SPEEDWAY, IN (May 23, 2014) -- Team Penske put the finishing touches on its preparation for the 98th running of the Indianapolis 500 Friday, highlighted by three strong laps during the final Carb Day practice before Sunday’s race.
Two of Team Penske’s teams also made the semifinals – and one earned its way into the second round – of the Verizon IndyCar Series Pit Stop Challenge.
Helio Castroneves posted the fourth-fastest practice lap of the day – 226\.187 mph – in the No. 3 Pennzoil Ultra Platinum Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet. Castroneves will start fourth in Sunday’s race.
“It was a great day today,” said Castroneves, the three-time Indy 500 winner whose team has also won the Pit Stop competition six times. “We kept making progress on the No. 3 Pennzoil Chevrolet. It’s a shame about the pit stop competition. The boys did a great job but we’ll move on and get ready for Sunday.”
Juan Pablo Montoya, who is returning to the Indianapolis 500 for the first time since he won it in 2000, recorded the ninth-fastest lap, 225.452 mph in the No. 2 Verizon Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet. “Honestly, I’m pretty happy with the No. 2 Verizon Chevy,” stated Montoya. “We ended this practice session the best we had been yet, especially in traffic. I’m really excited about the race. Do we have a winning car? I think so, but I will know more after 500 miles on Sunday.”
Will Power, who qualified on the front row for Sunday’s race, had the 11th-fastest lap Friday – 225.212 mph in the No. 12 Verizon Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet.
"The No. 12 Verizon Chevy boys have done a great job,” said Power, who start third in the Indy 500. “I feel really good about the car after finishing this last practice and going into the Indy 500 (Sunday). It will definitely be an exciting race and we're ready."
The No. 3 and No. 12 car teams made it to the semifinal round of the Pit Stop Challenge before being edged out. The No. 2 car team made it to the second round. Castroneves’ team was narrowly defeated by eventual winner Scott Dixon’s team, 12.758 seconds to 12.285 seconds.
Castroneves, who is going for his fourth Indy 500 victory, would tie Rick Mears, A.J. Foyt and Al Unser if he wins Sunday’s race.
“That’s a pretty serious group of drivers that I would be fortunate to join,” said Castroneves. “We have a lot of hard work in front of us to make it happen, but I feel that I’m with the best team in the garage area. We can do it.”
After the public drivers’ meeting and 500 Festival Parade on Saturday, Team Penske will return to Indianapolis Motor Speedway to prepare for the “Greatest Spectacle in Racing” on Sunday..
ABC-TV’s broadcast of the Indianapolis 500 will begin at 11 a.m. ET.