Gil de Ferran, driving a Honda Reynard 2Ki took an historic win at the re-scheduled Nazareth Champ Car race on Saturday, bringing the 100th victory to the Marlboro Team Penske team. It was almost three years ago that the team won its 99th...
Gil de Ferran, driving a Honda Reynard 2Ki took an historic win at the re-scheduled Nazareth Champ Car race on Saturday, bringing the 100th victory to the Marlboro Team Penske team. It was almost three years ago that the team won its 99th victory, with a drought of 54 events between chequered flag honours.
Reynard Champ Cars also finished in second and third places to give the company a podium sweep, with PacWest Racing driver Mauricio Gugelmin, Mercedes-Benz Reynard, taking the runner-up spot and Kenny Brack, Ford Reynard, finishing a career best third. De Ferran recorded the fourth victory of his career and first on an oval by finishing 0.815 seconds ahead of fellow Brazilian, Gugelmin.
Rounding out the top five finishers were defending FedEx Championship Series champion Juan Montoya, Toyota Lola, who finished fourth, and Adrian Fernandez (Ford Reynard), who finished fifth. FedEx Championship Series points leader Paul Tracy finished 10th and continues to lead the championship with 59 points. Jimmy Vasser finished seventh and moved into sole possession of second place in the championship, with 48 points. De Ferran and Moreno are tied for third place with 42 each. In the Constructors Championship Reynard leads on 102 points to 78 points for Lola.
WHAT THEY'RE SAYING
GIL de FERRAN, Marlboro Honda Reynard: "You have no idea [how meaningful this victory is]. There is so much meaning to this; it's hard to put into words. It's really a big day in your life. When I first had the contact with [owner] Roger [Penske] and we started to do the deal, it was a very emotional time for me. After that, though, you kind of get on with your work. It's only when you get out of the car at the end of the day that the whole feeling floods. Joining the team was the first step, now for us to win together, it's indescribable. There's a strange feeling in my chest ... I don't know. I'm not being too eloquent today. I'm sorry."
MAURICIO GUGELMIN, Nextel PacWest Mercedes: "Today was a great ending, but it was a long day altogether. Since it was pretty difficult to do an overtaking maneuver, you pretty much had to rely on a banzai move. I was very pleased with the teamwork today. It was a pretty perfect day along those lines. There could have been one more place, but I'm very happy for the Penske team to get their 100th win and now the rest of us have something else to talk about."
ROGER PENSKE, team owner, Marlboro Team Penske: "I wasn't really thinking in terms of the 100th win. I was just focused on the race. Someone mentioned to me after the race that our first victory was at Pocono [International Raceway] 30 years ago [Mark Donohue, July 3, 1971], and our race team has been headquartered in Reading [Pa.] for many years. We've had some downs and ups, and it's great to see the red-and-white cars be competitive again. I want to thank our sponsors, as well as our 30,000 employees across the country that never gave up their support of this race team."
Drivers Championship Standings
1 Paul Tracy 58 2 Jimmy Vasser 48 3 Gil de Ferran 42 4 Roberto Moreno 42 5 Adrian Fernandez 33 6 Michael Andretti 28 7 Max Papis 25 8 Cristiano da Matta 25 9 Juan Montoya 22 10 Dario Franchitti 20
Constructors Championship Standings
Reynard 102 22 80 2 Lola 78 14 64 3 Swift 1 0 1