CHAMPCAR/CART: Marlboro Team Penske pit notes pre-Chicago

Pit Notes July 24, 2001 WHAT THEY'RE SAYING... At the beginning of the 2001 CART FedEx Championship season, Marlboro Team Penske spoke with several motorsports journalists across the country and asked them who they thought would capture the...

Pit Notes
July 24, 2001

WHAT THEY'RE SAYING...

At the beginning of the 2001 CART FedEx Championship season, Marlboro Team Penske spoke with several motorsports journalists across the country and asked them who they thought would capture the 2001 CART FedEx Championship Series title. Of the 25 journalists polled, eight different CART drivers received votes to win the Championship with Gil de Ferran earning eight of those votes - the most of any driver; Helio Castroneves was second with four votes and Kenny Brack and Michael Andretti tied for third with three votes each, other drivers selected were Paul Tracy, Dario Franchitti, Cristiano da Matta and Jimmy Vasser.

Now at the mid-point of the 2001 season, Marlboro Team Penske spoke with a majority of these same motorsports journalists and asked them if they still thought their pick would win the Championship. Most journalists decided to stick with their original selections, while two switched to Brack, one switched to Castroneves, and one switched to Franchitti.

In addition, Marlboro Team Penske asked which driver's performance has been the most surprising and what has been the most exciting moment of the 2001 season.

The overwhelming majority of journalists thought Scott Dixon's performance had been the biggest surprise of the 2001 season, while Max Wilson, Patrick Carpentier, Memo Gidley, Bryan Herta and Cristiano da Matta were also recognized.

The response to the question regarding the most exciting moment in the 2001 season was highly varied among the journalists and included Marlboro Team Penske's 1-2 finish at the Indianapolis 500; Castroneves' two wire-to-wire wins in Long Beach and Detroit; the final laps of the Cleveland race; Michael Andretti's win from the back of the field in Toronto; the finish of the Michigan 500; Brack's assault on Dixon in Nazareth; and anytime Michael Schumacher was passed.

With seven different winners in the first ten races of the season, and the top ten in points only separated by 36 points, the 2001 CART FedEx Championship Series is as competitive as ever. The closeness of the competition led one journalist to remark that it's even more difficult now than it was at the start of the season to pick the 2001 Champion.

CASTRONEVES PIT CREW LEADS PIT STOP CHALLENGE

At the midway point of the 2001 season, the crew of the #3 2001 Marlboro Honda Reynard, led by veteran crew chief Rick Rinaman, still leads the Craftsman Pit Crew Challenge with 78 points. Points are awarded based on cumulative time in the pits at each race.

The pit crew for the #3 car took the lead from the crew of Marlboro Team Penske teammate Gil de Ferran after the Nazareth race and has led the competition ever since. <pre> CART FEDEX SERIES CHAMPIONSHIP POINT STANDINGS

1   Kenny Brack                 84
2   Dario Franchitti            81
3   Helio Castroneves           75
4   Michael Andretti            73
5   Cristiano da Matta          67
6   Gil de Ferran               58
7   Scott Dixon                 57
8   Paul Tracy                  52
9   Jimmy Vasser                50
10  Christian Fittipaldi        49
11  Max Papis                   44
12  Roberto Moreno              44

-MTP-

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