Marlboro Team Penske Pit Notes January 17, 2006 MARLBORO TEAM PENSKE GEARS UP FOR 2006 SEASON With the beginning of the 2006 Indy Racing League (IRL) IndyCarÂ® Series season just weeks away, Marlboro Team Penske drivers are already preparing...
Marlboro Team Penske Pit Notes
January 17, 2006
MARLBORO TEAM PENSKE GEARS UP FOR 2006 SEASON
With the beginning of the 2006 Indy Racing League (IRL) IndyCar® Series season just weeks away, Marlboro Team Penske drivers are already preparing for the season-opening race at Homestead-Miami Speedway on March 26th.
Next week the Team heads to Phoenix International Raceway for the first IRL Open Test of the season on January 24th and 25th. The session will give teammates Helio Castroneves and Sam Hornish Jr. their first opportunity to get behind the wheel of their identical 2006 Marlboro Team Penske Dallara/Hondas.
The 2006 season marks a return to Honda power for the Team after competing with them in the 2000 and 2001 CART FedEx Championship Series. While utilizing the Honda engine, Marlboro Team Penske won 10 races and 16 pole positions resulting in backto- back Championships for Gil de Ferran.
"The start of a season always marks a new beginning with a fresh slate," said Castroneves. "We'll be using Honda power this year, so I'm definitely optimistic about the fact that we should be very competitive. There are so many good drivers in this Series, so it won't be easy, but I think if Marlboro Team Penske works hard all year we'll be in good shape for the Championship."
"With the addition of Honda horsepower, I feel very confident that we'll be competing for wins and the Championship right off the bat," said Hornish Jr. "I'm looking forward to another great season with Marlboro Team Penske. I know the cars will be reliable, the pit stops will be great and hopefully with a little bit of luck we'll end the season with a Championship."
RUZEWSKI NAMED CASTRONEVES' RACE ENGINEER
The 2006 season will not only mark a new engine package for Marlboro Team Penske, but 2001 & 2002 Indianapolis 500 winner Helio Castroneves will have a new race engineer.
Ron Ruzewski, 36, joined Marlboro Team Penske at the start of the 2005 season, working on the vehicle dynamics engineering development program. He began traveling to the races in July 2005 as a member of the engineering team for Castroneves.
Prior to joining the Team, Ruzewski worked at the Yamaha Motor Corporation as Department Manager of Advance Development for the Snowmobile Group from 1996-2005. While at Yamaha, he managed current and future development projects and all related department tasks, including design, development and field testing of new products and prototypes. Ruzewski was instrumental in the introduction and release of over 25 production models including two models named "Snowmobile of the Year" as decided by Industry Press magazines.
Ruzewski's racing background includes a position as Data Acquisition Engineer for Walker Racing from 1992-1996. During his tenure, he worked primarily with Scott Goodyear and Robby Gordon and was a part of three wins and six poles, as well as the closest finish ever at the Indianapolis 500 in 1992 where Goodyear finished second (he finished just 0.043 seconds behind Al Unser Jr.). Prior to working at Walker Racing, Ruzewski worked at Shierson Racing from 1990-1992, where he also served as a Data Acquisition Engineer working with Scott Goodyear.
Ruzewski graduated from Purdue University with a Bachelor of Science in Industrial Engineering.
HORNISH JR. IN SEATTLE
Sam Hornish Jr. will participate in a "Back the Track" fan event at the Tacoma Dome on January 19th to provide support for ISC's plans to build a track in the Seattle area.
Hornish Jr. will be joined by fellow IndyCar Series personalities Paul Dana, Johnny Rutherford and Al Unser, as well as NASCAR drivers Greg Biffle, Kasey Khane and Daryl Waltrip.
CASTRONEVES TO RACE IN BRAZIL
Helio Castroneves will be in his native Brazil on January 21st to compete in the Mil Milhas race at Interlagos. The 30 year-old twotime Indy 500 winner will be joining forces with Nelson Piquet, Nelson Piquet Jr. and French Sports Car driver Christophe Bouchut in an Aston Martin DBR9 for the 1000-mile endurance race.
"This will be my first race in a touring car, so I'm really looking forward to it," explains Castroneves. "The Mil Milhas is a very famous race in Brazil and I consider myself fortunate to have the chance to compete in an event with such a great history. I'm also honored to be able to share the car with a legend like Nelson Piquet, as well as Nelson Piquet Jr. and Christophe Bouchut; I think we'll be very competitive. For me this is such a wonderful opportunity -- it will be an entirely new experience and I can't wait to get behind the wheel."
PENSKE NAMED CRAIN'S NEWSMAKER OF THE YEAR
Roger Penske was recently named 2005 Newsmaker of the Year by Crain's Detroit. According to the business publication, "Penske has transferred the business acumen he uses to run a wide-ranging organization of transportation, automotive sales and service, truck leasing and motor sports businesses into his role as Super Bowl XL Host Committee chairman."
Penske and his colleague's on the committee will be put to the ultimate test on February 5th as all eyes will be watching the city of Detroit as it plays host to the biggest game of the year.