When Helio Castroneves rolled onto the Indianapolis Motor Speedway oval in his bright yellow No. 3 Pennzoil Ultra Platinum Team Penske car the day after he drove a red and black Verizon one in the Grand Prix of Indianapolis, Dave Eisenhofer breathed a sigh of relief.
Eisenhofer, supervisor of Team Penske’s paint shop, and his crew spent most of the previous night turning everything inside and outside of Castroneves’ garage a chrome yellow hue. The Verizon IndyCar Series car Castroneves will drive in the Indianapolis 500 on May 25 was painted yellow weeks earlier at Penske headquarters in North Carolina. But, overnight after the Grand Prix, everything in Castroneves garage – from his backup car to garage signs and equipment -- had to go yellow.
"It was a total team effort. We had mechanics and everybody was helping,” said Eisenhofer, who has worked for Penske since 1979 and painted 13 of its 15 Indianapolis 500-winning cars. “That was probably the biggest feat we have done overnight like that. We couldn’t have done it without everybody’s help.”
The effort was unusual for the paint shop team that Eisenhofer oversees. But it contributes to the parade of colors fans will see on the grid. Castroneves' car and helmet are a throw-back paint jobs, honoring the look of the yellow car that four-time Indianapolis 500 champion Rick Mears won his second Indy 500. There will also be Pippa Mann’s bright pink Susan G. Komen car, Scott Dixon’s and Tony Kanaan’s matching silver and red Target livery and Townsend Bell’s Robert Graham car.
Bell’s livery is inspired by the look of Graham’s high-end clothing line and even includes an image of zipper on its nose and designs, including a colorful Indianapolis Motor Speedway wing and wheel and patterns from shirts, inside its cockpit.
“With an IndyCar, you have such a blank canvas to play with, so many interesting shapes with the body work,” Bell said. “You can let your imagination run wild if you decide to integrate a brand on the car.”
Bell’s looks a bit like a drip painting by abstract expressionist Jackson Pollock, said Robert Stock, co-founder and chief creative officer for Robert Graham.
So when that car and the 32 others that make up the field for the 98th Running of the Indianapolis 500 arrive on the track, consider them a rolling art exhibit and your race ticket will also offer admission to a unique art show. Sort through the liveries of the 33 starters:
Liveries of the 98th Indianapolis 500