IRL: Team Penske Pit Notes 2005-10-05

Marlboro Team Penske Pit Notes October 5, 2005 MARLBORO TEAM PENSKE ADDS TO CONTRIBUTION FOR HURRICANE KATRINA RELIEF EFFORT In an ongoing effort to assist the victims of Hurricane Katrina, Marlboro Team Penske pledged $50 for each lap its ...

Marlboro Team Penske Pit Notes
October 5, 2005


In an ongoing effort to assist the victims of Hurricane Katrina, Marlboro Team Penske pledged $50 for each lap its drivers completed during the final three events of the 2005 Indy Racing League (IRL) IndyCar® Series Season. Last week at Watkins Glen, Marlboro Team Penske drivers were able to complete 119 laps, which adds up to a donation of $5,950. That, coupled with the Team's performance in Chicago, brings the total donation to $25,950 heading into the final race of the season on October 16th at California Speedway, where Castroneves and Hornish Jr. could add another $20,000 should they complete every lap.


With two weekends away from the track, Marlboro Team Penske has utilized its time wisely to not only ensure they are thoroughly prepared for the final IndyCar Series event at California Speedway, but to also look ahead to the final checkered flag of the 2005 IndyCar Series season. "The break in the race schedule allows us the time to get caught up as well as look ahead to what we need to accomplish during the off-season," explains Tom Wurtz, Team Manager, Marlboro Team Penske. "After Watkins Glen, we had a lot of work to do to repair the chassis of the cars Helio and Sam damaged during the race weekend. With this gap in the schedule, the crew has ample time to make sure that the cars are repaired adequately as well as changed over to a superspeedway set-up from the road course set-up to compete in Fontana."

The two weeks that they have at their shop in Reading, PA is definitely welcomed by the Marlboro Team Penske crew as there was extensive damage done to the primary Marlboro Team Penske cars when Sam Hornish Jr. was involved in a Saturday incident and Helio Castroneves was involved in an accident on the final lap of the race at the historic road course in Watkins Glen.

With the rigors of the schedule, the repair process is usually a hectic one as the chassis not only needs to be repaired, but re-painted as well. While the chassis is being re-painted the crew is helpless to do any additional work to it, so there's often a lot of pressure on the painters to finish because the car needs to be prepared to go back out on the track. Fortunately, there was enough time to not only fix the chassis, but have it re-painted as well without a time pressure adding to the workload. In addition to the repairs that needed to be made after Watkins Glen, the Team was also able to carefully crack check and inventory all of the road course components for next year, which got them ahead of the game as it's one less thing that will need to be completed in the off-season. Aside from dealing with road course components, the Team also finished a few projects left over from the last oval race at Chicagoland Speedway. With the time away from the track, the Team was able to rotate the primary and back-up cars, touch up the paint on the back-up cars and conduct extensive tests on all of the Team's equipment and components. "Another helpful thing that these couple weeks allow us is the chance to look ahead to the off-season," continues Wurtz. "The pace has slowed down a bit and we can settle back into our normal routine. We'll begin inspecting our inventory and determine what equipment needs to be updated or replaced. We also have the chance to take a look at what we'll need to accomplish in the off-season as far as testing, scheduling and any other planning that needs to be done."

Clearly, while the IndyCar Series may not be competing on the track, Marlboro Team Penske is hard at work making sure that they are not only maintaining their focus for the season finale in Fontana, but also staying ahead of the game by beginning to plan for next season. FORE!

Last Wednesday, two-time IndyCar Series Champion Sam Hornish Jr. was in the Motor Racing Capital of the World to participate in the 15th Annual Phil Casey Charity Golf Tournament held at the Brickyard Crossing Golf Course at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. In addition to hitting the course, Hornish Jr. also donated one of his helmets to the tournament's auction, which sold for nearly $1,500. The event is expected to raise more than last year's benchmark of $40,000 for charity.

"I had a great time even though we didn't play too well," joked Hornish Jr. "I've been playing in the tournament since 2001 and I always enjoy getting out there and blowing off a little steam. We weren't exactly competitive, but the camaraderie of the day was the most important thing for me. Plus, we were able to raise a lot of money for charity, which is always an added bonus."


On Monday night, Helio Castroneves was in his native Brazil being honored in his hometown of Ribeirao Preto with a display celebrating the 30 year-old's illustrious career in motorsports.

The exhibition, on display in the Santa Ursula Mall through November 4th, was opened with a party attended by Castroneves and his family and marks the first time he's been honored in his hometown during his career.


Marlboro Team Penske driver Helio Castroneves won his second Marlboro Pole Award of the season at the Watkins Glen Indy Grand Prix Presented by Argent Mortgage at Watkins Glen International Raceway by turning a qualifying lap of 133.806 mph (90.6688 seconds). For his achievement, Castroneves was presented with a $10,000 check from Philip Morris USA during a post-qualifying ceremony.

In addition, Kevin Olson of IMS Radio 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. Olson, who guessed that Castroneves would win the pole with a lap of 133.360 mph, won a MOMO Design Watch.


Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Helio Castroneves , Philip Morris , Sam Hornish Jr.
Teams Team Penske