Penske IndyCar squad continues personnel shifts, NASCAR cross-training

Penske IndyCar squad continues personnel shifts, NASCAR cross-training


Penske IndyCar squad continues personnel shifts, NASCAR cross-training


A long chat with Penske Racing president Tim Cindric (LEFT) during Juan Montoya’s test last month at Sonoma Raceway revealed an interesting initiative that was in play.


With Penske’s IndyCar and NASCAR teams in the midst of a rather slow off-season, Cindric used the track testing to pull in members from his NASCAR program to learn the methods and practices behind running open-wheel cars.


Recent stock car testing at Daytona International Speedway has seen those crew members return to their regular duties, but the process, as Cindric told RACER on Thursday, has been beneficial and will continue in the future.


“Some of the people we were training came from the stock car program and we’ll continue to do that with those who are interested after the [IndyCar] season ends in August,” said Cindric. “There’s a lot of differences between the programs that we think can be useful to learn and can show different ways of doing things. And after August, we could have some of our [IndyCar] guys cross-pollinate and train on the stock car side.


“We’re testing at Sebring [today], and the full-season IndyCar crew will be responsible for running the cars, so you won’t see any more training, but some of the guys on the team have come over from the stock car side last year and are part of this year’s crew.”

The addition of Juan Montoya to Team Penske’s IndyCar program in the No. 2 Chevy – a return to the three-car outfit that ran through 2012, along with some unrelated staffing moves, have led to other personnel adjustments, starting with the No. 3 Chevy driven by Helio Castroneves.


“Travis Law will be the chief mechanic on Helio’s car this year,” added Cindric. “Sean Hanrahan, who was on his car through last season, is no longer with us; he moved to [Michael] Waltrip’s Sprint Cup team and we’ve promoted Travis to lead Helio’s car. Sebring will be his first test as a chief.”


Law, as some of you might recall, was thrust into the spotlight at last year’s GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma when he was sent flying after contact was made between the tire he was carrying and the sidepod of Scott Dixon’s Target Chip Ganassi Racing entry during a pit stop.


Veteran Team Penske engineer Ron Ruzewski moved into a senior technical director role last year as Jonathan Diuguid took over engineering duties for Castroneves, and will return to a race engineering role with Montoya as he trains a possible replacement.


“We’ll have Ron Ruzewski on Juan’s car and we’ve moved Brian Campe over – he was a [NASCAR] Nationwide and Sprint Cup engineer – to work with Ron, learn the ropes with the vision of one day being an IndyCar engineer. Maybe this year or next year.”

Cindric has appointed Will Power’s former chief mechanic to look after Montoya’s car and could task Clive Howell with handling the Colombian’s race strategy.
“Billy Vincent will be the chief mechanic for Juan, and Clive is the obvious candidate for the timing stand. We’re still talking that part out with Clive and should have a decision pretty soon.”