IRL: Team Penske Pit Notes 2005-11-04

MARLBORO TEAM PENSKE TO COMPETE WITH HONDA POWER IN 2006 Penske Racing, Inc. will utilize Honda engines for their Dallara chassis driven by Helio Castroneves and Sam Hornish, Jr. in the 2006 Indy Racing League IndyCar Series Championship....


Penske Racing, Inc. will utilize Honda engines for their Dallara chassis driven by Helio Castroneves and Sam Hornish, Jr. in the 2006 Indy Racing League IndyCar Series Championship. Marlboro Team Penske's previous association with Honda produced 10 victories, 16 pole positions, and two Championships while competing in CART's 2000 and 2001 FedEx Championship Series.

"Honda's long term commitment to the IndyCar Series was an absolute factor in our decision," said Roger S. Penske. "As it became clear that Toyota was re-allocating its resources we had to look beyond 2006 and make the best decision for our future. This was a tough decision, but we make tough decisions in our other businesses every day."

Penske Racing is the most successful Indy car racing team in history with 124 race wins, highlighted by a record 13 Indianapolis 500 victories, 154 pole positions, and 11 National Championships.


This week, Penske Racing announced that its Reading, PA-based IndyCar operation will join its NASCAR and ALMS operations in Mooresville, NC. The move will take place at the conclusion of the 2006 Indy Racing League (IRL) IndyCar Series season.

"Consolidating our racing operations is a necessary next step in the evolution of Penske Racing. Motorsports is big business and in the competitive landscape of racing you absolutely need to maximize all of the available resources," said Roger S. Penske, Chairman, Penske Racing, Inc. "We have been successful operating our IndyCar, NASCAR and Sports Car teams independently throughout the years. We hope that by combining these organizations in the future we will further enhance our results and capabilities. Additionally, by combining our racing businesses we will provide our partners with an unparalleled platform to leverage their association with Penske Racing."

Penske Racing opened the state of the art facility to its NASCAR operations in the fall of 2004. The American LeMans Series team is scheduled to move into the building following testing later this month.

"Although our Team has enjoyed many successes in our Reading location, we feel that putting everything under one roof will pay dividends in the long run," said Tim Cindric, President, Penske Racing, Inc. "We have been very fortunate to attract quality people in our current location and we are looking forward to offering them the ability to grow in an environment that offers more opportunities."


Helio Castroneves traveled to Colombia this week to participate in the Carrera de Estrellas, a charity go-kart event hosted by Formula One driver Juan Pablo Montoya.

On Sunday, November 6, Castroneves will join other stars from IndyCar, Formula 1 and Champ Car racing at the event in Cartagena, Colombia. Other competitors include Tony Kanaan, Dan Wheldon, Scott Dixon, Roberto Moreno, Roberto Guerrero and Antonio Pizzonia.

The event, to benefit Montoya's Formula Smiles Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to the youth of Columbia, will also provide an opportunity for the public to meet and interact with some of their favorite drivers.


With the 2005 IndyCar Series season in the books, Marlboro Team Penske has shifted its focus to the 2006 campaign as they begin to prepare for next year. Following is a look at some of the highlights from this year's 17-race season:

* Hornish Jr. and Castroneves finished third and sixth respectively in the 2005 IndyCar Series Championship point standings.

* Sam Hornish Jr. and Helio Castroneves combined to win three races in 2005 (Hornish Jr. won in Phoenix and Milwaukee; Castroneves won in Richmond).

* Marlboro Team Penske won five poles (Hornish Jr. won poles in Japan, Milwaukee and Richmond; Castroneves won the pole in Pikes Peak and Watkins Glen). The Team also had a total of eleven front row starts, including Hornish Jr.'s second place start at the Indianapolis 500.

* Marlboro Team Penske swept the front row three times during the 2005 season (Richmond, Milwaukee and Pikes Peak). The Team has swept the front row eight times since joining the IndyCar Series full-time in 2002.

* Hornish Jr. earned the end-of-season Marlboro Pole Award, including a $20,000 bonus, for scoring the most poles during the 2005 season. He was tied with three other drivers for most poles at the conclusion of the season, but won the tie-breaker determined by Championship point standings.

* In addition, Hornish Jr. won the Bosch Platinum Award for being the highest finishing driver to use Bosch spark plugs. For this honor, he received a trophy and $20,000.

* Castroneves and Hornish Jr. collectively earned 17 top-five finishes and 23 top-ten finishes.

* Castroneves and Hornish Jr. led races a combined 29 times for a total of 597 laps.

* This season at Pikes Peak, Hornish Jr. started second and led a race-high 71 laps marking a record 50th IndyCar Series race in which Hornish Jr. has led laps; he currently holds the record for most career laps led with 2,518. Hornish Jr. would go on to lead laps in Watkins Glen and Pikes Peak making it a record 52 IndyCar races in which he's led laps. His three laps led at Watkins Glen marked the first time he's led laps on a street/permanent road course in his major open-wheel racing career.

* With his win in Richmond, Castroneves moved into second for career wins for Marlboro Team Penske (13) behind Rick Mears who had 29 victories for the Team.

* Castroneves' start at the season finale at California Speedway marked his 106th with Marlboro Team Penske dating back to the 2000 CART season. With that appearance, Castroneves is currently third in career starts for the Team behind Rick Mears (192 starts) and Emerson Fittipaldi (109 starts).

* The #6 Marlboro Team Penske crew won this year's Checkers/Rally's Pit Stop Competition at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Carburetion Day, marking the 8th time the Team has captured the prestigious award since its inception in 1977. Penske Racing holds the record for most wins in the competition.


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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Juan Pablo Montoya
Teams Team Penske , Team Penske