FORT WORTH, TX – Races aren’t won in practice. In fact, there’s no points or money on the line whenever a car hits a race track for practice. But, practice can help aid in a good starting spot as well as making your car perfect to win that said race on any given race weekend.
For Team Penske, they have to hope they have a much better practice this evening, or they may be out to lunch again tomorrow night at the Texas Motor Speedway.
At Indy, Penske struggled all week of practice as most everyone thought they may have been sandbagging. Most everyone also thought they’d turn it on in qualifying though.
But, the speed never came, as they didn’t put a single car in the top five of qualifying for the 100th Running of the Indianapolis 500. Yes, they had three cars make the Firestone Fast Nine, but none of those three realistically had a shot at the pole let alone the front row.
After winning every pole position this year and the last three a year ago, the fact that they didn’t have a car on the pole for the 100th Running of the Indy 500 was just as surprising as them being a bit off pace.
That led everyone to wonder if maybe their race pace would be better.
The Penske cars weren’t a factor all race, as they had just one car finish in the top 10.
Despite those struggles, everyone assumed they’d have that fixed by time they got to Texas this weekend. They had all four cars a year ago qualify in the top five.
But, it appears after practice this morning, that they still don’t have it fixed yet.
Juan Pablo Montoya was the quickest Penske driver in practice as he was eighth of the speed charts with a speed of 215.155 mph in his No. 2 Verizon Wireless Chevrolet. Will Power was ninth quickest while Simon Pagenaud and Helio Castroneves were 12th and 14th respectively.
Then in qualifying, it wasn’t much better as all four drivers struggled again.
Castroneves was fastest among the four drivers, as he qualified his No. 3 AAA Chevy third while Pagenaud, Power and Montoya will start sixth, seventh and 17th respectively.
For a team that won both poles last weekend in Belle Isle to give them seven poles in eight races this year entering this weekend, it appears the ovals may be getting the best of them as they don’t look like pole caliber cars right now.