INDIANAPOLIS MOTOR SPEEDWAY PRESS RELEASE
INDIANAPOLIS, Friday, May 22, 2015 – The long-running epic battle between Team Penske and Chip Ganassi Racing jumped from the track to pit lane on Friday to decide the winner of the 2015 TAG Heuer Pit Stop Challenge during Coors Light Carb Day at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
When the smoke cleared, it was three-time Indianapolis 500 winner Helio Castroneves and his Team Penske crew winning in 12.561 seconds in the No. 3 Shell V-Power Nitro+ Team Penske Chevrolet over Charlie Kimball and his No. 83 Novo Nordisk Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet squad, who finished the contest with a time of 13.017 seconds.
With today’s TAG Heuer Pit Stop Challenge triumph, Team Penske has won the event a record 15 times. Castroneves owns the most TAG Heuer Pit Stop Challenge titles by a driver with seven, all with Team Penske. Castroneves and his crew will take home the $50,000 first place prize out of the total TAG Heuer Pit Stop Challenge purse of $100,000.
“This is just perfect,” Castroneves said. “We started the month great and had a little blip on the radar with that accident going out, but we’re back on track. The Shell V-Power car was unbelievable and these guys, it’s unbelievable. For us it’s nerve-wracking because you don’t want to screw up. Just a great effort from Team Penske.”
In two of Castroneves’s three Indianapolis 500 victories, he also won the Pit Stop Challenge (2002, 2009). Will that happen again on Sunday?
“I tell you what, I believe in any omen right now and if that’s where it takes it, I’ll believe it, but at this point it’s just great, fantastic effort by the Shell V-Power Nitro+ boys, great job everyone,” Castroneves said.
Castroneves’s winning team includes chief mechanic Travis Law, Patrick Stewart, Gary Yingst, Joel Svensson, John Turpin, Trevor Lacasse and Keenan Watson.
In reaching the final for the first time, Kimball and his crew – who earned the runner-up reward of $15,000 — had an impressive run in defeating two-time defending champion Scott Dixon and the No. 9 Target Chip Ganassi team in the quarterfinals, and Marco Andretti and his No. 27 Andretti Snapple Honda squad in the semifinals.
Twelve Verizon IndyCar Series teams competed in head-to-head competition in four rounds of exciting pit stop action. Each team was timed while performing a pit stop that required crews to change four tires and execute a simulated fuel hookup during each round of competition. Teams with the fastest time advanced to the next round.