IRL: Indy 500: Team Penske Pit Notes 2004-05-19

Marlboro Team Penske Pit Notes May 19, 2004 MARLBORO TEAM PENSKE PREPARES FOR RACE DAY Now that Pole Day is over, Marlboro Team Penske has shifted its focus to race preparation for the 88th running of the Indianapolis 500 Mile Race on...

Marlboro Team Penske Pit Notes
May 19, 2004


Now that Pole Day is over, Marlboro Team Penske has shifted its focus to race preparation for the 88th running of the Indianapolis 500 Mile Race on Sunday, May 30th.

This past Saturday, Helio Castroneves and Sam Hornish Jr. qualified their identical Marlboro Team Penske Dallara/Toyotas eighth and eleventh respectively with four-lap average speeds of 220.882 and 220.180 mph. The teammates are the highest starting Toyotas of the 26 cars currently qualified.

Now that they are safely in the field, the Team will spend this week in their back-up cars working on the race set-up while the crews re-build the primary cars for the race.


Of Penske Racing's previous 13 victories, six of them have come from starting positions of eighth or further back in the field, including Al Unser when he started 20th in 1987. In fact, both of Castroneves' race-winning efforts came when he started outside of the top-ten (he started 11th in 2001 and 13th in 2002), so if anyone knows how to battle his way through the field to the Yard of Bricks its Helio Castroneves.

In the eleventh spot on the grid, Hornish Jr. will be making his second-best start in his fifth appearance at the "Greatest Spectacle in Racing" (he started seventh in 2002 and went on to finish the race in 25th).

Of the previous 87 winners, two of them have started eighth (Penske Racing's Danny Sullivan in 1985 and Kenny Brack in 1999) and two have started 11th (Gordon Johncock in 1975 and Castroneves in 2001) and a total of 28 past winners started from eighth or further back.

Needless to say, Marlboro Team Penske has their work cut out for them against a fierce field of competitors in its quest for a record 14th, and fourth consecutive, victory at the 2004 Indianapolis 500.


While Marlboro Team Penske has been hard at work on the track at Indianapolis during the month of May, they certainly have also made time to experience the local sports scene. Last Saturday, Marlboro Team Penske played host to Indianapolis Colts Head Coach Tony Dungy as he came out to the Brickyard to watch the Pole Day action. The morning rain gave the Team the perfect chance to give Coach Dungy a "behind-the-scenes" tour of the Team garage before taking him to the pits to watch the first practice session.

Later that evening, Helio Castroneves and Tim Cindric, President, Penske Racing, Inc., accompanied Tony George to Conseco Fieldhouse to cheer on the Pacers as they beat the Miami Heat in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals. Castroneves recently became a Pacers fan when he met Jermaine O'Neal at a game this past January, where Castroneves gave O'Neal one of his racing helmets and O'Neal gave him a pair of his sneakers.


2001 & 2002 Indianapolis 500 winner Helio Castroneves will be taping a commercial at Indianapolis Motor Speedway to promote the newly launched IndyCar® Series Magazine with fellow IndyCar Series drivers Dan Wheldon and Tomas Scheckter. The ad, slated to run during the Indy 500 on May 30th and at various times throughout the remainder of the 2004 season, will suggest that the only way to get closer to the IndyCar Series than the magazine would be to actually be in the racecar.


On Friday, May 21st three of Penske Racing's past drivers will be inducted into the Auto Racing Hall of Fame at the 2004 induction ceremony taking place at the Indianapolis Marriott in conjunction with the annual "500" Oldtimers' Club Banquet.

In addition to past Penske drivers Emerson Fittipaldi, Tom Sneva and the late Mark Donohue - other inductees will include Team owners John Zink and the late Lindsey Hopkins.

Fittipaldi won the Indianapolis 500 for Marlboro Team Penske in 1993 and won the pole for the Team in 1990; Sneva won the 1977 and 1978 pole for Penske Racing and won the race in 1983 driving for Bignotti-Cotter Racing; and Mark Donohue earned Penske Racing's first trip to Victory Circle at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in 1972.

Emerson, Sneva and Donohue join Rick Mears and Roger Penske as members of Penske Racing to have been inducted in the Hall of Fame. Current Marlboro Team Penske Advisor, Rick Mears was inducted in 1998 and Penske was inducted in 2002.

In addition, Roger Penske, Team President - Tim Cindric, Sam Hornish Jr. and Rick Mears will all be on-hand at the banquet for the evening of festivities.


Roger Penske will deliver the keynote address at the annual Mayor's Breakfast and Queen Coronation on Saturday, May 22nd at the Plaza Pavilion at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The yearly event will feature mayors and community leaders from the state of Indiana and will take place at 10:00 a.m.

After the breakfast, defending Indianapolis 500 winner Gil de Ferran will crown the 2004 500 Festival Queen from the field of 33 princesses.


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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Tomas Scheckter , Helio Castroneves , Gil de Ferran , Kenny Brack , Dan Wheldon , Al Unser Sr. , Rick Mears , Tom Sneva , Danny Sullivan , Emerson Fittipaldi , Tony George , Gordon Johncock , Roger Penske , Mark Donohue , Sam Hornish Jr.
Teams Team Penske , Team Penske