IRL: Richmond: Team Penske preview

Marlboro Team Penske Pit Notes June 20, 2006 MARLBORO TEAM PENSKE DEFENDS IN RICHMOND This weekend, Marlboro Team Penske will be in Richmond, VA to compete in the seventh Indy Racing League (IRL) IndyCar® Series event on the 2006 ...

Marlboro Team Penske Pit Notes
June 20, 2006


This weekend, Marlboro Team Penske will be in Richmond, VA to compete in the seventh Indy Racing League (IRL) IndyCar® Series event on the 2006 schedule.

With the success the Team has had thus far this season, they are optimistic about Saturday's race as Helio Castroneves returns to the ¾-mile oval as the defending winner after leading a race-high 112 laps under the lights in 2005.

Following is a look at the results Marlboro Team Penske has been able to achieve in four years of competition at Richmond International Raceway:

One victory (Castroneves in 2005)
Two front row sweeps (2002 and 2005)
Three poles (de Ferran -- 2002; Castroneves -- 2004; Hornish Jr. -- 2005)
Five top-three finishes
435 laps led (46% of laps run in competition)

"Richmond International Raceway is a fantastic track, and I have a lot of great memories from our win in 2005," said Castroneves. "We have a little extra practice time this year, which is going to be nice for those of us who weren't with Honda last season. The extra track time will help us determine the proper gearing for the Marlboro Team Penske car, which is very important on short tracks like this. Hopefully, we'll be able to pick right up where we left off and bring home another win in Philip Morris USA's home town."

Teammate and 2006 Indianapolis 500 winner Hornish Jr. started from the pole last year, and led 42 laps before being involved in a single car accident on lap 165 placing him 18th. Hornish Jr. has earned three top-five finishes in five years of competition at Richmond International Raceway including a victory in 2002.

"Richmond is the smallest track we run at, but it's also one of the most fun to drive because it's so challenging," said Hornish Jr. "We go around this track in roughly 15 seconds, and it seems like you're constantly in traffic. I always look forward to going there especially because it's the home of our sponsor Philip Morris USA. We've had some success in Richmond in the past and hopefully we'll be able to finish a lot better this year than we did last year so we can bring home another Marlboro Team Penske victory."


Last week, Congressman Paul E. Gillmor (R-Ohio) introduced a resolution to honor Sam Hornish Jr.'s accomplishment of winning the 90th running of the Indianapolis 500 mile race. The Napoleon, OH resident lives in Ohio's 5th Congressional District, which Gillmor represents and recently attended the Lincoln-Hayes dinner in Bowling Green, OH as a guest of the Congressman.

Congressman Gillmor issued a resolution stating that "the House of Representatives recognizes Sam Hornish Jr. for his victory in the Indianapolis 500."

"Sam Hornish, Jr. is not just Indy's champion, he's Ohio's champion. Sam was raised in Defiance, went to school in Archbold, and even as he has become a national name, he continues to live in Napoleon," Gillmor said. "I admire Sam's leadership in the community, his charity work and his commitment to being a good role model for our next generation. He is a modest leader and deserves to be honored for his win at Indy."


Last Friday, Sam Hornish Jr. hit the links with his dad and family members as they played in a local fundraising golf tournament benefiting the Defiance Regional Medical Center Foundation. Hornish Jr.'s wife Crystal served as the chairperson of the tournament's Auction Committee which set out to raise $15,000 for local charities. After the last dollar was counted the event was able to raise $34,000 for the Foundation. Auction items included an autographed replica Sam Hornish Jr. helmet as well as a pace car ride from Sam at the IndyCar Series event later this summer at Michigan International Speedway.


During his recent weekend off from racing, Helio Castroneves took time out to support his favorite teams participating in the World Cup and NBA Finals.

It should be no surprise that the Sao Paulo, Brazil native is pulling for the blue, green and gold. Like many of his fellow countrymen, Castroneves grew up playing soccer, but quit playing competitively to pursue racing.

While he may not suit up any longer, he definitely has made a point to support his country as they play in the World Cup. Last Tuesday, Castroneves watched Brazil's opening match from the press room at Kansas Speedway while still in his firesuit following the league's open test.

"We finished the test early because we were out of tires, so after I finished talking to my engineer about the car, my first question, was 'where can I watch the game?'" Castroneves said. "I heard that there was a TV in the track media center, so I went in there and watched the rest of the game with some of the journalists who were still around."

The Miami resident is also pulling for his home team to win the NBA Finals. Castroneves doesn't claim to know everything about basketball, but he's recently been caught up in the fever surrounding the Heat, and he's pulling for his friend Shaquille O'Neal to win another NBA Championship. Castroneves met O'Neal several years ago, as the pair work with the same agent. Since then, Castroneves has attended several games as his guest, and earlier this spring, attended Shaq's exclusive 34th birthday party.

Yesterday, he attended Game 5 at American Airlines Arena as Shaq's guest, and sat courtside alongside O'Neal's mother.

"It was an unbelievable game, and sitting courtside during the NBA Finals is something I'll never forget. Nearly everyone in the arena was wearing white and making a lot of noise, which really created an electric atmosphere. The fact that the team has come back to win three games in a row in such a dramatic fashion is really amazing. We only need one more, so I'm keeping my fingers crossed that they can get the job done in Dallas," Castroneves said.


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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Helio Castroneves , Philip Morris , Sam Hornish Jr. , Sam Hornis
Teams Team Penske