IRL: Team Penske Pit Notes 2002-03-19

Marlboro Team Penske records 1-2 finish in Phoenix Marlboro Team Penske recorded its first win of the 2002 Indy Racing League (IRL) season in perfect form Sunday in the Bombardier ATV Copper World Indy 200. 2001 Indianapolis 500 winner Helio...

Marlboro Team Penske records 1-2 finish in Phoenix

Marlboro Team Penske recorded its first win of the 2002 Indy Racing League (IRL) season in perfect form Sunday in the Bombardier ATV Copper World Indy 200.

2001 Indianapolis 500 winner Helio Castroneves took his first win from the pole on an oval in just his second race of the 2002 season. Castroneves' win marked his eighth career Indy car win and his second win on an oval (the first came at the 2001 Indianapolis 500). Furthermore, Castroneves' pole marked his second front row start in as many races this season.

Just behind Castroneves was Marlboro Team Penske teammate and Two-Time National Champion Gil de Ferran. De Ferran, who started seventh, led late in the race for 15 laps, but relinquished his lead to Castroneves on Lap 183. De Ferran did not get another chance to overtake his teammate as he earned his second consecutive second-place finish.

Not only has Marlboro Team Penske earned four top-three finishes in the first two races of the 2002 IRL season, but this also marks the fifth time Helio Castroneves and Gil de Ferran have finished 1-2 in the time that they have been racing identical red and white cars. Castroneves and de Ferran have competed in 44 races for Marlboro Team Penske and earned 1-2 finishes in 11% of those races.

The last time the Brazilian duo finished 1-2 was in Lexington, Ohio at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course on August 12, 2001. Other 1-2 finishes include: Mid-Ohio and Laguna Seca - 2000; and Indianapolis - 2001.

MARLBORO TEAM PENSKE PREPARES FOR FONTANA

On Sunday, March 24 Marlboro Team Penske will join the rest of the IRL at California Speedway for the Yamaha Indy 400. Marlboro Team Penske drivers Gil de Ferran and Helio Castroneves are no strangers to the 2-mile Superspeedway, however Sunday's race will mark the first time IRL cars will compete in Fontana.

De Ferran has competed at Fontana in the CART Series over the past five years. He has earned four top-ten finishes including a third place in 2000, which clinched his first CART Series championship. In addition, while qualifying for the 2000 Marlboro 500, de Ferran set the World Closed Course Speed Record with a lap of 241.428 miles per hour.

Helio Castroneves has competed at California Speedway in each of the last four years with the CART Series. In that span, Castroneves has earned two top-ten finishes. At the 2000 Marlboro 500, Castroneves qualified fourth marking his best start in a 500-mile race.

Coming off of a 1-2 finish at Phoenix International Raceway, Castroneves and de Ferran will be looking to carry that momentum with them to Fontana as they prepare to compete in the third event of the 2002 IRL season.

MARLBORO TEAM PENSKE HONORS GARY BUCKNER

This past weekend, Marlboro Team Penske honored Gary Buckner, who passed away on Friday, March 8, by wearing the initials "GB" on the right sleeve of their crew uniforms. In addition, drivers Gil de Ferran and Helio Castroneves and their pit crews wore the "GB" on their helmets throughout the weekend.

Buckner was a member of Marlboro Team Penske since 1993. He was the manager of the fabrication department as well as a member of de Ferran's pit crew where he served as the tire man and outside rear tire changer.

Following the Team's 1-2 finish, Roger Penske, Gil de Ferran and Helio Castroneves dedicated their performance to Gary and his family.

The Team will continue to wear Buckner's initials on their sleeves and helmets for the remainder of the season.

2002 IRL CHAMPIONSHIP POINT STANDINGS

Driver Name Points
Sam Hornish Jr. - 89
Helio Castroneves - 85
Gil de Ferran - 80
Eliseo Salazar - 62
Jeff Ward - 44
Al Unser Jr. - 41
Jaques Lazier - 40
Airton Dare - 38
Billy Boat - 38
Felipe Giaffone - 37

-mtp-

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Felipe Giaffone , Al Unser Jr. , Eliseo Salazar , Jeff Ward , Billy Boat , Airton Daré , Helio Castroneves , Gil de Ferran , Roger Penske , Sam Hornish Jr. , Jaques Lazier
Teams Team Penske