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25th of May 2017

Automotive



Roger Penske at Indy 500: We don't have team orders; if we wreck, we wreck

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Pick one. Anyone. All five of Team Penske's drivers for the 2017 Indianapolis 500 -- Helio Castroneves, Simon Pagenaud, Josef Newgarden, Will Power and Juan Pablo Montoya -- can win over Memorial Day weekend at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Two -- Castroneves and Montoya -- already have wins in the 500, and two others -- Pagenaud and Power -- are past series champions. New kid on the Penske block Newgarden already has a race win in 2017.

So, should any combination of these five drivers come into the final dozen or so laps on May 28 finding themselves dicing with a teammate for the possible win, would The Captain ever step in and call a play to at least make sure one of his drivers brought home the Borg-Warner Trophy.

"It's a good problem to have," Penske said on Friday during a press conference featuring the boss and his five drivers at IMS. "I think just to put the record straight, we don't have team orders. The only thing we do say is that, look, you know, the first part of the race let's take care of each other. I guess I've said that a number of times.

"When we qualify one-two, we don't need to be knocking each other off the track going into the first corner. ... But I think I've said it before, the last 10 laps these guys should go at it as hard as they can. If we wreck, we wreck."

Indy 500 hopeful Helio Castroneves has ace up his sleeve in bid for fourth win

Newgarden says mutual respect will play a role in how he plays things in the 500.

"I think we expect to race each other as hard as we can," Newgarden said. "Why would you not? You have to, but I think with absolute respect and thinking about the team at the end of the day. Because you have to understand, this is such a monumental effort from everyone involved, not just from the drivers but from everyone at the shop that makes these cars turn for this whole month and everything it takes to get to the race and to run it and to run those 200 laps. 

"You have to think about that. If you're running with teammates, you don't want to do something silly that jeopardizes the opportunity for the team. So, yeah, I think you're going to be a little bit selfish as a driver to try and win it, but you really have to think about the team at the end of the day just because of everything that's been put into it."

Power says the team doesn't need team orders. The drivers know what's at stake.

"You both don't want to end up in the wall," Power said. "You know, it's a simple rule. Don't take your teammate out. That's always got to be in your mind, you know, because it is ultimately the team that wins when one of us wins."

Mike Pryson

Mike Pryson - Mike Pryson covered auto racing for the Jackson (Mich.) Citizen Patriot and M-Live Media Group from 1991 until joining Autoweek as online motorsports editor In 2012. Promoted to motorsports editor in 2015. See more by this author»

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