Marlboro Team Penske Pit Notes June 6, 2006 CASTRONEVES RETAINS LEAD IN POINT STANDINGS AFTER RAINY RACE IN NEW YORK Last Sunday, Marlboro Team Penske raced at the historic Watkins Glen International in the Indy Racing League (IRL) IndyCarÂ®...
Marlboro Team Penske Pit Notes
June 6, 2006
CASTRONEVES RETAINS LEAD IN POINT STANDINGS AFTER RAINY RACE IN NEW YORK
Last Sunday, Marlboro Team Penske raced at the historic Watkins Glen International in the Indy Racing League (IRL) IndyCar® Series' Watkins Glen Indy Grand Prix. Poor weather conditions added a new dimension of difficulty to the upstate New York road course as the field not only had to battle with each other, but they also had to deal with the ever changing track conditions.
Two-time Indianapolis 500 winner Helio Castroneves started on the pole, which was determined by practice speeds as qualifying was cancelled on Saturday. The 31 year-old Brazilian ran near the front for most of the day, but fell victim to a fuel nozzle problem on his second pit stop forcing him to return to the pits again to refuel. Unfortunately for Castroneves after his late race stop, he was relegated to a seventh place finish. His top-ten finish however was enough to keep him in the lead in the IndyCar Series Championship point standings with 182 points, 12 points ahead of second-place Scott Dixon.
Teammate Hornish Jr. also had his problems with the wet, dry, wet weather conditions on Sunday as he spun his #6 Marlboro Team Penske Dallara/Honda on lap 12 of the race after coming in for dry (slick) tires. He was able to get restarted to finish the event, but went a lap down and spent the rest of the afternoon trying to get back on the lead lap. Hornish Jr. would finish the race in 12th place, earning 18 Championship points which keeps him in the top three -- just eight points behind Dixon.
MARLBORO TEAM PENSKE HEADS FOR THE LONE STAR STATE
Marlboro Team Penske will race under the lights for the first time during the 2006 IndyCar Series season on Saturday night at the Bombardier Learjet 500 at Texas Motor Speedway. The forecast says it will be a scorcher on Saturday, which is definitely more the Team's speed as the last time the track hit 90 degrees was when Sam Hornish Jr. was drinking milk at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
Both Hornish Jr. and teammate Helio Castroneves have had their fair share of success in the Lone Star State and will be looking for a win come race day.
In the seven appearances Castroneves has made at Texas Motor Speedway, he's earned one win (the final race in 2004), four top-five finishes and led 208 laps.
"Texas is a really tough track because of the high banking," said Castroneves. "Everyone seems to be pretty equal this season, which will make for very close racing. The fact that it's a night race also makes it very exciting for the fans. Last year, we had to be pretty aggressive on our set-up just to be able to keep up with the other cars, so hopefully we'll have the luxury of being able to be a little more conservative this year. We've had a pretty good start to the season so far, and we definitely want to maintain this momentum at Texas and bring home another Marlboro Team Penske win."
Hornish Jr. has also found success in Texas being crowned Champion twice in 2001 and 2002 in front of a Texan crowd. In his eleven trips to Texas Motor Speedway, the Defiance, OH native has won the race twice (he won in 2001 and 2002), earned five top-five finishes and led 271 laps in competition.
"We're excited about going to Texas, because it means getting out of the cold and rain from last week," said Hornish Jr. "I'm really looking to improve upon my second place finish from last year, so hopefully we'll be in a position at the end to go for the win. Texas is a special place for me, because I've been crowned the IndyCar Series Champion there twice in 2001 and 2002. I've never won the night race there, so I'd definitely like to add that to my resume."
Marlboro Team Penske has had a solid showing thus far this season with three wins (Hornish Jr. won in Indianapolis; and Castroneves won back-to-back races in St. Petersburg and Japan), six top-five finishes, eight top-ten finishes, and has led laps in each of the five races run to date for a total of 448 laps (nearly 60% of all laps run in 2006). Needless to say, they're looking to capitalize on that momentum this weekend at Texas Motor Speedway.
SECOND ANNUAL SAM HORNISH JR. CELEBRITY BOWLING TOURNAMENT
Sam Hornish Jr. will be hosting the second annual Sam Hornish Jr. Celebrity Bowling Tournament on Wednesday, June 7th in Dallas. The tournament will benefit Speedway Charities, Texas Chapter, which is designed to raise much-needed funding for more than 150 charitable organizations throughout Northern Texas.
Celebrities scheduled to participate in the tournament include Helio Castroneves, Rusty Wallace, who now is in the broadcast booth for IRL telecasts; former American Idol contestant and current recording artist Celena Rae; Tarek Saab from the hit television show The Apprentice; Dallas Cowboys players Patrick Crayton, Shannon Snell, Keith Davis, and Terry Glenn as well as several IRL IndyCar Series and NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series drivers, and local sports announcers.
"I'm really looking forward to hitting the lanes once again this year," said Hornish Jr. "The tournament is going to help a great cause, so I'm proud to be associated with it. Last year's event was a big success and we were able to raise a total of $70,000. Hopefully tomorrow night, we'll have another solid turnout and will be able to make this bigger and better each year."