IRL: Texas II: Team Penske pit notes

Marlboro Team Penske Ends Season With Victory Marlboro Team Penske driver Helio Castroneves earned his first victory of the 2004 Indy Racing League (IRL) IndyCar® Series this past weekend at the season-ending Chevy 500 at Texas Motor Speedway.

Marlboro Team Penske Ends Season With Victory

Marlboro Team Penske driver Helio Castroneves earned his first victory of the 2004 Indy Racing League (IRL) IndyCar® Series this past weekend at the season-ending Chevy 500 at Texas Motor Speedway. Coupled with teammate Sam Hornish Jr.'s victory at the season-opener at Homestead-Miami Speedway, the Team earned "bookend" victories as well as the only two wins for Toyota during the 2004 season.

On Friday of race weekend, Castroneves earned his fourth consecutive and fifth overall pole of the season, tying Billy Boat's record for consecutive poles set in 1998. Castroneves' win marked his 12th career Indy car victory and his sixth win from the pole, others include: St. Louis - 2003; Phoenix - 2002; Long Beach and Detroit - 2001; and Laguna Seca - 2000.

In addition, Castroneves is now tied for second on the Penske Racing career wins list with Al Unser Jr. and Danny Sullivan (all three earned 12 wins for the Team). Rick Mears holds the record for most Penske Racing wins with 29.

Castroneves' pole marked his 15th for Penske Racing, which moves him into a tie with Gil de Ferran and Bobby Unser for third on the Team's all-time pole list. Mears leads the all-time list with 40 poles and Danny Sullivan is second with 18.

HORNISH JR. EARNS 2004 IRL CREW MOST POPULAR DRIVER AWARD - CASTRONEVES EARNS SECOND

2001 and 2002 IndyCar Series Champion Sam Hornish Jr. has been voted the 2004 IRL Crew Most Popular Driver, which is decided by a fan vote at each IRL event. The balloting and administration of the award is facilitated each year by the IRL Crew, a fan-based support organization dedicated to the promotion of Indy Racing.

Hornish Jr. will be presented with his award during the IRL Crew "Salute To The IRL" Awards Banquet, to be held this year on November 6th, at the Brickyard Crossing Resort, just outside the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. This members-only event will also feature keynote speaker, Donald Davidson, renowned IMS and Indy 500 historian.

Marlboro Team Penske teammate Helio Castroneves finished second in the 2004 voting.

MARLBORO TEAM PENSKE VISITS WATKINS GLEN

On Wednesday of this week, Marlboro Team Penske headed to upstate New York to test at Watkins Glen in preparation for the newly added September 25th race at the historic New York road course. Helio Castroneves accompanied the Test Team, but unfortunately could not turn a single lap due to inclement weather.

However, the day was not completely wasted as the 29 year-old Brazilian was able to check out the track's layout by taking a few laps in his rental car.

"Watkins Glen is an unbelievable place," said Castroneves. "I'm impressed, the track has a phenomenal lay-out. It's a shame the weather did not give us an opportunity to drive the Marlboro Team Penske car, but at least I was able to drive around the circuit a few times in my rental car. There are some areas that need work from a safety standpoint, but the IRL is working hard to improve the track and I can't wait to come back and race here. I guarantee we'll give the fans an amazing show when we come back next September."

CASTRONEVES WINS MARLBORO LAP LEADER AWARD

Marlboro Team Penske driver Helio Castroneves led the most laps for the fourth time this season at the Chevy 500 at Texas Motor Speedway. Castroneves led four times for a total of 104 of the 200 laps run and earned three extra Championship points. He finished the season sitting in fourth in the IRL Championship point standings with 446 points. Castroneves also earned his fourth Marlboro Lap Leader Award check for $7,500.

Tony Kanaan won the $20,000 Marlboro Lap Leader Award bonus for leading the most laps in the 2004 season; in fact Kanaan led nearly 27% of all total laps run in 2004 (Kanaan led 889 of a possible 3,305 run).

In addition, Jim Haines of IRL Photography was the winner of the Marlboro Lap Leader Award Media Contest. During each IRL event, journalists have the opportunity to enter an on-site contest to predict who will lead the most laps, and how many that driver will lead, in a given race. Haines, who guessed that Castroneves would lead 88 of the scheduled 200 laps in the race, won a MOMO Design Essenziale Watch.

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Al Unser Jr. , Billy Boat , Helio Castroneves , Gil de Ferran , Tony Kanaan , Rick Mears , Bobby Unser , Danny Sullivan , Sam Hornish Jr.
Teams Team Penske , Team Penske