IRL: Nashville: Team Penske pit notes

MARLBORO TEAM PENSKE PIT NOTES July 12, 2005 MARLBORO TEAM PENSKE HEADS TO MUSIC CITY This weekend, Marlboro Team Penske will compete in the Indy Racing League (IRL) IndyCar® Series' final night race of the year at Nashville Superspeedway and...

July 12, 2005


This weekend, Marlboro Team Penske will compete in the Indy Racing League (IRL) IndyCar® Series' final night race of the year at Nashville Superspeedway and will be looking to make it two wins under the lights in 2005. Two-time Indianapolis 500 winner Helio Castroneves took the checkered flag earlier this year in Richmond marking the 30 year-old's first victory of the season and first career win at night.

This weekend, both Castroneves and Marlboro Team Penske teammate Sam Hornish Jr. bring considerable past success to the table as the pair looks to add a victory to their list of accomplishments at Nashville Superspeedway. Collectively, the duo has earned four top-three finishes (Castroneves finished third in 2004 and 2003; Hornish Jr. finished second in 2004 and third in 2002). In addition, Castroneves has finished in the top-ten in each of his three appearances at the 1.33-mile oval and Hornish Jr. has finished in the top-ten in three of his four starts. Former Marlboro Team Penske driver Gil de Ferran gave the Team its first taste of victory in Nashville during the 2003 season. De Ferran's win in 2003 marked Marlboro Team Penske's first IRL victory at night. So how can the Team build on de Ferran's win?

"Gil's win definitely gives us more confidence, because there's no better measure of the effectiveness of the Team's set-up than a win," said Tom German, Race Engineer for Sam Hornish Jr. "We will definitely extrapolate some of the data we collected in 2003 and apply that to this year's event. While the data from 2003 will be helpful, we're also faced with a lot of other factors to consider this weekend. Nashville is a 1.33-mile oval with a little bit more banking than some of the other tracks on which we compete. There's also more traffic during the race, so it'll be important that we prepare well-handling cars for the drivers. The concrete surface is a little more aggressive than the asphalt we usually race on, which makes tire management and tire life more important as well. It'll be vital that both the engineers and the drivers take that into consideration. This in turn makes the set-up that much more important because we need to make sure the car maximizes tire wear."

As well as Castroneves has done in Nashville, you can be certain he'll be looking to "one-up" his past record this year as he sets his sights on the checkered flag and tries to make it two victories in the last three events. Not only that, but he'll also be looking to improve on one other stat he has acquired in Nashville: while Castroneves has earned two top-three finishes and completed 99.8% of the laps in his three starts at Nashville Superspeedway, it's is the only oval track on the IndyCar Series circuit where he has never led a lap.

"Nashville is always a very difficult race because the concrete surface is different than any other track we race on throughout the year," said Castroneves. "It will be a challenge to make sure we have the right set-up on the Marlboro Team Penske car for race day. The Team has been working so hard this season and I think we should be in good shape this weekend. We've finished in the top-three the last two years, so hopefully this will be our year to get to Victory Circle."

Standing in his way will be teammate Hornish Jr. who will also be looking to earn his second win this season (he won earlier this season in Phoenix) as well as his first win in Nashville.

"I always look forward to going to Nashville, because we seem to be very competitive there," said Hornish Jr. "It's one of the most unique tracks that we race on because of the concrete pavement rather than asphalt that we see at the other tracks. One of the most important things we'll have to remember is that Nashville is a tough track to pass on, so effective pit stops will be key to winning the race. The Marlboro Team Penske crew has been great in the pits all season, so I think that will definitely be an advantage. We've been close to getting a win at this track several times and hopefully this will be the year we take the checkered flag."


On Monday, Helio Castroneves was in his hometown of Coral Gables, FL hosting several media outlets at his new home in Coco Plum as he fulfilled a variety of interview requests.

The Brazilian filmed a segment for "Deco Drive" called "Half Baked." In these segments the local FOX affiliate magazine show goes to celebrities' homes and they cook their favorite dishes. Castroneves made a pasta dish as well as his traditional race day "shake," which he's named "The Tiger." The unique beverage includes milk, bananas, ice, honey and the key ingredient: Frosted Flakes. The segment is slated to air later this summer.

Castroneves also sat down with Telemundo for the national morning show "Hoy En El Mundo." As part of the segment, scheduled to air later in July, Castroneves and Ivan Kasanzew, the station's sports anchor, went out and hit tennis balls. Castroneves also fulfilled an interview request and photo shoot with Hola Magazine, a Spanish-language general interest magazine which provides features on international celebrities for a worldwide audience.


With seven IndyCar Series races coming up in the next nine weeks, the Marlboro Team Penske traveling crew was given last Thursday and Friday off to get some much needed rest and relaxation after back-to-back races in Richmond and Kansas. What does a member of the winningest Team in open-wheel history do with a fourday weekend? While some of the members of the crew simply rested and spent time with friends and family in their hometown of Reading, PA other Team members took to the road.

o Castroneves' crew chief Rick Rinaman took off on his Harley- Davidson motorcycle to tour the state of Pennsylvania.

o Marlboro Team Penske General Manager Clive Howell went to the Red Bull U.S. Grand Prix Motorcycle event at Laguna Seca Raceway.

o Lee Ryan, the inside rear tire changer for the #6 Marlboro Team Penske Dallara/Toyota went to his home state of Wisconsin to visit family and friends.

o Team coordinator Tim Lombardi had his annual "Summer Bash" at his home in Reading for friends, family and Team members.

o Tim Lambert, the deadman for the #3 Marlboro Team Penske Dallara/Toyota purchased a new Harley-Davidson Soft Tail motorcycle, which he spent the entire weekend riding.

o Chris Seaman, fueler for the #6 Marlboro Team Penske car of Sam Hornish Jr, spent time with his new son, Cody, born the night of the Richmond race.


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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Helio Castroneves , Gil de Ferran , Sam Hornish Jr.
Teams Team Penske