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2016 Toronto: IndyCar Qualifying - Notebook
Posted by: ASkyler on Jul 17, 2016 - 07:07 AM
IndyCar News
2016 Toronto: IndyCar Qualifying - Notebook

Remembering Krosnoff on 20th anniversary of his death

The 2016 Honda Indy Toronto marks the 20th anniversary of driver Jeff Krosnoff's death in a crash during the race, which also claimed the life of track marshal Gary Avrin. Racer.com's Marshall Pruett honored Krosnoff by resurrecting a six-part series he wrote on the driver's life five years ago. Pruett graciously permitted IndyCar.com to share memories of Krosnoff from friends and fellow competitors.

Krosnoff was a 31-year-old Indy car rookie who competed in just 11 races with Arciero-Wells Racing in the CART series before his untimely death July 14, 1996. He had built credibility as a factory driver in other racing disciplines with the likes of Toyota, Nissan and Jaguar before getting a chance to drive an Indy car.

Along the way, Krosnoff earned a host of admirers for his determination, typified by his motto to "Stay Hungry." Mike Hull is the managing director at Chip Ganassi Racing Teams and has been working in Indy car racing for nearly four decades. He said today's drivers would be wise to emulate Krosnoff.

"What Jeff represented to me was a guy that went out every day and got the most from what was given to him," Hull said. "And I think he was a success, very much a success, and showed the way that race drivers should represent themselves. Because if he was having a good day, he was getting the most out of it. If his day wasn't as successful, he was still getting the most from it.

"That's what I truly enjoyed about him was that positive attitude makes such a difference when you're working within a team environment," Hull continued. "You want somebody that's out there trying their darndest to get the most out of it in a very positive manner, and that was Jeff Krosnoff."

Bryan Herta, now co-owner of the Andretti Herta Autosport with Curb-Agajanian entry driven by Alexander Rossi, was in his third season as an Indy car driver in 1996 when he competed with Krosnoff.

"At the time," Herta said, "you don't think that he's just going to have a handful of races to be judged by after all these years. You think that he's working with a new team, a good team, but one that was still developing and a new engine that needs developing. ... You just didn't really dwell on what he had right then because you expected a lot more to be right around the corner for him to show what he could really do. Unfortunately, that never happened for him."

Castroneves still on point as a dancer

Helio Castroneves and three students from the Oakville (Ontario) School of Classical Ballet turned heads in the Verizon IndyCar Series paddock with a few dance poses Friday. Dressed in tutus and tights, members of the youth dance company visited Team Penske's compound for a meeting with Castroneves, the three-time Indianapolis 500 winner and champion of the fifth season of ABC's "Dancing with the Stars."

Castroneves is supporting the school's "I'm on Point" campaign, created to introduce Oakville Ballet's fall performance to new audiences by enlisting celebrities and prominent figures to endorse its Sept. 16-17 premiere. Castroneves' celebrity dancing experience gave him an instant connection with the Oakville dancers.

"He was quite fun. He has a knowledge of dance, of course, because of 'Dancing with the Stars,'" said Amanda Paterson, artistic director of Oakville Ballet, who helped pose the dancers and Castroneves for photos in front of his No. 3 Pennzoil Team Penske Chevrolet. "He has worked with two dancers and he has a sense of how to balance the girls."

Castroneves signed on to help the ballet, in part, because his sister, Kati, is a former professional ballerina in Brazil. He partnered with 14-year-old ballerina Rachel Mortensen for a ballet demonstration. As he supported her, she instructed him to push her forward and to the left so she could lift her leg into the correct position.

"She coached me and it was great," said Castroneves. "The ballerina, the partner, it's just like my race car. I need to be in sync with them so when I turn, I need to make sure that the car turns. If there's a little bit of push, I end up in the wall.

"With them, the same thing. She was actually coaching me - 'OK, move a little bit forward' - so she can actually be, not only in a good pose, but it helps her to be nice and graceful. But the guy has to hold it without anyone seeing that he is sweating, like I am right now."

Mazda Road to Indy results

Felix Rosenqvist (Belardi Auto Racing) led all 35 laps to win an incident-filled Indy Lights presented by Cooper Tires race, the first of a weekend doubleheader. Points leader Ed Jones (Carlin) finished sixth. ... Victor Franzoni (ArmsUp Motorsports) jumped pole sitter Anthony Martin at the start and led all 22 laps to win the first of two Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship powered by Mazda races this weekend.

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