CHAMPCAR/CART: Penske Chicago preview

With Helio Castroneves' fifth place finish in Michigan, Marlboro Team Penske has now scored points in nine out of the eleven races contested this year. After leading 85 laps at this weekend's Michigan 500, Helio Castroneves ranks second...

With Helio Castroneves' fifth place finish in Michigan, Marlboro Team Penske has now scored points in nine out of the eleven races contested this year.

After leading 85 laps at this weekend's Michigan 500, Helio Castroneves ranks second in total laps led with 194. Gil de Ferran ranks third in laps led with 164.

By starting fifth in Michigan, Gil de Ferran has now qualified in the top-five in nine of eleven races run this season.

After Castroneves led 85 laps in Michigan (most laps led), Marlboro Team Penske has led laps in seven of the eleven races contested this season for a total of 358 laps led.

CASTRONEVES LEADS MOST LAPS IN MICHIGAN --RECORDS CAREER BEST FINISH IN A 500-MILE RACE

Helio Castroneves' fifth place finish at this weekend's Michigan 500 marks the best 500-mile finish of his CART career. Castroneves, starting in just his third CART 500-mile event at Michigan Speedway, moved from 13th place to first by lap 22. His original strategy was to draft other cars and conserve fuel, but later opted to run out front. He led the most laps of the race (85 laps) and increased his lead to as much as ten seconds after his fourth pit stop. Unfortunately, in the final stint of the race, other cars had started running higher in his line, which made his car understeer and he was unable to catch the leaders, finishing in fifth place.

DE FERRAN'S STRONG WEEKEND ENDS EARLY

Gil de Ferran ran well all weekend and placed in the top-ten in each practice session, including a fifth-place position in the Saturday qualifying session. On Sunday, his #2 2000 Marlboro Honda Reynard was running well and moved up two spots on the first lap. He was running in the top-ten for the first 98 laps when debris from an accident involving the #8 and #11 cars (Brack and Fittipaldi) flew into de Ferran's cockpit and fractured his left index finger, despite this, Gil continued to run with the lead pack. On lap 138, the #16 car (Jourdain, Jr.) tried to pass de Ferran going into turn one and dropped down, hitting the right front suspension ending his day in 18th place.

CASTRONEVES ON MICHIGAN:

"It's a real shame because we had a winning car today. Unfortunately after my last pit stop (lap 225) the Marlboro car picked up some understeer and I wasn't able to catch the leaders. All day long I was running a high line and the car was beautiful while I was leading. At the end, some other cars got in my line and my car began to push. But fifth is still a good finish in a 500-mile race and I want to thank my entire crew for doing a fantastic job today and preparing such a great race car for me."

DE FERRAN ON MICHIGAN:

"We had a good start and overall the Marlboro car was running well. I started to have difficulties in traffic but we were able to work on the car during our pit stop and improve it. Our goal was to stay with the lead pack, which we were able to do. When Brack (#8 car) had his accident, debris flew into the cockpit and hit my left index finger and broke it. The car was handling well so I decided to stick with it and keep running. However, on lap 138 the #16 car (Jourdain, Jr.) went to pass me high going into turn one then dropped down and hit my right front suspension. The Team did a great job today, it's too bad we couldn't stay in it until the end."

MARLBORO TEAM PENSKE PREPARES FOR CHICAGO

Marlboro Team Penske will head to Chicago this weekend for the Target Grand Prix on July 30. Last year, Castroneves had his second best finish of the season at the inaugural race at Chicago Motor Speedway. De Ferran has scored points in both 1-mile oval races this year, including Roger Penske's 100th Champ Car win in Nazareth.

Marlboro Team Penske will be holding Pit Stop practice on Thursday, July 27 at 1:00 p.m. in the Marlboro Team Penske pits.

DRIVE AWAY HUNGER PROGRAM IN CHICAGO

Each weekend the Drive Away Hunger Program donates food left over from the teams' hospitality units. This weekend the Drive Away Hunger Program headed up by Marlboro Team Penske and Newman Haas Racing will benefit the Greater Chicago Food Bank. For more information, please contact Katherine Bennett at 310-274-7800.

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