Marlboro Team Penske Pit Notes April 20, 2006 MARLBORO TEAM PENSKE LOOKS FOR FIRST WIN IN JAPAN Marlboro Team Penske will be in Japan for this weekend's Indy Japan 300, the third Indy Racing League (IRL) IndyCarÂ® Series race of the 2006...
Marlboro Team Penske Pit Notes
April 20, 2006
MARLBORO TEAM PENSKE LOOKS FOR FIRST WIN IN JAPAN
Marlboro Team Penske will be in Japan for this weekend's Indy Japan 300, the third Indy Racing League (IRL) IndyCar® Series race of the 2006 season. The outlook for this weekend's event is bright as both drivers have been very competitive in the two IndyCar Series races run to date.
So far this season, Marlboro Team Penske drivers have led the most laps in each of the two IndyCar Series races run - Hornish Jr. led 145 laps in Homestead and Castroneves led 40 in St. Petersburg. In addition, Castroneves led for 42 laps in Homestead and Hornish led 2 laps in St. Petersburg giving the Marlboro Team Penske drivers a total of 229 laps led out of a possible 300 laps (76%).
Additionally, Hornish Jr. is tied with Scott Dixon for the best average qualifying position (2.5) after he and teammate Castroneves swept the front row in Miami, and Castroneves leads the IndyCar Series in average finishing position with 1.5.
While the Team has never won in the Land of the Rising Sun, they have had some success at Twin Ring Motegi. Last season, Hornish Jr. won the pole and Castroneves won the pole in 2001 when he was competing in the CART Series. Castroneves also earned a third place finish in 2004 and finished second in 2001 after leading a race-high 84 laps. Hornish Jr. has finished in the top-ten in two of his three appearances in Japan and will be looking to add a victory on Saturday.
"I have always liked going to Motegi because it's so different than the other tracks on which we compete," said Hornish Jr. "It's challenging because both ends of the circuit are so different. We got the pole there last year, but a bit of a handling problem prevented us from finishing at the front of the pack. Hopefully, this year we won't have that problem and we'll be able to go for the win. The important thing will be for us to continue to earn solid points, so we have an opportunity to be there at the end of the season in pursuit of the Championship for Marlboro Team Penske."
"I always like racing in Japan and I'm really looking forward to this weekend," said Castroneves. "Motegi is a challenging place because turns one and two are so different from turns three and four. The Marlboro Team Penske cars have been very strong during the first two races, so hopefully we can build upon that momentum this weekend. Now that we're part of the Honda family, hopefully we'll be able to win a race in their backyard. We've been so close so many times; we'll definitely be looking to make it happen this year."
CASTRONEVES AND HORNISH JR.: JET SET RACING
As if a trip to the Far East were not enough for Marlboro Team Penske drivers Helio Castroneves and Sam Hornish Jr., the duo will also join Roger Penske at this weekend's NASCAR Nextel Cup race at Phoenix International Raceway to support Penske Racing South's team of Ryan Newman and Kurt Busch.
The pair will accompany Penske on his plane directly after the Indy Japan 300 on Saturday afternoon to fly back to the United States just in time to catch the race in Phoenix on Saturday night.
CASTRONEVES - TEST DRIVER
What's better than testing a Ferrari FXX on a closed track? How about testing five other exotic cars? Last week, Castroneves was given the chance of a lifetime when he was able to test Roger Penske's Ferrari FXX on the road track at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
Due to his on-track expertise, Maxim Magazine asked Castroneves to participate in their annual "Super Car Test." As part of the test, Castroneves will be driving five exotic cars around the road course at Homestead-Miami Speedway to provide his input for the piece slated to run in the magazine's August issue.
HORNISH JR. WATCHES THE ROAD
Earlier this month Sam Hornish Jr. was named spokesperson for the Ohio Workzone Safety Coalition's 2006 safety campaign designed to reduce motor accidents in Ohio by encouraging drivers to drive slower through road construction sites. Hornish Jr. will be featured in public service announcements across his home state of Ohio, which will promote safe driving in construction zones statewide. "Too many lives are lost each year because people are not slowing down when they enter a work zone," said Hornish Jr. "Traveling through construction work zones is like driving under the yellow flag, everyone needs to exercise caution. The safety of drivers and workers in highway work zones is critically important to all Ohio motorists."