Marlboro Team Penske Pit Notes April 14, 2005 MARLBORO TEAM PENSKE TESTS AT INFINEON RACEWAY Marlboro Team Penske drivers Helio Castroneves and Sam Hornish Jr. tested at Infineon Raceway in Sonoma, CA on Tuesday and Wednesday as part of the ...
Marlboro Team Penske Pit Notes
April 14, 2005
MARLBORO TEAM PENSKE TESTS AT INFINEON RACEWAY
Marlboro Team Penske drivers Helio Castroneves and Sam Hornish Jr. tested at Infineon Raceway in Sonoma, CA on Tuesday and Wednesday as part of the IndyCar Series’ open test. A total of 18 drivers representing eight different teams participated in the two-day test in preparation for the IndyCar Series first permanent road course event at the track on August 28th.
Castroneves topped the speed charts on the first day with a fast lap of 105.418 mph (1 minute, 17.1782 seconds), while teammate Hornish Jr. posted the ninth quickest lap at 103.670 mph (1 minute, 18.4799 seconds). On Wednesday, Castroneves was second fastest with a speed of 108.307 mph (1 minute, 16.4497 seconds).
“This is an exciting place to run,” said Castroneves. “The track is challenging because it has high speed corners, low speed corners and elevation changes, which all make it tough on both the drivers and the engineers. It’s tricky to get the right set-up here and you really have to put all the corners together to get it right. We learned a lot over the last two days and I think we’ve got a solid baseline for when we come back in August. It will make for a great show and I’m sure the fans will enjoy all the action on the track.”
Hornish Jr. was running well on Wednesday, before an incident midway into the second session ended his day. He was able to record the 14th fastest lap of the day before retiring with a speed of 106.440 mph (1 minute, 17.7900 seconds).
“We were trying to make adjustments to improve the handling of the car on the low speed turns and I ended up getting loose in the faster turns,” explained Hornish Jr. “The back end came around on me and I spun into the wall ending our day.
Obviously, I’m disappointed that we didn’t get in a full day of testing, but we were able to make some adjustments to the Marlboro Team Penske car this morning and found a little more speed. We were definitely headed in the right direction; now we just have to keep focused on what we need to do when we come back in August.”
FROM SEA TO SHINING SEA
Marlboro Team Penske has been hard at work the past few weeks not only competing on the Indy Racing League (IRL) IndyCar® Series circuit, but planning for future events across the country and the world. Between March 29th and May 1st the Team will have competed in two races and participated in three separate test sessions in five different states and two countries. Here’s a look at the journey:
March 29 -- three transporters depart from Penske Racing’s headquarters in Reading, PA. Two of the transporters head to St Petersburg, Florida where Marlboro Team Penske is competing in the IndyCar Series’ inaugural street course event, while the third transporter travels to Mooresville, NC to conduct testing at Penske Technology Group.
April 2 – the test personnel depart from Mooresville and head to Indianapolis for a Firestone tire test at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
April 3 – the race team flies back to Reading, PA.
April 4 – additional team personnel fly to Indianapolis to join the crew already there. Unfortunately, the test is postponed.
April 5 -- team flies from Indianapolis to the shop in Reading to begin preparing the cars for the IndyCar Series open test at Infineon Raceway on April 12th and 13th.
April 9 – transporters leave Reading for Infineon Raceway in Sonoma, CA.
April 11 – team members fly to Northern California for the test.
April 13 – team returns to Reading to begin preparing the Marlboro Team Penske cars for the April 30th Indy Japan 300.
April 19 -- three Marlboro Team Penske transporters and one box trailer will leave Reading, PA and head to Indianapolis. Two transporters and the box trailer carry the cars and equipment that are being shipped to Japan for the upcoming race, while the remaining transporter contains the test car and equipment for the re-scheduled Firestone tire test at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, taking place on April 20th-21st.
April 19 – team will fly to Indianapolis for the test.
April 21 – team will fly from Indianapolis back to Reading
April 22 -- cars and equipment will depart Indianapolis for Japan.
April 25 -- team will fly to Tokyo and then travel to Twin Ring Motegi to begin setup for the race.
April 30 – Marlboro Team Penske will join the IndyCar Series for their third appearance at Twin Ring Motegi as they compete in the Indy Japan 300.
May 1 – team flies home to Reading to begin preparations for the 2005 Indianapolis 500 Mile Race on May 29th.
“What we’ve been able to accomplish in the past few weeks is a real testament to the hard work each and every member of the Team dedicates to our success,” said Tim Cindric, President, Penske Racing. “To make arrangements for these races and test sessions is a credit to the Team and the level of organization necessary to make it all happen. We’ve covered a lot of ground during the month of April and hopefully we’ll see that effort payoff down the line.”
CASTRONEVES IN BRAZIL FOR RACING TEAM ANNOUNCEMENT
Helio Castroneves recently returned to his native Brazil to announce NasrCastroneves Racing’s driver line-up for its 2005 campaign. The 29 year-old Brazilian will embark on his second year as a Team owner with his two-car effort competing in the Brazilian Stock Car V8 Championship, as the Team kicks off the season on May 1st in Sao Paulo.
The cars in this Series are modified Chevrolet Astra’s (a popular model in Brazil) and have similar specs to the cars that compete in the NASCAR Busch Series. Last week’s announcement named 2001 Toyota Atlantic Champion Hoover Orsi as the Team’s latest addition behind the wheel. Orsi will join Juliano Moro who will fulfill driving duties for NasrCastroneves Racing for the second season.
“I think we gained a lot of experience in our first season of competition last year,” said Castroneves. “As a Team owner, I think we learned both what to do and what not to do and it looks like we’ll be very competitive in 2005. We have two experienced and aggressive drivers and hopefully this will be the season that we capture our first win.”
SAM AND CRYSTAL HORNISH NAMED TO BOARD OF IRL MINISTRIES
Sam Hornish Jr. and his wife Crystal have accepted a new role in the IRL that began with the start of the 2005 season. Hornish Jr. and Crystal are the newest members on the Board of IRL Ministries. The two will attend meetings throughout the year to discuss the direction that the program is taking and develop ways to improve upon it.
“It was very easy for me to say yes to this position,” explained Hornish Jr. “IRL Ministries provides a wonderful benefit for the IndyCar Series drivers by giving them a place to reflect and worship on race day. I think that they are doing great things and Crystal and I are looking forward to providing our input in order to make it even more successful.”