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No. 3 Car Team, Castroneves Win Pit Stop Challenge

May 29, 2010

Photo courtesy of Steve Swope



SPEEDWAY, Ind. (May 28, 2010) - Team Penske won the IZOD IndyCar Series Indianapolis 500 Pit Stop Challenge on Friday for the record-extending 12th time in its storied history.

The victory was the fifth in a row by a Team Penske crew and fourth consecutive win by the crew of Helio Castroneves' No. 3 Team Penske Dallara/Honda. After earning a first-round bye in the head-to-head competition, the No. 3 car team advanced to the finals where it defeated the Newman/Haas Racing crew of the car driven by Hideki Mutoh.

"All that winter work is paying off today," said Castroneves. "Not only today, but in every race when we're out there. Yes, sometimes I overshoot and I make mistakes, but they never see it that way. They see it as a good practice to be ready for anything."

The IZOD Indy 500 Pit Stop Competition, part of Carburetion Day activities and the final on-track event before Sunday's 94th Indianapolis 500, could be taken as a positive sign for the rest of the weekend. Last year, Castroneves' crew won the pole position followed by the pit stop competition and the race. After capturing the pole last weekend and the pit stop challenge on Saturday, the No. 3 car team is in a good position to complete the rare triple crown at Indy. A victory by the No. 3 car this year would be Castroneves' fourth Indy 500 win, and would tie the record shared by Rick Mears, Al Unser and A.J. Foyt.

"This team is just incredible," said Castroneves. "Today is their day and I'm just so proud to work with them."

Castroneves' crew also won the pit stop competition in 2002 before winning the Indy 500 for a second time.

This time, the crew did it with a new chief mechanic and right-front tire changer, Sean Hanrahan, who replaced Rick Rinaman on the No. 3 team. Rinaman, who celebrated with the rest of the winning crew on pit lane Friday, transitioned to an in-house position focused on engineering projects and training all of Team Penske's pit crews this season.

"When I found out I was going to be crew chief on the 3 car, I think my jaw hit the ground," said Hanrahan. "I didn't realize all that was happening at the time. I knew when the time came, I had to put in 110 percent every day, and all these guys behind me are doing the same thing. We work real hard and we're trying to make sure that all of our I's are dotted and our T's are crossed."
The only thing missing Friday was a trophy, which became a source of discussion after the victory.

"I'm really proud of the team and the hard work and practice they do all year long to prepare for this competition," said Penske Racing President Tim Cindric. "The only thing I'd say is, these guys deserve a trophy for the pit stop contest. It's a lot of hard work and at the end they should have something they can hold up as an award and something to take home."

Coverage of Sunday's 94th running of the Indianapolis 500 will begin at 12 p.m. ET on ABC.