IRL: Richmond: Team Penske Pit Notes

Marlboro Team Penske Pit Notes MARLBORO TEAM PENSKE TO RACE UNDER THE LIGHTS IN RICHMOND Marlboro Team Penske heads to Virginia this weekend for Saturday night's bullring shootout at Richmond International Raceway (RIR) at the Indy Racing ...

Marlboro Team Penske Pit Notes


Marlboro Team Penske heads to Virginia this weekend for Saturday night's bullring shootout at Richmond International Raceway (RIR) at the Indy Racing League (IRL) IndyCar® Series SunTrust Indy Challenge. Coming off of two top-five finishes two weeks ago in the Lone Star State (Sam Hornish Jr. finished second and Helio Castroneves finished fifth); the Team will be looking for another strong finish at the seventh stop on the 2005 tour.

In preparation for the upcoming race, the Team completed a one-day test at the 0.75 mile oval on Friday, June 17. Both Hornish and Castroneves participated running a total of 427 laps. At the end of the day, the #3 Marlboro Team Penske Dallara/Toyota made contact with the wall between turns 1 & 2. Extensive medical exams came back negative meaning there are no broken bones. Castroneves suffered a deep shoulder bruise but will compete in Saturday evening's race.

"I'm not sure what happened, but the car went straight while exiting turn 1. It was an unfortunate way for us to end the day as the test was going quite well," said Castroneves. "I feel bad for everyone at Marlboro Team Penske as we now have quite a bit of work to do to get ready for the race. On the positive side, both Sam and I seem to have good set-ups and I'm looking forward to returning to Richmond."

Marlboro Team Penske has earned a fair amount of success competing in Richmond over the past three years as the Team has earned two poles (Gil de Ferran in 2002 and Castroneves in 2004) as well as four top-three finishes. In addition, Castroneves has earned two top-three finishes in the last two years, so he'll be looking to score his first win at RI R and his first win of the 2005 season.

Adding to an already solid Marlboro Team Penske history at Richmond will be twotime IndyCar Series Champion Sam Hornish Jr. In 2002, Hornish Jr. started third and led the final two laps as he clinched his third victory of the season. He would go on to win two more times that year in Chicago and Texas and earn his second consecutive IndyCar Series Championship. In his four starts at RIR, Hornish Jr. has earned three top-five finishes and completed 99.6% of the possible laps.

"I'm excited for this weekend's race in Richmond," said Hornish Jr. "I like the track a lot and we've had some pretty good runs there. It'll be important to be careful at a track as short as this because we'll be in traffic all night, so we'll have to be smart. I think we'll be fast there this year and we'll definitely be looking for the win. We have a lot of interest in the area as well because it's the backyard of our sponsor Philip Morris, so we're always looking to finish strong for all the folks that come out to support us."

MARLBORO TEAM PENSKE -- LIFE ON THE ROAD While there may be only 14 days between the IndyCar Series race in Texas on June 11th and this weekend's SunTrust Indy Challenge at Richmond International Raceway, Marlboro Team Penske has not stopped to take a break from their busy schedule. Over the course of these two weeks, the Team will participate in two races, two tests, two media days and a sponsor employee day; not to mention all of the preparation involved in getting ready for Saturday night's race.

* Saturday, June 11th -- Marlboro Team Penske competes in the Bombardier Learjet 500 at Texas Motor Speedway. Hornish Jr. finishes second and Castroneves finishes fifth.

* Wednesday, June 15th -- Castroneves and Hornish Jr. participate in the IRL open test at Watkins Glen to prepare for the IndyCar Series debut at the track on September 25th. The Team runs just over 100 laps or nearly 350 miles.

* Friday, June 17th -- The Team participates in a Toyota test at Richmond International Raceway (postponed from a rainout on June 3rd ). Monday June 20th -- Hornish Jr. travels to Washington D.C. for a media day.

* Tuesday, June 21st -- Hornish Jr. spends the day meeting with journalists in the Washington D.C. area to promote the upcoming Richmond race.

* Wednesday, June 22nd -- Castroneves and Hornish Jr. participate in an employee day at Philip Morris USA Richmond, the Team's primary sponsor.

* Thursday, June 23rd -- Castroneves and Hornish Jr. participate in a media day at Richmond International Raceway.

* Friday, June 24th -- Marlboro Team Penske practices and qualifies for the SunTrust Indy Challenge in Richmond.

* Saturday, June 25th -- Marlboro Team Penske competes in the IndyCar Series' seventh race of the 2005 season, the SunTrust Indy Challenge.


Two weeks ago, Sam Hornish hosted the 1st Annual Sam Hornish Jr. Celebrity Bowling Tournament to help kick-off the Bombardier Learjet 500 race weekend at Texas Motor Speedway. The tournament raised $70,000 for the Texas Chapter of Speedway Charities, which benefits more than 150 charitable organizations throughout Northern Texas.

On-hand to support the cause was fellow IndyCar Series drivers Helio Castroneves, Bryan Herta, Vitor Meira and A.J. Foyt IV as well as former IndyCar driver Johnny Rutherford and IRL President and COO Brian Barnhart. In addition, other celebrity bowlers included Dallas Cowboys Terry Glenn, Keith Davis and Patrick Crayton; ABC/ESPN's Jamie Little; NASCAR Craftsman Truck drivers Brendan Gaughan and David Starr; Olympic Gold Medalist Dana Vollmer; and Professional Bowlers Association star Danny Wiseman.

"When we first talked about doing the bowling tournament, I thought it was a good idea and just hoped we could get some folks to show up, have fun and raise money for charity," said Hornish Jr. "The event completely surpassed all of my expectations. I thought for an inaugural event it was very successful, and, most importantly, we were able to raise $70,000 for Speedway Charities. I really want to thank the sponsors, celebrities, and everyone that attended, as well as all the folks who worked so hard to put it together. I look forward to next year's event and raising even more money."


Panther Racing's Tomas Scheckter won the Marlboro Pole Award at the Bombardier Learjet 500 at Texas Motor Speedway after turning a qualifying lap of 213.847 mph (24.494 seconds). For his achievement, Scheckter was presented with a $10,000 check from Philip Morris USA during a post-qualifying ceremony.

In addition, Anthony Andro of the Ft. Worth Star-Telegram was the winner of the Marlboro Pole Award Media Contest. During each IRL event, journalists have the opportunity to enter an on-site contest to predict who will win the pole, and what that driver's pole speed will be during qualifying for a given race. Andro, who guessed that Scheckter would win the pole with a lap of 213.800 mph, won a MOMO Design watch.


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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Tomas Scheckter , David Starr , Gil de Ferran , A.J. Foyt IV , Bryan Herta , Brendan Gaughan , Philip Morris , Jamie Little , Brian Barnhart , Sam Hornish Jr. , Sam Hornis , Vitor Meira
Teams Panther Racing , Team Penske