A desire to further cultivate that team
culture was a driving force behind Cindric’s
decision to move the IndyCar team from
Pennsylvania to share a facility with the
NASCAR operation in North Carolina, and
that same culture of unity is one of the key
prerequisites for a potential Penske driver.
On paper it’s difficult to imagine how such
a collection of alpha personalities as
Castroneves, Power, Juan Pablo Montoya
and now Simon Pagenaud could survive
in the same hauler. The one thing that
unifies them is their commitment to the
cause, and Cindric doesn’t believe that’s
something that can be taught – or faked.
“I never felt like you can make drivers
work together,” he says. “It’s not something
that even Roger can make drivers do.
There are certain parameters you can put
in place, but that isn’t necessarily going to
mean they work together. By and large, we
have drivers who race for our team and look
at the team as a big part of themselves.”
This is backed up by Castroneves.
“Obviously we’re trying to do the best
thing for ourselves,” he says. “But more
than anything, we are also trying to do
the best thing for the team. We drivers
all fight for the same thing – we actually
team up against the engineers in
meetings! So there is no preference.
We’re all for one and one for all – like the
It wouldn’t take much prompting to get
Helio into a (well-pressed) swashbuckling
costume, but fortunately the team’s success
does not require him to. That’s all based
on some very smart men with some very
good plans. And as long as they keep
executing, Team Penske’s position as the
sport’s benchmark will be tough to dispute.
“Some may believe that we’re at the
top of the sport right now,” cautions
Penske wisely, “and maybe that is true.
But our challenge now is to make sure
that we stay there.”
It’s five years since Helio
Castroneves kissed the bricks for a
third time, and gave Team Penske
its most recent visit to racing’s
most hallowed Victory Circle. But
while Penske is not a team that
celebrates near-misses, neither is
it in crisis mode over when its day
at the Indy 500 will come again.
“It frustrates us, but it doesn’t
haunt us,” says Tim Cindric. “The
fact people look at it as a drought,
is a testament to how high the
expectations are for us. To lose by
what we lost by this year [0.06s],
Castroneves believes many of
Penske’s previous advantages at
Indy were stripped away by the
arrival of the DW12 chassis in 2012.
“The DW12 has so much drag,
it’s impossible to pull away if you’re
leading,” he says. “That really
changed the dynamic of the race.”
Cindric agrees the new car
created a new style of racing at IMS.
The days of a team dominating
practice, then executing on race day
are gone; now the “500” is largely
about positioning and opportunism.
“The equipment differentiation
is so small that the race is very
circumstantial now,” he says.
“Anybody in that top three to top
five is in a position to win the race
at the end, whereas before, you
had to have a dominant car to win.
“The rules have handcuffed a lot
of things to the point where it’s
more like NASCAR at Daytona or
Talladega than the Indy 500 the
way we traditionally think of it.
It’s the balance of the
entertainment factor versus the
technical challenge of it.”
Given the huge draft created by the DW12’s
rear wing, the leader of the Indy 500
tends to drag along the best of his rivals,
unable to shake them from his tail.
ADAPTING TO A “NEW” INDY 500
chasInG that 16th WIn
(LEFt) Power not
only fulfilled his
dream at Fontana
last august, he also
ended an eight-year
Indycar title drought
for team Penske.
RP calls castroneves’
strategies, while (tOP
RIGht) cindric does
the same for Power.
although race day
rivals (RIGht), they
share a pro-Penske,