MARLBORO TEAM PENSKE PIT NOTES July 19, 2006 HORNISH JR. MEETS THE PRESIDENT As if winning the 2006 Indianapolis 500 mile race and fulfilling a lifelong dream wasn't enough to make his year amazing; Sam Hornish Jr. experienced yet another...
MARLBORO TEAM PENSKE PIT NOTES
July 19, 2006
HORNISH JR. MEETS THE PRESIDENT
As if winning the 2006 Indianapolis 500 mile race and fulfilling a lifelong dream wasn't enough to make his year amazing; Sam Hornish Jr. experienced yet another fruit of his labor yesterday when he had the opportunity to meet President George W. Bush.
Hornish Jr., his wife Crystal, Roger Penske, President of Penske Performance, Inc. Tim Cindric, the crew of the #6 Marlboro Team Penske Dallara/Honda and representatives from the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, including President and CEO Tony George, were at the White House on Tuesday to meet the President of the United States who recognized the Team for their win at the 90th running of the Indianapolis 500.
"You can't really prepare yourself to meet the President of the United States," said Hornish Jr. after the Team's meeting with President Bush. "There aren't too many people I come in contact with that I can't find the words to spit out of my mouth on what I want to tell them, but the President was one of them. I couldn't say everything I wanted to say. I got out the fact that I was honored to meet him, but as soon as his hand left mine and he moved on, I thought, 'Hey, dummy, you didn't say half the things you wanted to say to him,' so I was more critical of myself for not saying the things I wanted to. He was very complimentary of us winning the Indianapolis 500 and the style in which we won. He said a small-town boy from Ohio was able to accomplish a dream, and seldom do people who have dreams like that get to accomplish them. It was a pretty big compliment."
In addition to meeting the President, Hornish Jr. and the rest of the group participated in a photo opportunity with him before presenting President Bush with an autographed replica of his helmet and a Penske Racing teamjacket.
Following the meeting with President Bush, Hornish Jr. met with the media outside of the White House before participating in a satellite media tour and an "Ask the White House" internet chat.
Later that afternoon, Hornish Jr. went to Capitol Hill where he met with Congressman Paul E. Gillmor, who represents Ohio's 5th Congressional District, where Hornish resides.
Earlier this summer, as a result of Hornish Jr.'s accomplishment of winning the Indianapolis 500, Congressman Gillmor issued a resolution stating that "the House of Representatives recognized Sam Hornish Jr. for his victory in the Indianapolis 500."
Gillmor also arranged a meeting and photo opportunity between Hornish . Jr and Speaker of the House J. Dennis Hastert .
MARLBORO TEAM PENSKE HEADS TO MILWAUKEE
Marlboro Team Penske will look to find victory lane for the seventh time this season at the historic Milwaukee Mile at the ABC Supply Co./A.J. Foyt Indy 225 this weekend. Not only will Helio Castroneves and Sam Hornish Jr. each be looking to win a Series-leading fourth race this weekend, but they will also be hoping to earn valuable Championship points as the 2006 season is rapidly eclipsing and only sixteen points separate the top four drivers.
Both Marlboro Team Penske drivers have found success at the one-mile oval as Hornish Jr. returns this weekend as the defending winner. Last year, the 27 year-old Defiance, OH native started from the pole and led a racehigh 123 laps on his way to his second win of 2005. Hornish Jr. finished third in his first appearance at the track in 2004 after starting fourth.
"The Milwaukee Mile is one of my favorite tracks," said Hornish Jr. "The short straight-aways and flat turns make passing very difficult. But with a good handling car and a little bit of patience, hopefully we'll be able to bring the Marlboro Team Penske car into victory lane for the second year in a row. My mom is originally from Milwaukee, so we have a lot of family that comes out to the race, and it's always good to go there and be able to see them."
While teammate Helio Castroneves has never found victory in Milwaukee, he has had his fair share of strong results. The Brazilian earned his first career Indy car podium finish in Milwaukee when he finished second in 1998. Castroneves also earned his first career Indy car pole at the Milwaukee Mile in 1999. In his six appearances at the track, Castroneves has started in the top-five four times.
"The Milwaukee Mile is a pretty special place for me because it's where I scored my first pole position (1999) and first podium finish (second in 1998)," said Castroneves. "It's a really challenging track because it's only a one-mile oval and there's no banking. These characteristics make it drastically different than any other track on the circuit. Marlboro Team Penske has traditionally been strong on short ovals, so hopefully we'll be able to continue this trend, and I'll be able to bring home my first victory at Milwaukee this weekend."
DEFIANCE PREPARES FOR SAM HORNISH JR. DAY
Next Wednesday, Sam Hornish Jr. will be honored at "Sam Hornish Jr. Day" in his hometown of Defiance, OH. After he won the Indianapolis 500, Bob Armstrong, the Mayor of Defiance, announced that July 26th will be "Sam Hornish Jr. Day" in order to celebrate his accomplishment. Wednesday's festivities will include a parade featuring antique Indy cars, representation from the Napoleon and Archbold, OH communities, a Penske Racing entry as well as a local Shriners entry. In addition, after the parade there will be a public ceremony where Hornish Jr. will speak to the community as well as sign autographs.