Team Outlook 2016: Penske banking on continuity leading to success


Team Penske


Juan Pablo Montoya, No. 2 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet

Helio Castroneves, No. 3 Hitachi Team Penske Chevrolet

Will Power, No. 12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet

Simon Pagenaud, No. 22 Hewlett Packard Enterprise Chevrolet

Chief engineers: Brian Campe (Montoya), Jonathan Diuguid (Castroneves), David Faustino (Power), Ben Bretzman (Pagenaud)

Race strategists: Jon Bouslog (Montoya), Roger Penske (Castroneves), Tim Cindric (Power), Kyle Moyer (Pagenaud)

Owner: Roger Penske

2015 highlights: When you win the Indianapolis 500, two other races, 11 pole positions and one of your drivers loses the season championship on a tiebreak, it’s difficult to consider the season a bit of a disappointment. But such are the standards when you’re Team Penske. Juan Pablo Montoya won the St. Petersburg opener and led the standings until the finale at Sonoma, where Scott Dixon snatched the title by capturing the double-points race to give him three wins to Montoya’s two. The only other Penske win in 2015 came from the pole by Will Power on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course. Montoya and Power also put on a dazzling display in the final laps of the 99th Indianapolis 500, with Montoya beating his teammate in the fourth-closest finish in race history. Meanwhile, Helio Castroneves went winless for just the second time in his 16 Team Penske seasons and Simon Pagenaud spent his first season adjusting to the “Penske way,” managing a pair of third places as his best showings.

What’s new for 2016: What’s new is old for Team Penske. All four drivers are back and their crews remain virtually intact. Continuity has been a mainstay at Penske for decades and the belief is it will translate into more success across the board in 2016.

They said it: “After winning the Indy 500 and getting off to a good start last year, we weren’t able to capitalize on our speed throughout the rest of the season,” said Tim Cindric, president of Penske Performance Inc. and the race strategist for Power. “We really have to do a better job of converting our strong qualifying efforts into wins. Hopefully, the continuity within our team will pay dividends in 2016 and we will reach our potential. Simon will be much more comfortable with the team this year and that should translate into seeing him up at the front more often as well. As we celebrate Team Penske’s 50th anniversary, we are really focused on adding to our legacy.”

“Every year we try to get stronger and we work hard at it,” Montoya said. “You hear about how good, how quick, how much better teams are (in the preseason), but now it’s time to go out there and do it, not talk about it. Being a Verizon (sponsored) driver in the Verizon IndyCar Series, this is a big year for us. It’s the 50th anniversary of Team Penske, the 100th Running of the Indy 500, so we want to have a hell of a year.”

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