Motor

Team Penske pulls Indy vanishing act

Helio Castroneves
Helio Castroneves struggles to finish in 17th.
Share This Story

Steve Miller

 
   
 

INDIANAPOLIS

The name Penske has long been synonymous with the Indianapolis 500.

But in Sunday’s 100th-anniversary running of the Greatest Spectacle in Racing, Team Penske went from synonymous to anonymous.

Not that it was difficult to lose track of Roger Penske’s cars by the time it was over. After all, most eyes were focused on rookie JR Hildebrand, the race leader who crashed on Turn 4 of the 200th and final lap, then on Dan Wheldon, who sneaked past Hildebrand to take the checkered flag and his second Indy 500.

So where was Team Penske? Let’s scroll down the stat sheet. More. More. Keep going. Oh, there’s Will Power, who started in the middle of the second row. Power lost his left rear tire coming out of the pits on Lap 23, and never really recovered. He finished 14th.

Scroll a little more to find three-time Indy 500 winner Helio Castroneves, who had a boatload of problems and finished 17th. And if you have the patience you can scan way down to 27th place, where you’ll discover that Ryan Briscoe got tangled up with Townsend Bell and crashed out on Lap 157.

So how bad was it, really?

“I was surprised about that, actually,” third-place finisher Graham Rahal said. “I’m not going to lie to you there. I raced with Briscoe a couple times, passed Helio a couple times, passed Will. They didn’t have it. You could see Briscoe just did not feel comfortable all day. Yeah, I’m pretty surprised that they weren’t faster.”

Wheldon was more to the point.

“I don’t think I saw a Penske in front of me all of the race.”

To their credit, the Penske drivers were matter-of-fact about their performances.

Smile for the cameras

Check out photos of all the celebrities at the 2011 Indianapolis 500.

“At the first pit stop, the wheel came loose and knocked the lead screw off, so I had no brakes,” Power said. “So we did a stint like that, came in and had to fix that, got a lap down and that was it for the day. We just had to try and fight our way back.”

Castroneves had a battle on his hands all afternoon. What went wrong? More like what didn’t go wrong.

“We had a very big vibration at the beginning,” Castroneves said, “And we had to do an unscheduled pit stop. And then we had a flat tire. We were able to try and get back on the lead (lap), and then we had that flat tire. So it was just one of those things.” Or two, or even three, if you count when Helio had to slip down onto the pit access road to avoid contact on a restart on Lap 155.

Another one of “those things” happened to Briscoe in Turn 4.

“I saw Townsend (Bell) brush the wall in Turn 4," Briscoe said. "Everyone was going down the inside. I was just following through on the insider into Turn 1. I just think he didn’t know I was there and he just came down and pinched me. As soon as we made contact, the wheels interlocked, and that was it.”

That was it. Rahal summed “it” up this way:

“’Cause it’s Indy, flat out. I mean, that’s what I put it off to. This place, when you think you got it figured out, it bites you. I mean, it’s Indy.”

"Tough day," was what team owner Roger Penske told the Indianapolis Star.

Penske team president Tim Cindric added a little more, telling the Star, "It's one thing not to win. It's another to not be in position to challenge at the end."

Steve Miller is the managing editor of FOXSports.com.

More Stories From Steve Miller

Member Comments

Please note by clicking on "Post comment" you acknowledge that you have read the Terms of Use and the comment you are posting is in compliance with such terms. Be Polite. Inappropriate posts may be removed by the moderator.

powered by



Motor Videos

NASCAR Race Hub: Social Stars Posted: Feb 15, 2013
Race Hub: Rutledge Wood catches up with some of the biggest names in the sport a...

NNS: Montreal - 2012 Posted: Aug 18, 2012
NASCAR Nationwide: Justin Allgaier fights through the chaos to pass Jacques Vill...

NASCAR Race Hub: McReynolds Take on Dover Posted: Oct 01, 2013
Larry McReynolds gives you his take on what went down in Dover the 4th race in T...

Fox Sports Store

    itemName itemURL imageSrc price itemDescription
    Mitchell & Ness Boston Celtics #33 Larry Bird Green Authentic Throwback Jersey http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Boston_Celtics/browse/featuredproduct/118804/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_118000/FF_118804_xl.jpg&w=100 249.95 Mitchell & Ness Boston Celtics #33 Larry Bird Green Authentic Throwback Jersey
    adidas Los Angeles Lakers Purple Primary Logo T-shirt http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Los_Angeles_Lakers/browse/featuredproduct/172442/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_172000/FF_172442_xl.jpg&w=100 19.95 adidas Los Angeles Lakers Purple Primary Logo T-shirt
    adidas Miami Heat Black Primary Logo T-shirt http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Miami_Heat/browse/featuredproduct/173566/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_173000/FF_173566_xl.jpg&w=100 19.95 adidas Miami Heat Black Primary Logo T-shirt
    adidas Chicago Bulls Red Primary Logo T-shirt http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Chicago_Bulls/browse/featuredproduct/173568/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_173000/FF_173568_xl.jpg&w=100 19.95 adidas Chicago Bulls Red Primary Logo T-shirt
    adidas Boston Celtics #33 Larry Bird White Hardwood Classics Swingman Basketball Jersey http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Boston_Celtics/browse/featuredproduct/177922/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_177000/FF_177922_xl.jpg&w=100 89.95 adidas Boston Celtics #33 Larry Bird White Hardwood Classics Swingman Basketball..
    adidas Atlanta Hawks #21 Dominique Wilkins Red Hardwood Classics Swingman Basketball Jersey http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Atlanta_Hawks/browse/featuredproduct/177923/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_177000/FF_177923_xl.jpg&w=100 89.95 adidas Atlanta Hawks #21 Dominique Wilkins Red Hardwood Classics Swingman Basket..
    adidas Los Angeles Lakers #32 Magic Johnson Hardwood Classics Swingman Basketball Jersey - Gold http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Los_Angeles_Lakers/browse/featuredproduct/177924/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_177000/FF_177924_xl.jpg&w=100 89.95 adidas Los Angeles Lakers #32 Magic Johnson Hardwood Classics Swingman Basketbal..
    adidas New York Knicks #19 Willis Reed Royal Blue Hardwood Classics Swingman Basketball Jersey http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_New_York_Knicks/browse/featuredproduct/178326/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_178000/FF_178326_xl.jpg&w=100 89.95 adidas New York Knicks #19 Willis Reed Royal Blue Hardwood Classics Swingman Bas..
    adidas Philadelphia 76ers #6 Julius Erving Royal Blue Hardwood Classics Swingman Basketball Jersey http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Philadelphia_76ers/browse/featuredproduct/178582/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_178000/FF_178582_xl.jpg&w=100 89.95 adidas Philadelphia 76ers #6 Julius Erving Royal Blue Hardwood Classics Swingman..
    adidas Houston Rockets #34 Hakeem Olajuwon Red Hardwood Classics Swingman Basketball Jersey http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Houston_Rockets/browse/featuredproduct/178773/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_178000/FF_178773_xl.jpg&w=100 89.95 adidas Houston Rockets #34 Hakeem Olajuwon Red Hardwood Classics Swingman Basket..