IRL: Team Penske pit notes 2003-10-30

Marlboro Team Penske Pit Notes October 30, 2003 Hornish Completes First Test With Marlboro Team Penske Two-Time IndyCar Series® Champion Sam Hornish Jr., the newest addition to Marlboro Team Penske, made his debut behind the wheel of the ...

Marlboro Team Penske Pit Notes
October 30, 2003

Hornish Completes First Test With Marlboro Team Penske

Two-Time IndyCar Series® Champion Sam Hornish Jr., the newest addition to Marlboro Team Penske, made his debut behind the wheel of the #6 Marlboro Team Penske Dallara/Toyota last week at Indianapolis Motor Speedway at a Firestone tire test.

Sporting a new, clean-shaven look, the Defiance, OH resident had his first opportunity to take a few laps around the Brickyard under the new tutelage of Roger Penske, the winningest owner in open-wheel history.

"There were no orders (to shave), but it's a new day," said Hornish of his new look. "I went back and looked at the pictures of the previous Championships and both times we won, I was clean shaven. I figured maybe I jinxed myself at Texas this year."

Last week's test was a good chance for Hornish to acquaint himself with the Team as well as the Toyota engine. "I'm just feeling everything out right now, but I'm pretty excited about the progress that we've made," continued Hornish. "I want Marlboro Team Penske to feel like they've made the right decision. I try not to get too overwhelmed. This is what I've always wanted to do and where I've wanted to be, so I'm happy about that. I'm excited at the chance to try and do a good job."

Aside from Hornish having the chance to drive the Marlboro Team Penske machine; Team Owner Roger Penske had the opportunity to see his newest driver on the track. "His approach is cautious, but direct," said Penske after the day of testing. "I think he's very knowledgeable about the car. He communicates what the car is doing like a pro - he's very calm. We're one Team, we don't have a "number one" or "number two" driver. What I want is for both drivers to feel that there is 200 percent support for each of them. We wanted to let Sam know that his joining the Team is a big deal for us. It was a big decision for him and we have to make sure we live up to his expectations."

Also on hand for the Firestone tire test was 2001 & 2002 Indianapolis 500 winner and Hornish's new Marlboro Team Penske teammate, Helio Castroneves. "I think Sam will be an awesome addition to Marlboro Team Penske," said Castroneves. "I'm looking forward to working with him next season. He's a great competitor and he'll bring some good information to the Team."

De Ferran And Castroneves Fly With The Blue Angels

Earlier this week, Gil de Ferran and Helio Castroneves had the unique opportunity to fly with the Blue Angels. The pair of Brazilians went to Naval Air Station Pensacola in Florida, where they met the Blue Angels and watched them practice. After the practice session, the two had their own Flight Briefs before going on individual flights.

While the two are certainly used to speed, being up in the plane was a bit different than behind the wheel of the Marlboro Team Penske Dallara/Toyotas. In fact, it was a little too much for Castroneves. "It's like they say - it was a unique experience and the opportunity of a lifetime," said Castroneves. "The G's were unbelievable. I got sick twice and I probably would have more, but they ran out of bags. But seriously, I had a great time - those guys are amazing pilots and incredibly talented. It was a lot fun, but I think I'll stay on the ground."

"It was one of the best and most unforgettable experiences I've ever had," said de Ferran. "I had a fantastic time. When the pilot pulled 7.5 G's, I nearly blacked out. Flying with the Blue Angels was like nothing I've ever done before, not even driving 241 miles per hour. I mean we did all sorts of maneuvers -we did loops, inverted flying, dive-bombing, we shot straight up in the air. If I had the opportunity to do it again, I would - again and again and again. I absolutely loved it."

Gil De Ferran Day In Ft. Lauderdale

Gil de Ferran was at Esplanade Park in his hometown of Ft. Lauderdale last Thursday as he was recognized for his Indianapolis 500 win earlier this year. Mayor Jim Naugle presented the 2003 Indianapolis 500 winner with the key to the city of Ft. Lauderdale and unveiled a commemorative brick on the Riverwalk Sports Walk of Fame in his honor.

Castroneves Voted One Of The Top 25 Hottest Bachelors

Helio Castroneves has been selected as one of People en Espanol's "25 Hottest Bachelors" for this year. The special issue will be hitting newsstands next March. The 28 year-old Brazilian recently participated in a photo shoot at his home in South Beach for the issue.

"What an honor to be considered one of the 25 hottest bachelors," said Castroneves after learning that he was named for the issue. "I guess when you do something that you love, you have passion. And when you have passion, that's sexy!"

Marlboro Lap Leader Award

This past Saturday night at the season-ending banquet at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Ina Broeman, Category Manager, Marlboro, presented Scott Dixon with a check for $20,000 for leading the most laps in the 2003 season (748 laps led in 14 different races).

The Marlboro Lap Leader Award program was designed to recognize the lap leader at each of the 16 races on the 2003 IndyCar Series circuit. In addition to the season-ending $20,000 bonus, the driver who led the most laps at each race received a check for $7,500 and the lap leader of the Indianapolis 500 received an additional $50,000.

Over the season $182,500 was awarded to six drivers who led the most laps on race day. The following drivers were lap leader winners in 2003:

* Tomas Scheckter (Indianapolis, Texas, Chicago and Fontana - $72,500)
* Scott Dixon (Pikes Peak, Richmond and year-end bonus - $35,000)
* Gil de Ferran (Miami, Kansas and Texas- $22,500)
* Tony Kanaan (Phoenix, Japan and Nashville - $22,500)
* Helio Castroneves (St. Louis and Nazareth - $15,000)
* Sam Hornish Jr. (Michigan and Kentucky - $15,000)


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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Tomas Scheckter , Helio Castroneves , Gil de Ferran , Scott Dixon , Tony Kanaan , Roger Penske , Sam Hornish Jr.
Teams Team Penske