IRL: Team Penske Pit Notes 2006-06-14

CASTRONEVES MAKES IT THREE In the six Indy Racing League (IRL) IndyCar® Series races run to date in the 2006 season, Marlboro Team Penske driver Helio Castroneves has taken the checkered flag three times. Castroneves is in first place in the ...


In the six Indy Racing League (IRL) IndyCar® Series races run to date in the 2006 season, Marlboro Team Penske driver Helio Castroneves has taken the checkered flag three times. Castroneves is in first place in the 2006 Championship point standings with a 22-point lead over Scott Dixon on the strength of his latest victory Saturday night at the Bombardier Learjet 500 at Texas Motor Speedway. He led only once for eight laps, but that was all he needed to get his 16th career victory, as the 31 year-old Brazilian wore the traditional cowboy hat in Victory Circle at Texas Motor Speedway for the second time (Castroneves also won in Texas in October 2004). For his win at Texas, Bombardier Learjet is providing the use of an aircraft for Helio's trip to and from his next race at Richmond International Raceway June, 24th 2006.

Teammate Sam Hornish Jr. finished the race in fourth after starting from the pole for the third time in 2006. The Defiance, OH native ran out of fuel as he came in for his final pit stop of the evening, taking him out of contention for the victory, but in true "Hornish fashion" he was able to pick up two spots on the final lap and bring the car home in the top-five. Hornish Jr. is currently in fourth place in the IndyCar Series Championship point standings with 194 points, just 16 points from second place Scott Dixon.


With six IndyCar Series races in the books, Marlboro Team Penske has recorded some impressive numbers so far this season. Here's a look at the results the Team has been able to accomplish as they near the mid-point of

the season:

*Four Victories (St. Petersburg, Japan, Indianapolis and Texas)

*Three Poles (Miami, Indianapolis and Texas)

*Seven Front Row Starts

*472 Laps Led (49% of all laps run in competition)

*Led Most Laps in Miami, St. Petersburg and Japan


Since winning the 2006 Indianapolis 500 in dramatic fashion just three weeks ago, Sam Hornish Jr. has only been at his Defiance, Ohio home for a grand total of 36 hours. Shortly after taking his first sip of milk on the "Yard of Bricks," the 26 year-old was whisked from Indianapolis on a whirlwind tour taking him to Dallas, New York City, Richmond (VA), Watkins Glen (NY) and back to Texas for last weekend's Bombardier Learjet 500. Prior to arriving in Texas, he had more than 100 press interviews, signed upwards of 1,000 autographs and raced more than 350 miles.

So what did a newly crowned Indy 500 winner do with his first night in the Lone Star State after two weeks of fans, photos and racing? For Sam Hornish Jr., it was hosting the 2nd Annual Sam Hornish Jr. Celebrity Bowling Tournament last Wednesday night to help kick-off race weekend at Texas Motor Speedway. The tournament raised more than $110,000 for the Texas Chapter of Speedway Children's Charities, including a personal contribution from Sam of $25,000, which benefits more than 150 charitable organizations throughout Northern Texas.

Joining him on the lanes were teammate and two-time Indianapolis 500 winner Helio Castroneves, who bowled a mean strike although his form was unorthodox (the Brazilian rolled the ball down the lane from a squatting position). In addition, other celebrity bowlers included former NASCAR driver and current IRL announcer Rusty Wallace; Tarek Saab from the hit television show The Apprentice; Dallas Cowboy wide receiver Terry Glenn (returning for the second time) and teammates Patrick Crayton, Shannon Snell and Keith Davis, as well as several other IRL and NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series drivers, and local sports media.

"I thought Wednesday night was a fantastic event," said Hornish Jr. "This year was bigger and better than last year, so I'm really happy with how things have improved. I was particularly pleased to see the broad range of celebrities that participated because it shows we're reaching people outside of the racing community. The highlight of the night of course is that we were able to raise more than $110,000 for Speedway Charities, which is just amazing. I really want to thank the sponsors, celebrities, and everyone that attended, as well as all the folks who worked so hard to put it together. I'm looking forward to next year's event and raising even more money."


Sam Hornish Jr. finally returned to his home state of Ohio this past Sunday morning after the Bombardier Learjet 500 in Texas on Saturday night. The 26 year-old has been on the road since earning his first Indy 500 victory over Memorial Day weekend and this week is the first time he's had a chance to relax at home. With the excitement of the return back to his native soil, Hornish Jr. has several commitments this weekend that will not only allow him to celebrate his Indy 500 win, but also help in his community.

This Friday morning Hornish Jr. will participate in a press conference in Defiance, OH to discuss his recent win at the 90 th Running of the Indianapolis 500 Mile Race. The press conference will be hosted by the Greater Defiance Area Tourism and Visitors Bureau, in conjunction with The Chamber of Commerce and The Mayor's office.

In addition, Bob Armstrong, the Mayor of Defiance, will announce that July 26th will be "Sam Hornish Jr. Day" in Defiance.

On Friday afternoon, Hornish Jr. will hit the links with his dad and family members as they play in a local fundraising golf tournament benefiting Defiance charities. Hornish Jr.'s wife Crystal is serving as the chairperson of the tournament's Auction Committee and the Hornish family is sponsoring the back nine holes for the event.

On Saturday night Hornish Jr.'s parents JoEllen and Sam Sr. will be hosting a party for 400-plus guests in Defiance to celebrate their son's victory at the "Greatest Spectacle in Racing." Not only will Hornish Jr.'s friends and family be attendance, but many of the people who've supported him over the years including Roger Penske and other business partners will be there.


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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Rusty Wallace , Helio Castroneves , Scott Dixon , Roger Penske , Sam Hornish Jr.
Teams Team Penske