IRL: Gateway: Team Penske race notes

"I'm so happy with our win today - you have no idea. This was one of the hardest races I've ever run. The race pace was unbelievable. I was pushing hard the first stint and was able to open up a bit of a gap. The car was a little loose but I...

"I'm so happy with our win today - you have no idea. This was one of the hardest races I've ever run. The race pace was unbelievable. I was pushing hard the first stint and was able to open up a bit of a gap. The car was a little loose but I could tell that my car was more consistent than the other cars as the run went on. I struggled a bit in the next two stints and my teammate, Helio (Castroneves), was able to get by me. I've got to hand it to Helio; he really stood on it and was running at a qualifying pace. After our last pit stop, the car was great. It was dropping off less and I was able to drive harder which helped me get by Helio (lap 184). He got bogged down in traffic in turns three and four and had to get out of the throttle. I went on the outside and the front end of my car stuck so I kept my boot in it and got by him on the front straight. I think I was able to work the traffic better than Helio and we were able to bring it home in first. Marlboro Team Penske did a fantastic job today.

While this was a very gratifying, hard-fought win, we are under no illusions regarding the Championship. It is still wide open and there is a lot of work to be done. It's important for us to keep doing what we're doing and score point in the last two races. If we don't have the car to win, we need to finish second, and if not second then third and so on. We need to keep our head down and stay focused."

-- Gil de Ferran, Marlboro Team Penske, Two-Time CART Champion
-- #6 Marlboro Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet
-- First place finish
-- Second in the IRL Championship point standings with 436 points

"It was a great day for Marlboro Team Penske. Everyone did a great job today and our pit stops were fantastic. We've been working really hard and it's great we were able to finish 1-2. I had a lot of fun out there - this track really suits me because it's very challenging. Of course I would've liked to have won, but we finished strong and earned some valuable points (Castroneves now leads the IRL Championship point standings with 437 points), so I'm very happy with our result. There are two races left in the season; we have to stay focused and be consistent. I'm sure the points battle is going to come down to the final lap of the final race and we have to make sure we're there at the end."

-- Helio Castroneves, Marlboro Team Penske, 2001 & 2002 Indianapolis 500 Winner
-- #3 Marlboro Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet
-- Second place finish
-- First in the IRL Championship point standings with 437 points

NOTES:

· With his win today, Gil de Ferran is in second place in the Indy Racing League (IRL) Championship point standings with 436 points, just one point behind teammate Helio Castroneves (437).

· De Ferran has won the Gateway Indy 250 at Gateway International Raceway in his inaugural IRL event at the track (he's competed here five times and earned four top-ten finishes including third place in 1997). Other tracks where he has won in his debut are Pikes Peak (6/16/02); Rockingham, England (9/22/01); and Laguna Seca (9/10/95).

· This is de Ferran's second win of the 2002 season; he's won both races from the pole (his other win came at Pikes Peak). Today's win is his second IRL victory.

· De Ferran's win today marks his ninth career Indy car victory and his fourth career oval win (St. Louis 8/25/02, Pikes Peak 6/16/02, England 9/22/01, and Nazareth 5/27/01).

· De Ferran is one of only two drivers to have finished in the top-five in ten of the thirteen races run to date (77%) (teammate Castroneves is the other driver); in seven of these races he's finished in the top-three (54%). He has started on the pole a Series-leading four times.

· De Ferran has led laps in nine of the thirteen races this season (69%) and has completed 98% of the laps run.

Castroneves has six top-three finishes this season (46%).

· With de Ferran's win at St. Louis and teammate Castroneves' second place finish, Marlboro Team Penske becomes the first IRL Team to earn three 1-2 finishes in a season (their other 1-2 finishes came earlier this year at Pikes Peak and Phoenix).

· Marlboro Team Penske has 65 oval wins out of their record 114 career wins - the most of any team in open wheel racing.

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