The “Yellow Submarine” returns to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway for the 98th Indianapolis 500 Mile Race.
Three-time Indianapolis 500 winner Helio Castroneves will drive the No. 3 Pennzoil car with the iconic yellow, black and red scheme in the May 25 race. The tie-in is in conjunction with the launch of Pennzoil Platinum and Pennzoil Ultra Platinum Full Synthetic motor oils with PurePlus Technology.
“For me, it’s an inspiration,” Castroneves said. “I remember Rick Mears going down the straightaway and into Turn 1. You could spot the car – anywhere … but I am going to drive the car. What a tradition and what a great honor.”
Pennzoil’s presence in Indy car racing began in the 1930s with Russell Snowberger and, based on his success, more teams began to use Pennzoil racing oil in their race cars. In 1979, Pennzoil joined Johnny Rutherford and the team painted the Pennzoil-sponsored car bright yellow. The look was so bright and distinctive that fans and competitors nicknamed it the “Yellow Submarine.” The next year, Rutherford won at Indianapolis.
After joining Team Penske in 1983, Pennzoil won Indianapolis 500 races in 1984 and 1988 in a similar yellow, black and red scheme with Rick Mears behind the wheel.
Mears and Castroneves have combined for seven of team owner Roger Penske’s record 15 Indianapolis 500 victories. Castroneves will attempt to join Mears, Al Unser and A.J. Foyt as the only four-time Indy 500 winners. Castroneves, whose next victory will tie Mears for 11th all time, also will wear a throwback-style helmet in honor of Mears.
“I feel like a small fish in a big ocean right now with those two legends over here,” said Castroneves, who also will have the color scheme on the car for the Shell & Pennzoil Grand Prix of Houston in late June. “At the end of the day, Penske has a great history here at the Speedway. I can’t wait to be sitting in that car at the beginning of practice and I can’t wait to go race with these colors. I’m extremely thankful and honored to be wearing not only the Pennzoil colors but Rick’s helmet colors, too.”
Mears said memories flashed through his mind when he saw the car on display at the Speedway.
“It’s a gorgeous car. It brings back a lot of memories. You wish you could do it again, but you know you can’t,” he said.
Rutherford's 1980-winning Chaparral 2K -- a Formula One-inspired car designed by John Barnard -- was the start of the ground effect era.
“Jim Hall had three cars built in England and brought them over and he had a tight connection with Pennzoil. He went to them to try and get them to be a sponsor and, of course, their colors are yellow. It was just natural,” said Rutherford, a three-time Indy 500 winner.
“It was fun, enjoyable, the car was great. It opened up a whole new avenue of the way you drove them and the way things happened.”
Grammy Award-winning Rimes to sing national anthem
Multiple Grammy Award-winning country music artist LeAnn Rimes will sing the national anthem during pre-race ceremonies for the 98th Indianapolis 500.
Rimes was the youngest person to ever win a Grammy Award and was the first country artist to win the Grammy for Best New Artist.
"To sing the national anthem at one of the most prestigious racing events is truly an honor," she said. "The adrenaline at the Speedway is felt around the world and I know I am one of millions who is so excited to hear those six legendary words 'ladies and gentlemen, start your engines.' "
Who will be the next big winner?
Previous winners of major inaugural races at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway: Ray Harroun (1911 Indianapolis 500), Jeff Gordon (1994 Brickyard 400), Michael Schumacher (2000 U.S. Grand Prix Formula One), Valentino Rossi (2008 Indianapolis MotoGP race), Sebastien Bourdais (2012 Grand-Am race).
The first motorsport event at the Speedway was a motorcycle race on Aug. 14, 1909, on the 2.5 mile oval.
Montoya has been around the Speedway
Juan Pablo Montoya, the 2000 Indianapolis 500 winner who also made multiple NASCAR Sprint Cup starts on the oval, made six starts in F1 on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course. He also was a passenger on the road course on a MotoGP two-seater.
Montoya, in his first Verizon IndyCar Series season driving the No. 2 Verizon Team Penske car, has a best finish of fourth at Long Beach last month.
ABC analyst Scott Goodyear took a Chevrolet Tahoe out for a lap on the road course, but he instinctively turned left out of Gasoline Alley onto the oval. The GP will run in a clockwise direction. … The Butterball brand will be an associate sponsor on the No. 28 Andretti Autosport car driven by Ryan Hunter-Reay for the Grand Prix of Indianapolis and the Indianapolis 500. … Indianapolis-based cmcglobal and DMCIndy, consulting and logistical project management companies, will be associate sponsors on the No. 20 cars in the Grand Prix of Indianapolis and Indianapolis 500. … KV Racing Technology announced that Hippino will be the team's official travel partner through the season.