Marlboro Team Penske Pit Notes August 17, 2005 MARLBORO TEAM PENSKE HEADS FOR THE ROCKIES This weekend, Marlboro Team Penske will join the Indy Racing League (IRL) IndyCarÂ® Series at Pikes Peak International Raceway for the Honda Indy 225....
Marlboro Team Penske Pit Notes
August 17, 2005
MARLBORO TEAM PENSKE HEADS FOR THE ROCKIES
This weekend, Marlboro Team Penske will join the Indy Racing League (IRL) IndyCar® Series at Pikes Peak International Raceway for the Honda Indy 225. The event will mark the fourth and final race in which the IndyCar Series will compete on a track one mile or less. In each of this season's three previous races on short ovals, a Marlboro Team Penske driver has found his way to Victory Circle. Two-time IndyCar Series Champion Sam Hornish Jr. won in Phoenix and Milwaukee; and two-time Indianapolis 500 winner Helio Castroneves prevailed in Richmond.
The Team will be looking to make it four for four this weekend as they go to Colorado. Following is a look at the success that Marlboro Team Penske has found on the short ovals this year:
* Three wins
* Led 52% of all laps (351 out of 675) -- Castroneves led a racehigh 112 laps in Richmond and Hornish Jr. led a race-high 123 laps in Milwaukee
* One 1-2 finish -- Castroneves finished second in Phoenix, which coupled with Hornish Jr.'s victory, marked Marlboro Team Penske's seventh 1-2 finish in IndyCar competition and Penske Racing's 34th 1-2 finish in its open-wheel history;
8 Two front row sweeps -- Hornish Jr. won the pole in Richmond and Milwaukee, Castroneves started second. In addition to their short oval success this year, Marlboro Team Penske has also had its fair share of accomplishments at Pikes Peak International Raceway.
In the six starts the Team has made at the one mile oval, they have achieved the following:
* Three top-three finishes including a 1-2 finish in 2002 when former driver Gil de Ferran won from the pole after leading a race-high 217 laps.
* One front row sweep -- teammate Castroneves started second in 2002 marking the Team's second front row sweep that year, the 1-2 finish made Marlboro Team Penske the first Team in IndyCar Series history to earn two 1-2 finishes in one season (the Team earned a third 1-2 finish later that season in St. Louis)
* Five top-five starts
* Six top-ten finishes.
ON THE ROAD AGAIN
When the checkered flag dropped last Sunday on the AMBER Alert Portal Indy 300 at Kentucky Speedway, Reading, PA-based Marlboro Team Penske was already looking ahead to the next two races at Pikes Peak and Infineon Raceway. Not only will the IndyCar Series be competing at two tracks in the western United States, but the second of those races will be on a permanent road course. This new dimension will force Marlboro Team Penske to prepare not only for two weeks on the road, but will also need to completely change the set-up of the cars to accommodate for the road course
The Team plane arrived home late last Sunday night and the crew was back in Penske Racing's race shop early Monday morning to begin preparation for this weekend's race.
Monday and Tuesday were spent working on the cars and the Team transporters left mid-morning on Wednesday to make the trip to Colorado. In addition to the equipment necessary for this weekend's race, the Team also had to make sure that the transporters were stocked with the necessary parts for the following event at Infineon Raceway as the Team will not have the luxury of returning to the race shop before the next race.
When converting the cars from an oval to a road course set-up there are several things that need to be changed, so it's important that Marlboro Team Penske took all of that into account before the transporters left for their two-week journey. The identical Marlboro Team Penske Dallara/Toyotas will have to be outfitted with different brakes and brake ducts as well as a modified transmission to run at Infineon Raceway. In addition, the Team will have to reconfigure the cockpit of the car to account for the left and right turns and change the uprights. The Team will travel to Colorado Springs on Friday morning and go directly to the track to finalize preparations for this weekend's event.
As soon as the race concludes on Sunday night, the Team will remain at the track and begin switching the Marlboro Team Penske Dallara/Toyotas over to their road course configurations in preparation for their run at Infineon Raceway for the IndyCar Series' permanent road course debut on August 28th.
The Team will work at Pikes Peak Sunday night and all of Monday before the transporters depart on Tuesday for Sonoma. The remainder of the Team will fly to northern California Tuesday afternoon and will have Wednesday off while the transporters make their way to the track. Preparations will resume on Thursday as the Team makes the final adjustments to prepare for the three-day race weekend.
RAIN CANCELS MARLBORO POLE AWARD IN KENTUCKY
Due to the rain in Kentucky this past weekend, qualifying was cancelled and the lineup for the AMBER Alert Portal Indy 300 was determined by practice times. As a result, the Marlboro Pole Award was not presented during the race weekend. The $10,000 bonus for the Kentucky pole, will be rolled into a year-end fund and presented to the driver who scores the most poles this season. As of now, the end-of-year bonus is at $20,000.