"I guess it hasn't completely sunk in yet. I know that I am a very fortunate person to be driving for a guy like Roger (Penske) and a Team like Marlboro Team Penske. To me, it's like I've been living in a dream since I joined this Team two years...
"I guess it hasn't completely sunk in yet. I know that I am a very fortunate person to be driving for a guy like Roger (Penske) and a Team like Marlboro Team Penske. To me, it's like I've been living in a dream since I joined this Team two years ago -- my life has been wonderful from a personal and a professional standpoint. I've been able to drive better than I ever have which has enabled me to keep reaching new heights. Never in a million years did I ever think I would achieve this much success. For me to be speaking here as a two-time Champion is very special.
As far as today's race, I think I drove a good race. I ran my own pace even
though I had a lot of issues to deal with: the brakes were going away and I
was nursing the car as much as I could - taking care of the brakes gearbox
and engine. But everything held up fine to the end. Then on the last lap
Paul (Tracy) had his problem and there was oil everywhere. I almost went off
just two turns from the finish, but thankfully I managed to keep it
Gil de Ferran, Marlboro Team Penske, #1 2001 Marlboro Honda Reynard
-- 4th place finish
-- 2nd consecutive CART FedEx Series Championship
-- Fourth driver to score back-to-back Championships (Rick Mears - 1981-82; Bobby Rahal -- 1986-87; Alex Zanardi -- 1997-98).
-- Record setting 11th National Championship for Team Penske
"First of all I want to congratulate my teammate Gil (de Ferran) on his back-to-back Championships. It's a big achievement for everyone at Marlboro Team Penske. The entire Team has worked really hard to develop our cars, and to accomplish this again, especially since we all just came together two years ago, is really fantastic.
Unfortunately today was a very long day for me. I was passed by the #22 car (Servia) at the start, which put me back to 12th position. The track conditions made it very difficult to pass so I stayed there until my first pit stop (lap 23). My team did a great job in the pits (9.9 seconds) and I moved up to seventh position. I was working very hard to stay in front of the #8 car (Brack) and was able to maintain a one second advantage over him. However, midway through the race I started having brake trouble. On lap 40, my brakes locked up and I went into the run-off area. I was able to get a bump start from the CART officials, but the delay put me down one lap and dropped me to 22nd. I had my hands full for the rest of the race with the braking situation, but we were able to bring it home in 20th (last car running).
Now I'm looking forward to next weekend's Marlboro 500. Hopefully, we'll
have a good finish there and I can end my season in third place in the
Helio Castroneves, Marlboro Team Penske, #3 2001 Marlboro Honda Reynard
-- 20th place finish