Three-time Indianapolis 500 winner Helio Castroneves and four-time Indianapolis 500 winner Rick Mears used the public opening of the Team Penske’s 50th anniversary exhibit at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Hall of Fame Museum to unveil the car Castroneves will drive in the 100th Running of the Indianapolis 500 presented by PennGrade Motor Oil. The announcement was part of the many activities to commemorate the 100 days out countdown to the historic race May 29.
Castroneves’ Pennzoil-sponsored car will again use the famed “Yellow Submarine” livery as he seeks to join Mears, Al Unser and A.J. Foyt in the Indy 500’s exclusive four-time winners' club. The iconic livery, which Castroneves ran in 2014, is the same used by Mears in his 1984 and '88 wins.
“Last time we ran with these colors was 2014 and we finished second,” said Castroneves, who jokingly called the car the "Yelio Submarine" to rhyme with his name. “I don’t want to finish second anymore. We want to make it happen and it’s great Shell-Pennzoil has given me the opportunity do run this car on such a special day. Not only the 100th Running of the Indy 500, but in the 50th anniversary of Team Penske.”
The Team Penske exhibit will put a spotlight on 50 years of racing history, tradition and heritage with an amazing 22-car collection at the Hall of Fame Museum. The exhibit will feature an extensive lineup of the team's Indy cars, stock cars, Formula One and sports cars accompanied by an array of memorabilia and trophies. The collection of Indianapolis 500-winning cars starts with Mark Donohue’s from 1972 along with cars driven to IMS Victory Lane by Mears, Bobby Unser, Danny Sullivan, Unser, Emerson Fittipaldi, Al Unser Jr., Castroneves, Gil de Ferran and Sam Hornish Jr.
Also on display for the first time under one roof will be both the 2015 Indianapolis 500 and 2015 Daytona 500 winning cars of Penske drivers Juan Pablo Montoya and Joey Logano. The Team Penske exhibit will run from Feb. 19-Nov. 30, giving racing fans plenty of opportunity to see the winning collection.
“This puts a size on 50 years,” Mears said. “It’s hard to think about how big 50 years is physically, but when you walk in and see everything from 50 years in one place, so to speak, it lets you put a size to it. The magnitude of it is really what jumps out at you at first and then you think about the history and what has really taken place over that length of time.”
State of Indiana, City of Indianapolis honor 100th Indy 500, IMS
Indiana Secretary of State Connie Lawson and Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett delivered remarks and read proclamations alongside Indianapolis Motor Speedway President J. Douglas Boles and Verizon IndyCar Series drivers Helio Castroneves (a three-time Indianapolis 500 winner), Ed Carpenter (two-time "500" pole winner), Josef Newgarden and Matthew Brabham, declaring Feb. 19 "100th Running of the Indianapolis 500 Mile Race Countdown Day."
"We're honored that our elected officials would take time from their busy schedules to acknowledge the 100-days-out milestone to our long-anticipated 100th Running of the Indianapolis 500," Boles said. "We've had a wonderful relationship with the state and city for more than 100 years and days like this strengthen that."
Lawson, Hogsett, Butler University mascot Butler Blue III and 500 Festival chairman of the board Patty Martin received commemorative bottles of milk at the end of the ceremony on the Statehouse floor.
The complete proclamation can be viewed here. The proclamation from Gov. Mike Pence's office can be viewed here.
Castroneves, Carpenter and Newgarden, along with officials from IMS, then turned into milk delivery men and women, taking 100 signed commemorative bottles of milk around the city.
“Today has been a very busy day. We’ve been all over the place.” Castroneves said. “We delivered 100 bottles of milk to celebrate the countdown to the 100th day for 100th Running of the Indianapolis 500. It’s a lot of hundreds, but it’s a special day for a special race.”
Rahal hits Windy City to promote Indy, Road America
Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing driver Graham Rahal spent the the 100th day out in a very windy Chicago talking about a pair of historic 2016 Verizon Indy Car Series races – the 100th Running of the Indianapolis 500 and the Road America Grand Prix that features Indy car racing’s return to the renowned road course in Wisconsin.
Rahal made several media stops sandwiched around a visit to the Road America display at the Chicago Auto Show, where he greeted fans and signed autographs. In a morning interview on WGN Radio’s Steve Cochran Show, Rahal fondly recounted camping at Road America as a youngster while his father, Bobby, raced there.
“It’s a great place for families to come for the weekend and have a great time and see all kinds of racing,” Rahal said. The Road America Grand Prix, the first Indy car race at the track since 2007, is scheduled for June 24-26.
But, as with most everyone on this day, the primary topic of conversation was the 100th Indy 500 set for May 29. In an interview with 120 Sports, Rahal mentioned how build-up for the race has been “unbelievable” and that he would like nothing more than to win the landmark race 30 years after his father accomplished the feat. On that day, Graham said, his older sister Michaela became the first baby taken into Victory Lane at the ripe old age of 4 months.
If Graham wins in May, it would make the Rahals just the second father-son duo to win motor racing’s most desired prize, following in the footsteps of legends Al Unser and Al Unser Jr.
“To win the Indy 500 this year would be really incredible,” Graham said. “It would really set the mark for the next 100 years.”