Teamwork a priority for IndyCar’s Team Penske

  • By Hank Kurz Jr. Associated Press
  • Thursday, June 25, 2009 4:43pm
  • SportsSports

RICHMOND, Va. — When Danica Patrick and Marco Andretti wound up dueling side-by-side — then feuding afterward — during an IndyCar Series race at Texas Motor Speedway this season, their big names drew plenty of attention to the spat.

That they were teammates only made it spicier.

It also served to highlight how the drivers under the Team Penske umbrella — Helio Castroneves and Ryan Briscoe — have managed to make working together benefit each other, even while both are always chasing the same checkered flag and top spot in the points race.

“Ryan and I, we’ve been working really, really well together,” Castroneves said during a test at Richmond International Raceway in advance of Saturday night’s visit to the shortest oval the series races. “My philosophy, if you get along with a guy, that can improve your car as well, help you, because remember, we have limited testing. So if he tries something and I’m trying totally the opposite, and we find something, that is benefiting both of us.

“The bad side is he’s going to have the same thing that I have,” said a smiling Castroneves, “but the good news is we’re going to be better than the rest of the field. So if my day’s bad, I’ll hopefully finish second. … The team’s going to have the result.”

It’s a philosophy that Penske insists on, and that both drivers embrace. Briscoe has one victory through seven races and is leading the point standings, and Castroneves has won twice in six starts and is fourth in points, just 29 behind, despite missing the opening race while on trial for tax evasion. He was eventually acquitted.

Penske’s Dario Franchitti and Scott Dixon, each with two victories, are 2-3 in the points.

“For me, it comes naturally,” Briscoe said, adding it was evident when he interviewed to join the organization that a team-first mentality is something Penske looks for in a driver.

“Internally we all believe that it makes the team stronger when we can work with each other and not against each other,” Briscoe said at RIR.

Patrick, who made an appearance at Richmond International Airport on Thursday, said the communication on her Andretti-Green Racing team also is what makes that unit strong.

She arrives at Richmond fifth in the points race, the top-ranked non-winner.

“What makes you a strong team is that you are honest with each other and that you talk a lot, and that’s something that we always do as a team,” she said. “We always communicate.”

As for the Penske team, if there are differences, owner Roger Penske sets the tone on how to handle them, Castroneves said.

“Obviously people make mistakes. We have emotions. People are human beings,” he said. “But if something like that happens, Roger is the right person to come and talk. It’s not like a father, like, ‘Hey, you cannot do that.’ I just think communication is the key.

“It’s like when you wash clothes, you wash in your house – you don’t go out there and show everybody,” he said. “That’s just the way Team Penske conducts themselves.”

Briscoe said it helps that Penske, with successful teams in NASCAR as well as open-wheel racing, has been a part of the sport for decades, and a great success in business as well.

“He’s a racer. He knows what it’s like to drive a car and he knows what it’s like when the car might not be handling very well and he just really understands what we need and what we can be going through at time,” Briscoe said. “Just a great man to work with.”

Talk to us

More in Sports

Arlington’s defense stuffs Ferndale running back Talan Bungard on Friday, Sept. 22, 2023, at Arlington High School in Arlington, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Arlington steamrolls Ferndale in 3A Wesco North showdown

The Eagles light up offense in the first half, finish business to earn a 46-14 win.

Lake Stevens High School head football coach Tom Tri hoists his team’s championship trophy during a community parade and celebration Saturday, Dec. 10, 2022, in Lake Stevens, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
The Herald’s 2022-23 Man of the Year in Sports: Tom Tri

The Lake Stevens coach guided the Vikings to Snohomish County’s first large classification football state title in more than 30 years.

West Linn’s Ryan Vandenbrink (23) runs with the ball during a football game between Lake Stevens and West Linn at Lake Stevens High School in Lake Stevens, Washington on Friday, Sept. 22, 2023. West Linn won, 49-30. (Annie Barker / The Herald)
Turnovers cost Lake Stevens in loss to Oregon power West Linn

The Vikings’ run of 35 straight home wins in the regular season ends in an interstate showdown of big-school state champions.

Marysville Pilchuck’s Christian Van Natta lifts the ball in the air to celebrate a turnover during the game against Marysville Getchell on Friday, Sept. 16, 2022 in Marysville, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Prep football roundup for Friday, Sept. 22

Prep football roundup for Friday, Sept. 22: (Note for coaches/scorekeepers: To report… Continue reading

Lynnwood teammates mob senior Abbie Orr (4) after her impressive dig led to a point against Jackson during a volleyball match Thursday, Sept. 14, 2023, at Lynnwood High School in Bothell, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Lynnwood volleyball team continues rise to prominence

After ending a 20-year state drought last season, the Royals are surging again and have vaulted to No. 3 in Class 3A in the new WSVCA poll.

Seattle Seahawks quarterback Geno Smith (7) scrambles up field during the second half of an NFL football game against the Detroit Lions, Sunday, Sept. 17, 2023, in Detroit. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)
Seahawks set to host Panthers, honor past while focused on present

Seattle will honor the 10-year anniversary of its only Super Bowl championship during Sunday’s game.

Jackson High’s Ben Lee lunges to get to the ball against Kamiak on Thursday, Sep. 22, 2022, at the Kamiak Tennis Courts in Mukilteo, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Prep boys tennis season preview: Players and teams to watch

A look at the area’s top athletes and teams on the tennis court this fall.

Fall prep sports roundup.
Prep roundup for Saturday, Sept. 23

Also, Friday’s non-football prep results.

Austin Roest prepares to take a wrist shot during the first day of Silvertips training camp on Thursday, August 31, 2023, at Angel of the Winds Arena in Everett, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Dad is an NHL bigwig, but Silvertips’ Roest carving his own path

The 19-year-old forward and son of Stanley Cup-winning executive Stacy Roest leads the Silvertips into the 2023-24 season.

Most Read