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May 24, 2013 | By Paul Kelly
Team Penske and Helio Castroneves continued their mastery of the Indy 500 Pit Stop Challenge, winning the annual competition to determine the fastest Indianapolis 500 pit crew Friday, May 24 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
Castroneves and Team Penske beat Dario Franchitti and Target Chip Ganassi Racing, 14.475 seconds to 14.854 seconds, in the final round. This is the 14th victory for Team Penske and sixth victory for Castroneves in the Pit Stop Challenge, both event records for a team and driver.
Team Penske earned $50,000. Target Chip Ganassi Racing earned $15,000 for its runner-up finish.
“We do have the best guys in the business,” Castroneves said. “What impressed me most, it's overcoming those unexpected scenarios, and that's why they won today because I should have stopped on the mark, and I didn't. But I guess they got used to it now. So now there is no excuse in the race.”
Teams changed four tires and performed a simulated fuel hookup during each round of the competition, which started with 12 teams.
Three-time Indianapolis 500 winner Castroneves left the starting line late and overshot his pit box by about 3 feet, falling behind fellow three-time Indianapolis 500 winner Franchitti and the Ganassi team. But Team Penske crew members compensated with a stop nearly a second quicker than the Ganassi crew, which was slowed by a problem with the right-rear tire change.
Castroneves was the last driver to win the Pit Stop Challenge and the Indianapolis 500 in the same year, in 2009.
The crew members for Castroneves: Chief mechanic and right front tire, Sean Hanrahan; left front tire, Doug Snyder; right rear tire, Shaun Rinaman; left rear tire, Mike Brown; airjack, Gary Yingst; fueler, Gary Prall.
“We practice a lot at the shop when we can,” Hanrahan said. “It doesn't always happen when we want it to, but we work hard at it, and we've got a dedicated car for it. Shaun Rinaman is actually our pit stop manager, so we do what we can and, luckily, today everyone just kept digging. We overcame a problem out there and nobody gave up, and that was very important.”
Castroneves and Team Penske advanced to the final by beating Oriol Servia and Panther/Dreyer & Reinbold Racing in the semifinals. Franchitti and Target Chip Ganassi Racing beat reigning IZOD IndyCar Series champions Ryan Hunter-Reay and Andretti Autosport in the other semifinal.
The 97th Indianapolis 500 starts at noon (ET) Sunday.
2013 Indianapolis 500 tickets: Tickets are on sale for the 97th Indianapolis 500 Mile Race on Sunday, May 26 at IMS.
Race Day ticket prices start at just $30. Fans can buy tickets online at www.ims.com/tickets, by calling the IMS ticket office at (317) 492-6700, or (800) 822-INDY outside the Indianapolis area, or by visiting the ticket office at the IMS Administration Building at the corner of Georgetown Road and 16th Street between 8 a.m.-5 p.m. (ET) Monday-Friday.
Children 12 and under will receive free general admission to any IMS event in 2013 when accompanied by an adult general admission ticket holder.
Tickets for groups of 20 or more also are on sale. Contact the IMS Group Sales Department at (866) 221-8775 for more information.