CHAMPCAR/CART: De Ferran grabs Houston pole

Marlboro Team Penske's Gil de Ferran helped his own cause in more than one way by winning the pole position for Sunday's Texaco Grand Prix of Houston. Not only did the 32-year old Brazilian earn the best staring spot for the 100-lap (152.70...

Marlboro Team Penske's Gil de Ferran helped his own cause in more than one way by winning the pole position for Sunday's Texaco Grand Prix of Houston. Not only did the 32-year old Brazilian earn the best staring spot for the 100-lap (152.70 mile) race, he added one more valuable championship point to his FedEx Championship Series lead.

Gil now leads countryman Roberto Moreno by nine points. The effort marked de Ferran's 14th top-five qualifying performance in 18 races this year. It was also Honda's 50th pole position since it entered CART competition in 1994. "I kept waiting for Roger (Penske) to call me on the radio to say that I had dropped to P-2 or P-3," de Ferran commented. "It was very tense because a lot of guys got close. But it never happened."

De Ferran also said his plan is to race the same way he has all year, rather than trying to get conservative to protect his points lead. "You have to be careful not to let those thoughts enter your head," he said. "I wasn't thinking about anything today other than driving the car. We have to race hard and try not to overcomplicate things like fuel strategy. The best thing to do is to race normally. It has worked well for us so far this year."

Helio Castroneves qualified the second Team Penske entry in fourth position. "I tell you, I was definitely trying hard out there," related Castroneves. "I just wasn't able to put together a quick enough lap to join Gil on the front row. But I think we will be strong in the race." Sunday's event will be televised live at 4:00 EST on ABC.

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Helio Castroneves , Gil de Ferran , Roberto Moreno
Teams Team Penske