With this week's Tenneco Automotive Grand Prix of Detroit, Marlboro Team Penske driver Helio Castroneves returns to the site of his first CART victory and the origination of his trademark victory fence climb. Castroneves' win at last year's race...
With this week's Tenneco Automotive Grand Prix of Detroit, Marlboro Team Penske driver Helio Castroneves returns to the site of his first CART victory and the origination of his trademark victory fence climb. Castroneves' win at last year's race on Belle Isle marked the second win for the Team that season (the first was scored by teammate Gil de Ferran when he captured Roger Penske's historic 100th win at Nazareth Speedway) and the first of three for him that year.
Castroneves' trademark fence climb originated when he pulled into the wrong location after taking the checkered flag. Rather than pulling into pit lane, the enthusiastic Brazilian was so flooded with emotions that he stopped on the track. When he got out of his car and saw no one from the Team (they were all waiting in pit row for him) he immediately went to the fence to celebrate with the fans, and thus the fence climb tradition was born. Since then, Castroneves has scaled the fence four more times - Mid-Ohio, Laguna Seca, Long Beach and Indianapolis.
"Words cannot describe how I felt that day, it is a memory I will have for a lifetime," said Castroneves when reflecting on his first CART win. "Everything went perfect - it was the way I always dreamed of winning. I was a bit disappointed that Juan (Montoya) went out of the race when he did, because I thought our car was good enough to catch him. Throughout the whole race my Team kept on telling me to be cool and conserve fuel and the strategy worked for us. After the race I was so overcome with emotions that I needed to celebrate so I ran to the first people I saw and that was the fans, it was very special for me to share that moment with them."
DE FERRAN ON DETROIT
Reigning CART Champion Gil de Ferran has completed 92% of the laps he's raced at Detroit. 2001 marks his seventh career appearance on the streets of Belle Isle. To date, de Ferran has finished on the podium three times consecutively from 1996 through 1998 (third place each time) and captured the pole once in 1997.
"We're going into a series of three road/street courses (Detroit, Portland and Cleveland) where we ran well last year so our hopes for a good showing are above average. With respect to Detroit, we had a good run at the last street circuit, Long Beach (de Ferran was third and teammate Castroneves won), which bodes well for Marlboro Team Penske. We need a good result to move up in the CART FedEx Championship point standings."
MARLBORO TEAM PENSKE AT DETROIT
Since first racing as a Team in 1990, Marlboro Team Penske has won in Detroit three times (E. Fittipaldi - 1991; P. Tracy - 1994; and Castroneves - 2000)
Although Marlboro Team Penske drivers have started on the front row four times in eleven years of racing in Detroit, they have never captured the pole position.
MARLBORO TEAM PENSKE - STRONG ON ROAD COURSES
The Detroit race marks the start of a four-race stretch of road and street circuits for the CART FedEx Championship Series. Following are some fast facts on Marlboro Team Penske's recent performance on road/street circuits.
In the two street circuit races to date, Marlboro Team Penske finished on the podium both times - de Ferran 2nd in Mexico; Castroneves 1st and de Ferran 3rd in Long Beach.
Both of Marlboro Team Penske's drivers started in the top-five in this season's street circuit events - including Castroneves' pole position in Long Beach.
To date, both de Ferran and Castroneves have completed every lap contested on street circuits and led 82 of 160 laps (50%).
In the 11 road/street circuit races run in 2000, Marlboro Team Penske had cars on the front row twelve times, including six poles -- Long Beach (de Ferran), Portland (Castroneves), Toronto (Castroneves), Mid-Ohio (de Ferran), Laguna Seca (Castroneves) and Houston (de Ferran) and three front row sweeps - Portland, Mid-Ohio and Laguna Seca.
Marlboro Team Penske had eight podium finishes on last year's road/street circuits including victories at Detroit, Portland, Mid-Ohio and Laguna Seca.