"I have to thank the whole Marlboro Team Penske crew. They've been working really hard to prepare for this weekend, especially after the last race in Chicago (Castroneves broke his gearbox and placed 20th). So far the weekend is going as planned...
"I have to thank the whole Marlboro Team Penske crew. They've been working really hard to prepare for this weekend, especially after the last race in Chicago (Castroneves broke his gearbox and placed 20th). So far the weekend is going as planned and we're extremely happy to have won the pole this afternoon. But, it's not over until the checkered flag drops and we need to keep our focus to get it done. It's a long race and we'll have to stay patient and conservative to make it to the end. I'm expecting it to be very competitive tomorrow, with at least ten drivers competing for the win."
Helio Castroneves, #3 Marlboro Team Penske Dallara/Toyota
2001 & 2002 Indianapolis 500 Winner
Pole winner - 226.7521 mph (31.7521 sec.)
"Obviously we're a bit disappointed with our qualifying, however, if we can get the car working well for the race, it won't really matter where we start. Marlboro Team Penske has had good pits stops and race strategy throughout the season and this is the kind of race where the strengths of our Team should shine. Now we just need to make sure we get the car handling well and find enough speed for the whole afternoon."
Gil de Ferran, #6 Marlboro Team Penske G-Force/Toyota
2003 Indianapolis 500 Winner; 2000 & 2001 CART Champion
Qualified 12th; 32.1990 sec. (223.609 mph)
This is Helio Castroneves' first pole at California Speedway, his third pole of the 2003 season (he started from the pole at Indianapolis and St. Louis) and his 11th Indy car pole.
With his pole today, Castroneves has now started on the front row six times and in the top-five in ten of the fifteen 2003 Indy Racing League (IRL) IndyCar® Series races run to date.
This is Castroneves' sixth career pole on an oval; his other oval poles include: St. Louis 8/9/03; Indianapolis 5/11/03, Phoenix 3/16/02; Japan 5/18/01; and Milwaukee 6/6/99. The Milwaukee pole was his first career Indy car pole.
Castroneves has scored five wins from the pole: St. Louis - 2003; Phoenix - 2002; Long Beach and Detroit - 2001; and Laguna Seca - 2000.
This is the 143rd pole for Marlboro Team Penske.