INDIANAPOLIS – One of the big reasons why Helio Castroneves is so fast in the Indianapolis 500 is because his Team Penske crew is so fast on pit road. They proved it in Friday’s TAG Heuer Pit Stop Challenge by winning it for a record seventh time.
Castroneves’ crew defeated Charlie Kimball and his Chip Ganassi Racing Teams crew in the finals by just 0.456 seconds. Kimball’s stop was 13.017 seconds and Castroneves was out in just 12.561.
The Team Penske pit crew received the $50,000 first-place prize for its speed, precision and accuracy. The winner of the competition has gone on to win the Indianapolis 500 six times, most recently with Castroneves in 2009. It was the seventh win for Castroneves and the 15th for Team Penske in the pit stop competition.
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“With them, I wouldn’t be able to do what I am able to do – winning and being competitive,” Castroneves said. “Just two days from the Indy 500, it is just another boost to know that I have the fastest group of guys out there.
“I can’t wait to go into Sunday knowing that we’ve (been) kicking ass on pit stops.”
Travis Law is the chief mechanic for Castroneves and changed the right front tire on the Shell V-Power Nitro+ Team Penske Chevrolet.
“There is no question everybody on our team on this car are dedicated 100 percent,” Law said. “To come back like this (from Castroneves’ May 13 crash) with a victory in the pit stop competition shows what every is made of here. It feels like a weight off our shoulders.
“There is so much work that goes into this on all the cars with all the members on the entire team. This is for everybody, not just this crew.”
Other members of the winning crew included Joel Svensson on the left front; Keenan Watson on the right rear; Trevor Lacasse on the left rear, Patrick Stewart at the fueler, Gary Yingst on the airjack and John Turpin handling the signboard.
Twelve pit crews were involved in the competition including Alex Tagliani and Jack Hawksworth at A.J. Foyt Enterprises; Kimball at Ganassi; Takuma Sato at Foyt; Graham Rahal at Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing; Castroneves; James Jakes at Schmidt Peterson Motorsports; Townsend Bell at Dreyer & Reinbold – Kingdom Racing; Scott Dixon at Chip Ganassi Racing; Ryan Briscoe at Schmidt Peterson Motorsports; Marco Andretti at Andretti Autosport and Will Power at Team Penske.
Andretti and Kimball advanced to the semifinals with Kimball’s crew defending Andretti’s by 0.865 seconds. Two Team Penske crews faced off in the other semifinal with Castroneves’ guys defeating Power’s by 0.159 seconds.
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