Marlboro Team Penske Pit Notes July 20, 2004 MARLBORO TEAM PENSKE HAD SOLID SHOWING IN TENNESSEE Sam Hornish Jr. and Helio Castroneves earned Marlboro Team Penske a second and third place finish respectively at the Firestone Indy...
Marlboro Team Penske Pit Notes
July 20, 2004
MARLBORO TEAM PENSKE HAD SOLID SHOWING IN TENNESSEE
Sam Hornish Jr. and Helio Castroneves earned Marlboro Team Penske a second and third place finish respectively at the Firestone Indy 200 Saturday night at Nashville Superspeedway giving the Team its fifth and sixth top-three finishes this season.
The second place effort marked Hornish Jr.'s third top-five finish of the season and his third top-ten finish in the last four races. His performance was also his second top-three result in four starts in Nashville (he finished third in 2002). More importantly, Hornish Jr. catapulted from eighth in the 2004 Indy Racing League (IRL) IndyCar® Series point standings to fifth with 200 points.
For Marlboro Team Penske teammate Castroneves, his third place showing marked his fourth top-three result this season as well as his third consecutive top-ten finish. In addition, this was his second top-three appearance in three starts at Nashville Superspeedway (he finished third in 2003).
MILWAUKEE HOLDS SPECIAL MEMORIES FOR BOTH CASTRONEVES AND HORNISH JR.
After a successful campaign in the final night race of the season in Nashville, Marlboro Team Penske will head to Milwaukee this weekend for the Menards A.J. Foyt Indy 225 at The Milwaukee Mile.
2001 & 2002 Indianapolis 500 winner Helio Castroneves is no stranger to the Wisconsin area as he has had a great deal of success on the
1-mile oval when he competed there from 1998-2001 in the CART Series. In 1998, Castroneves scored his first Indy car podium appearance when he finished second and earned his first Indy car pole in 1999.
Furthermore, in the 12 short oval starts the 29 year-old Brazilian has made since joining the IRL full-time in 2002, he's earned eight top-three finishes, including a third-place finish this season in Richmond; wins in Nazareth and St. Louis in 2003; and a win in Nazareth in 2002. He's also earned three poles including Richmond this season, St. Louis in 2003 and Phoenix in 2002.
In those 12 events, Marlboro Team Penske has earned 16 top-three finishes, including five victories and seven poles.
"Milwaukee holds some great memories for me," explained Castroneves. "It was the place where I got my first Indy car podium finish as well as my first Indy car pole, so this track will always have a special place in my heart. Marlboro Team Penske had a good test here a few weeks ago, and we were able to learn a lot about the IndyCar Series package, so I'm looking forward to this weekend. The track is fairly flat with not much banking, which is challenging for both the drivers and the engineers as they try to get an effective set-up for the car. I've had some good results in Milwaukee in the past, and it will be fun to come back this season after being away for three years."
Sunday will mark 24 year-old Sam Hornish Jr.'s IndyCar Series debut at the track. While this will mark his first time on the oval in an Indy car, he has competed in Milwaukee with the Toyota Atlantic Series in 1999, where he finished eighth after starting seventh.
Although he may not have raced a lot at the Milwaukee Mile, Hornish Jr. certainly has some hometown ties to the area. Hornish Jr.'s mother, Jo Ellen, is from Milwaukee and the Hornish family still has a lot of relatives in the area. Many of his family and friends will be on-hand to cheer for the two-time Series champion along with fans from his hometown of Defiance, OH.
"I'm really looking forward to this weekend's event at The Milwaukee Mile," said Hornish Jr. "I've never raced an IndyCar there, I've only raced there in the Toyota Atlantic Series. Marlboro Team Penske ran well at the open test in June so hopefully we can have another strong finish like this past weekend in Nashville. Personally, this race means a lot to me as my mom is from Milwaukee and we still have family there. One of the first dates my mom and dad went on was at the Milwaukee Mile so it would be great to win there. Plus, two bus loads of folks from Defiance are coming to the race so there should be a lot of people cheering us on."
VITOR MEIRA WINS MARLBORO LAP LEADER AWARD
Rahal-Letterman Racing driver Vitor Meira led the most laps last weekend after being at the top of the leader board for 113 of the 200 laps on his way to a twelfth place finish at the Firestone Indy 200. Meira earned three extra points for leading the most laps and sits in tenth place in the IndyCar Series Championship point standings with 170 points. Meira will be presented with his Marlboro Lap Leader Award check for $7,500 during the pre-race ceremonies at the Menards A.J. Foyt Indy 225 at The Milwaukee Mile on July 25th.
In addition, Mike King of the IMS Radio Network 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. King, who guessed that Meira would lead 112 of the scheduled 200 laps in the race, won a MOMO Design Essenziale Watch.