Up in smoke

Posted by Iannucci | 8/20/2008 | 11 comments »
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Holy Infernos! The braintrust at Trackside Online informs us that Team Penske just suffered their worst fire since Indianapolis in 1981.

The Penske Racing transporter taking Helio Castroneves and Ryan Briscoe's primary cars to Infineon was destroyed in a fire early this morning in Wyoming.

Apparently a wheel bearing caught fire and when the truck drivers were unable to extinguish the flames themselves, they eventually retreated and unhooked the tractor - watching the trailer and its contents burn - including the cars.

Team president Tim Cindric told Robin Miller in a SpeedTV.com story that the loss is at least a couple million dollars. The team immediately began to ship more cars to Sonoma from their North Carolina shop.

Those cars however are currently set-up for oval racing. Helio's back-up road course car had been used in testing at Sonoma last week and it is apparently still in California - where it now becomes his primary road course car.

Well, Helio wasn't going to catch Dixon anyways, was he?

UPDATE: Robin reports that Team Penske President Tim Cindric cited the lack of telephone coverage as contributing to the disaster.

"It was about 2:30 in the morning and they had no cell phone coverage but somebody finally saw it burning and eventually the fire department showed up. Obviously, it was too late to help."

Fun fact: one of the Penske stock cars is sponsored by a cellular service provider. How ironic.


  1. Anonymous // August 20, 2008 1:22 PM  

    And the entire series the stock car teams race in is sponsored by a cell phone company. The irony...

  2. Anonymous // August 20, 2008 1:22 PM  

    Thank goodness the truckers are alright. That's gonna be a big hit in the wallet for the team.

  3. Anonymous // August 20, 2008 5:36 PM  

    [Insert "Briscoe Inferno" joke here]

  4. Anonymous // August 20, 2008 5:55 PM  

    Does this make the Evil Empire a "transition team" now?

  5. Jennifer Coomer // August 20, 2008 7:20 PM  

    as long as helio was not inside

  6. H. B. Donnelly // August 20, 2008 7:37 PM  

    It's a damn good thing this happened to Penske and not to someone like Conquest, KV, etc. That would have easily been the end of one of the low-end teams.

  7. Anonymous // August 20, 2008 9:08 PM  

    No the real irony is that Sunday at Infineon is "Firefighter Appreciation day" I kid you not...

  8. Anonymous // August 21, 2008 8:20 AM  

    Man, Chip will stop at nothing to make sure Dixon wins..... Didn't they see him at the last rest area under the trailer - he is hard to miss!

  9. Anonymous // August 21, 2008 8:59 AM  

    That's not irony, it's just really, really bad luck.

  10. Anonymous // August 21, 2008 2:50 PM  

    Ganassi's arson team...

  11. Anonymous // August 21, 2008 5:05 PM  

    Where's Steven Segall when you need him? I guess the rig was passing through Dark Territory, eh.