IRL: Team Penske Pit Notes 2006-03-07

MARLBORO TEAM PENSKE CONDUCTS SUCCESSFUL TEST AT SPRING TRAINING Two-time Indianapolis 500 winner Helio Castroneves and twotime Indy Racing League (IRL) IndyCar® Series Champion Sam Hornish Jr. were at the top of the speed charts for the...


Two-time Indianapolis 500 winner Helio Castroneves and twotime Indy Racing League (IRL) IndyCar® Series Champion Sam Hornish Jr. were at the top of the speed charts for the majority of the IndyCar Series three-day Open Test this past weekend at Homestead-Miami Speedway. On Thursday, March 2nd and Friday, March 3rd the pair tackled the road course in dominant fashion with Castroneves earning the distinction of recording the fastest lap each day and Hornish Jr. was right behind him in second place both days.

On Sunday, the pair joined the rest of the field as they tested on the 1.5-mile oval at Homestead-Miami Speedway, site of the IndyCar Series season opener on March 26th. Hornish Jr. and Castroneves turned their fastest laps early on and stayed 1-2 respectively for the majority of the day, before being eclipsed by Dan Wheldon and Scott Dixon with less than an hour to go in the session. Despite finishing the day third and fourth, Hornish Jr. and Castroneves were happy with the day's testing and the Team is optimistic about the start of the season on March 26th.

"We definitely feel very confident with the results from Spring Training," said Castroneves. "These tests are always good to see how you compare to the rest of the field, and our results seem to indicate that we're on the right track. We have a few more weeks until the start of the season, so Marlboro Team Penske will have to continue to work hard to keep ahead of the competition. Hopefully when we come back to Homestead in a few weeks, we'll have a good result to begin our hunt for the Championship."

"We're really happy with how everything went during the test," said Hornish Jr. "As opposed to how we stacked up against everyone last year, I think we're a lot more optimistic for the season ahead. We've got great equipment and a great Team behind us -- I know they'll give us awesome pit stops again every weekend. It was good to get more time on a road course; I haven't turned right and left since last year's race in Watkins Glen. I think it was definitely helpful to get back in a rhythm as we prepare for St. Petersburg. The road courses will be important in the Championship and Marlboro Team Penske will need to score well on all three to be competitive."

"It was encouraging to see both Sam and Helio near the top of the speed charts on both track configurations. Sam's dedication, and his willingness to learn from Helio, is beginning to show on the road circuits and it's great to see him get more and more comfortable turning right," said Tim Cindric. "Our Team has worked very hard in the off season to prepare and we are looking forward to returning to Homestead for the season opener."


Helio Castroneves will be in Washington D.C. today to attend "Celebrate the Spectacle" an evening celebrating the heritage and pedigree of the Indianapolis 500 in preparation for the 90th running of the historic race. Presented by The Smithsonian Associates, the lecture/symposium will be held at the U.S. Navy Memorial & Naval Heritage Center and will feature historical highlights from past races as well as a question and answer session with the featured guests.

Joining Castroneves will be Janet Guthrie, the first woman to ever compete in the Indianapolis 500; three-time Indianapolis 500 winner, Johnny Rutherford; 2005 Indianapolis 500 winner Dan Wheldon; and Michael and Marco Andretti.


Sam Hornish Jr. will be in his home state of Ohio to attend the Lincoln-Hayes dinner in Bowling Green on Saturday, March 11th. Hornish Jr. will attend the event as a guest of Congressman Paul Gillmor, the representative from Hornish Jr.'s district.

Hornish Jr. will be seated at the head table hosted by Congressman Gillmor as a special guest of the 5th Congressional District. Other tables will be hosted by civic leaders including: Karl Rove, White House Deputy Chief of Staff/Chief Political Advisor to President Bush; OH Senator Mike DeWine; Jim Petro, OH Attorney General; Betty Montgomery, OH Auditor; Jenette Bradley, OH Treasurer; Mary Taylor, OH State Representative; Greg Hartman, candidate for OH Secretary of State; and Bob Cupp, candidate for the OH Supreme Court.


Helio Castroneves will be featured on ESPN's "Cold Pizza" this Thursday, March 9th where he will be talking about the upcoming 2006 IndyCar Series season.


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. During those final three races, Helio Castroneves and Sam Hornish Jr. completed 919 out of a possible 920 laps giving a total of $45,950 that Marlboro Team Penske donated to AmeriCares for Hurricane Katrina victims.


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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Helio Castroneves , Scott Dixon , Dan Wheldon , Janet Guthrie , Marco Andretti , Sam Hornish Jr. , Johnny Rutherford
Teams Team Penske