Castroneves and De Ferran visit Michael Shank Racing at Homestead (September 22 04)--IndyCar stars Helio Castroneves and Gil De Ferran visited the Rolex Sports Car race at Homestead Miami Speedway this weekend as guests of Michael Shank Racing's...
Castroneves and De Ferran visit Michael Shank Racing at Homestead
(September 22 04)--IndyCar stars Helio Castroneves and Gil De Ferran visited the Rolex Sports Car race at Homestead Miami Speedway this weekend as guests of Michael Shank Racing's Oswaldo Negri. Negri has competed against, and been friends with, the two for several years. The two Indianapolis 500 Champions spent some time with Michael Shank Racing team members before the race talking shop and getting an up-close look at the number 6 Lexus-powered Doran.
Negri, who has made the most of the opportunity he has had this season with Michael Shank Racing, first met De Ferran in their native Brazil when they both competed in Formula Ford. The two were then neighbors in England when they were trying to make names for themselves in British Formula 3, where they battled each other for the championship.
"There was a lot of competition between us, but also too a good friendship, and we have always kept in touch," said Negri. "It was great that they were both able to come out and watch the race."
Negri became friends with Castroneves when they raced each other in the Indy Lights ranks, and the fellow Miami residents still find themselves racing each other from time to time, although its just for fun in Kart Mini's, a karting chassis which Negri imports to the States.
Negri's teammate Burt Frisselle also spent some time with Castroneves and De Ferran before the start of the Miami 250, and the talk naturally drifted to racing, as Frisselle talked about the challenges of racing with three different classes on the track at the same time, as is the nature of Rolex Sports Car racing.
"Its basically as if you guys ran an IRL race at the same time as they had the Infiniti Pro Series racing--it keeps you busy!" said Frisselle.
Castroneves and De Ferran, two of the friendliest guys in any paddock, enjoyed watching Negri race, and learning more about the Rolex Series firsthand. Castroneves teased De Ferran, who retired at the end of 2003, about getting back into racing in the Rolex ranks.
"Maybe he is getting a little tired of being retired and wants to try one of these!" joked Castroneves.
Negri and Frisselle ran well during the Miami 250, and finished fifth to retain fourth in the team championship. The team is hoping that the strong finish will help the team develop the funding to race the next round at Virginia International Raceway on October 3rd.