CHAMPCAR/CART: Marlboro Team Penske Cleveland preview

Marlboro Team Penske Heads to Cleveland - One of CART's Fastest Temporary Circuits This weekend, Marlboro Team Penske heads to Burke Lakefront Airport in downtown Cleveland for the 20th running of the Cleveland Grand Prix. It will be the third...

Marlboro Team Penske Heads to Cleveland - One of CART's Fastest Temporary Circuits

This weekend, Marlboro Team Penske heads to Burke Lakefront Airport in downtown Cleveland for the 20th running of the Cleveland Grand Prix. It will be the third consecutive weekend of CART racing and the third consecutive appearance on a street/road course.

With its unique location and track configuration on the airport runways, the Cleveland course offers long fast straightaways and a wide track, which allows for more passing than most street circuits. The track is also a fan favorite since almost every seat in the house offers a view of the entire circuit.

DE FERRAN STRONG AT CLEVELAND

* In his six starts at Cleveland, defending FedEx Series Champion Gil de Ferran has started on the front row four times including his first CART pole in 1995.

* De Ferran has finished on the podium three times at Burke Lakefront Airport including winning the race in 1996.

* In his six years of racing in Cleveland, de Ferran has finished 542 out of 560 laps (97%) and led 161 (29%).

DE FERRAN ON CLEVELAND

"Cleveland is a track and city that I really enjoy. While the track is bumpy, it's wide and fast and you can try different lines. There's plenty of room to race and, unlike most temporary circuits, it has a lot of very fast corners. It's also a great venue for the fans because they can see the whole track.

We've been struggling a bit since CART sprung the new valve change on Honda in Detroit. Hopefully, we won't be quite as penalized with the engine situation as we were in Portland because the straights aren't as long at Cleveland. I won my first CART pole here in 1995 and won the race in 1996 so this venue holds very good memories for me."

CASTRONEVES AT CLEVELAND

Although Helio Castroneves had his first US podium finish in Cleveland when he was racing in the Indy Lights Series in 1996, he has yet to reach the winner's circle in his Champ Car career.

"Cleveland has never been a very good track for me, as a matter of fact, I've never been able to finish a Champ Car race there. I've had some success in Indy Lights (3rd place finish in 1996) and I enjoy the circuit because it's so wide and fast, but for some reason I've never done well there in Champ Cars. We're looking for a little better luck this year and hopefully the reduction in horsepower (brought on by the new CART mandated valve) won't hurt us too much. It's the tracks that you don't do well at that are the biggest challenges for a driver and if there is one thing I know, Marlboro Team Penske is always up for a challenge."

MARLBORO TEAM PENSKE AT CLEVELAND

* Marlboro Team Penske has had 23 cars start at Cleveland since 1990.

* In their eleven years of racing at Burke Lakefront Airport, Marlboro Team Penske has captured the pole four times consecutively (Fittipaldi -- 1991, 1992; Tracy - 1993; Unser Jr. - 1994) and has had a car on the front row six times including a front row sweep in 1994 (Unser Jr. and Tracy).

* Since 1990, Marlboro Team Penske has won the Cleveland Grand Prix four times (Sullivan - 1990; Fittipaldi - 1992; Tracy - 1993; Unser Jr. - 1994) and has had eight podium finishes. In their 23 starts they have had 13 top-ten finishes.

* Marlboro Team Penske captured three of their four race wins at Cleveland from the pole (1992, 1993 and 1994).

* Marlboro Team Penske drivers have led a total of 300 of the 985 laps the Team has contested at the track (30%).

CART FEDEX CHAMPIONSHIP SERIES POINT STANDINGS

1     Kenny Brack               76
2     Helio Castroneves         69
3     Michael Andretti          53
4     Cristiano da Matta        49
5     Christian Fittipaldi      46
6     Dario Franchitti          45
7     Scott Dixon               44
8     Gil de Ferran             44
9     Paul Tracy                40
10    Jimmy Vasser              40
11    Max Papis                 38
12    Roberto Moreno            36

-MTP-

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Helio Castroneves , Gil de Ferran , Michael Andretti , Jimmy Vasser , Max Papis , Roberto Moreno , Christian Fittipaldi , Paul Tracy , Dario Franchitti , Scott Dixon , Kenny Brack , Cristiano da Matta
Teams Team Penske