th Indianapolis 500 Mile Race and Marlboro Team Penske will be looking for its second consecutive title at the Brickyard on Sunday, May 26th.

Marlboro Team Penske revs up for The 86th Indianapolis 500 Mile Race.

The field has been set for the 86th Indianapolis 500 Mile Race and Marlboro Team Penske will be looking for its second consecutive title at the Brickyard on Sunday, May 26th. 2001 Indianapolis 500 winner Helio Castroneves and teammate Two-Time National Champion Gil de Ferran will be starting their identical Marlboro Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolets 13th and 14th respectively in the fastest field ever to grace the famed Indianapolis Motor Speedway with a field average qualifying speed of 228.648 mph. With an all-star, talent-packed line-up, you can be sure that this year's race will truly live up to its reputation as the "Greatest Spectacle in Racing."

If Castroneves or de Ferran win on Sunday, it will mark the first time a Team has won back-to-back titles since Marlboro Team Penske took victories in '93 and '94 (Emerson Fittipaldi - '93 and Al Unser Jr. - '94). Furthermore, if Castroneves takes the checkered flag, he will be only the fourth driver in Indianapolis 500 history to win two consecutive titles and it will mark the first time a driver has won back-to-back races since Al Unser won in '70 and '71.

While all eyes will be focused on Indianapolis Motor Speedway come Sunday, here's a brief look at Penske Racing's records at the fabled May Classic:

* 11 victories in 64 starts (17%) * 8 winning drivers * 1,574 laps by 13 different drivers * 18 different drivers for a total of 64 starts * 5 wins from the pole * 29 front row starts * 27 top-five finishes in 64 starts (42%) * 31 top-ten finishes in 64 starts (48%)

MARLBORO TEAM PENSKE PREPARES FOR COORS INDY 500 PIT STOP CHALLENGE

On Thursday, Marlboro Team Penske will participate in the Coors Indy 500 Pit Stop Challenge at Indianapolis Motor Speedway along with 10 other Indy Racing League teams. Castroneves, de Ferran and their pit crews will be competing for the $42,000 winner's share of the $80,000 total purse. In addition, a donation of $5,000 will be made to the American Red Cross of Greater Indianapolis in the winning team's name.

The 12 teams invited to the competition were selected through a number of different ways:

* Six of the teams were chosen as a result of their performance in Indy Racing League events since last year's Indianapolis 500. The teams chosen through this criteria (and their drivers) are Panther Racing (Sam Hornish Jr.), Red Bull Cheever Racing (Eddie Cheever Jr.), Hemelgarn Racing (Buddy Lazier), Target Chip Ganassi Racing (Jeff Ward) and Kelley Racing (Al Unser Jr. and Scott Sharp).

* Three teams were chosen due to their entrant point standings this season - Marlboro Team Penske (de Ferran and Castroneves) and Hollywood Mo Nunn Racing (Felipe Giaffone).

* One team is usually selected for being the fastest first day qualifier - Target Chip Ganassi Racing Bruno Junqueira), however they withdrew from the competition, so Dreyer & Reinbold Racing (Robbie Buhl) who was second fastest on the first day of qualifying will replace Junqueira in the competition.

* Two teams were chosen after a Pit Stop time trial, which took place last week - Target Chip Ganassi Racing (Kenny Brack) and Miller Lite/Rahal Letterman Racing (Jimmy Vasser).

The competition will begin with six pairs of teams squaring off against one another (determined by blind draw). Each team will change all four tires while making a simulated fuel hose connection to the fuel tank for a minimum of five seconds. The fastest team in each pairing will advance to the next round, until the top two teams meet in the final round.

Since the inception of the Coors Indy 500 Pit Stop Challenge in '77, Penske Racing has won six times - a record shared with Galles Racing. The last time Penske Racing won the competition was with Danny Sullivan in '88. Penske Racing's other Coors Indy 500 Pit Stop Challenge wins include: '81 (Bobby Unser); '82 & '83 (Rick Mears); '85, '86 and '88 (Danny Sullivan).

Last year, both Marlboro Team Penske cars made it to the semi-finals with Castroneves' car losing to Galles Racing (Al Unser Jr.) and de Ferran's car falling short to Kelly Racing (Scott Sharp). Kelly Racing went on to win the competition.

Here's a look at the two Marlboro Team Penske pit crews that will be participating in Thursday's competition: <pre> Name Position Hometown Years with the Team

De Ferran's Crew Matt Jonsson Crew Chief & Outside Front Jonkoping, Sweden 6 Lee Ryan Outside Rear Sun Prairie, WI 6 Scott Shimp Inside Front Westlawn, PA 12 Jerry Bouschard Inside Rear Chicago, IL 4 Chris Seaman Fueler Hamburg, PA 6 Harry Reynolds Vent/Airjack Pottstown, PA 6

Castroneves' Crew Rick Rinaman Crew Chief & Outside Front Mars, PA 18 Eric Prentice Outside Rear Hatboro, PA 3 John Piccinotti Inside Front Yardly, PA 6 Tim White Inside Rear Rural Valley, PA 8 Troy Anderson Fueler Exeter, PA 2 Pat Hozza Vent/Airjack Reading, PA 7

"The Coors Indy 500 Pit Stop Challenge is a great way to highlight the role of the pit crew in a successful racing team," said Tom Wurtz, Team Manager of Marlboro Team Penske. "This is the perfect arena to show how hard these guys work during every race; it really proves that auto racing is a team effort, it's not just the driver making passes on the track. A successful team depends on the contributions of the entire crew and the necessity of perfect pit stops. This competition allows the crews to have an event just for them so that they can prove how hard they work all season. Marlboro Team Penske has been working every day to improve our times and the Team is really excited to have this opportunity to compete on Carburetion Day."

-mtp-

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Felipe Giaffone , Eddie Cheever , Al Unser Jr. , Buddy Lazier , Jeff Ward , Scott Sharp , Gil de Ferran , Jimmy Vasser , Bruno Junqueira , Kenny Brack , Rick Mears , Bobby Unser , Danny Sullivan , Emerson Fittipaldi , Chip Ganassi , Sam Hornish Jr. , Mo Nunn
Teams Team Penske , Chip Ganassi Racing , Dreyer & Reinbold Racing , Team Penske