IRL: Indy 500: Team Penske preview

MARLBORO TEAM PENSKE READY TO TAKE THE GREEN FLAG AT THE INDY 500 On Sunday, May 29th, Helio Castroneves and Sam Hornish Jr. will make Penske Racing's 71st and 72nd start at the Indianapolis 500 Mile Race. Hornish Jr. will be starting second, ...


On Sunday, May 29th, Helio Castroneves and Sam Hornish Jr. will make Penske Racing's 71st and 72nd start at the Indianapolis 500 Mile Race. Hornish Jr. will be starting second, which is his best starting position in six years of competition at the Brickyard and marks Penske Racing's 31st front row start at the famed Speedway. Teammate Castroneves will be directly behind him as he fills in the middle of the second row starting fifth.

Since Mark Donohue completed the first lap in competition for Penske Racing at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in 1969, the Team has recorded virtually every possible record at the Indianapolis 500 including wins (13) on the strength of nine different winning drivers, poles (12), wins from the pole (5), laps led (1,709) and front row starts (30).

While the Penske Racing Legacy at Indy is well documented, both Hornish Jr. and Castroneves have their own strong histories at the track as well. Hornish Jr.'s first trip to the Brickyard was before he was even born. In 1979, his parents were at the race while his mother was eight months pregnant with him (he was born on July 2, 1979). One of Hornish Jr.'s lifelong dreams came true when he made his first start at the Indianapolis 500 in 2000. The 25 year-old Ohio native had been coming to the "May Classic" for as long as he can remember and always dreamt that someday he would be in the field of 33 drivers.

The first memory Hornish Jr. has of Indy is when he was almost 6 years old and was sitting in the Turn one grandstands and watched Danny Sullivan's famous "spin-and-win" in 1985. That win marked Penske Racing's fifth Indy 500 title.

Castroneves has already etched his name in the record books at the historic event. At the age of 27, Castroneves became the youngest driver in history to win the Indianapolis 500 twice and the only driver to win the race in his first two starts. Louis Meyer won his second Indianapolis 500 at the age of 28 and A.J. Foyt won his second when he was 29 years old. He also became the first driver to win consecutively at the Speedway since Al Unser Sr. won back-to-back in 1970 and 1971.

On May 29th, the 30-year-old Brazilian will be searching for his third taste of milk as he tries to earn an unbelievable third victory in just five attempts (Castroneves won the race in 2001 & 2002 and finished second to teammate Gil de Ferran in 2003).

With the #3 and #6 entries starting in the front two rows, they will have big shoes to fill on May 29th. Penske Racing entries have started on the front row 30 times; seven of which have resulted in victories; 15 of those front row starts have resulted in a top-three finish.


Both the #3 and #6 Marlboro Team Penske pit crews will be participating in the 2005 Checkers/Rally's Pit Stop Competition on Carburetion Day, Friday, May 27th at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

The pair of crews will join ten other entrants as they look to prove their skills as the best in the business.

The 12 Teams invited to this year's competition earned their place through one of three ways:

* Ten entrants qualified for the Challenge through their performance at previous IndyCar Series Races. Teams selected through this method include: Marlboro Team Penske (Helio Castroneves and Sam Hornish Jr.), Panther Racing (Tomas Scheckter), Andretti Green Racing (Bryan Herta, Tony Kanaan and Dan Wheldon), Chip Ganassi Racing (Scott Dixon), Rahal Letterman Racing (Buddy Rice and Vitor Meira) and Cheever Racing (Alex Barron).

* One entrant, Fernandez Racing (Scott Sharp), qualified for the Challenge based on its position in the IndyCar Series Entrant Points Standings entering the Indianapolis 500® Mile Race.

* One entrant, Andretti Green Racing (Dario Franchitti) qualified for the Challenge based on its participation in the Indianapolis 500 Mile Race Pit Stop Time Trials held on Wednesday, May 18th.

The competition will begin with eight pairs of teams squaring off against each another (determined by blind draw), while the other four receive a first-round bye. Each team will change the two right side tires with a maximum of three over-the-wall crew members. The fastest team in each pairing will advance to the next round, until the top two teams meet in the final round, with the winning team taking home a $30,000 bonus.

Since the inception of the Indy 500 Pit Stop Challenge in 1977, Penske Racing has won seven times -- the most of any Team. The last time Penske Racing won the competition was with Helio Castroneves in 2002. Penske Racing's other Indy 500 Pit Stop Challenge wins include: 1981 (Bobby Unser); 1982 & 1983 (Rick Mears); 1985, 1986 & 1988 (Danny Sullivan); and 2002 (Helio Castroneves).


Last Friday night, Roger Penske was presented with the 2005 Louis Meyer Award at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Hall of Fame/Old Timer's dinner at the Downtown Marriott in Indianapolis. The Award, named for the first three-time winner of the Indy 500, is given to those individuals who have significantly contributed to the success of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. First presented in 1991, the Award is permanently housed in the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum.


Be part of something big

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Scott Sharp , Helio Castroneves , Gil de Ferran , Dario Franchitti , Scott Dixon , Tony Kanaan , Bryan Herta , Alex Barron , Dan Wheldon , Rick Mears , Danny Sullivan , Buddy Rice , Chip Ganassi , Roger Penske , A.J. Foyt , Mark Donohue , Sam Hornish Jr. , Al Unser , Vitor Meira
Teams Panther Racing , Team Penske , Chip Ganassi Racing , Team Penske , CIP