CHAMPCAR/CART: Champion de Ferran at New York's 'Ground Zero'

2001 FedEx Championship Series Champion De Ferran Has Series Of Moving Experiences In New York DETROIT (November 9, 2001) - For the past few seasons, the driver who has won the FedEx Championship Series title has gone on a "Champion's...

2001 FedEx Championship Series Champion De Ferran Has Series Of Moving Experiences In New York

DETROIT (November 9, 2001) - For the past few seasons, the driver who has won the FedEx Championship Series title has gone on a "Champion's Tour" during the week immediately following the season, and one of the stops on that tour has been a visit to various locations in New York.

The visit to New York has special meaning this year in the wake of the events of September 11, and the significance of those events was not lost on 2001 FedEx Championship Series champion Gil de Ferran. On Friday, de Ferran toured several locations in New York, and the experience is one that the two-time champion will not soon forget.

De Ferran's day began at 7:30 a.m. EST when he appeared on the nationally televised CBS Early Show. During his appearance, de Ferran presented Lawrence Levy, who is deputy counsel to New York mayor Rudolph Giuliani, with a $500,000 check on behalf of the CART community for the Twin Towers Relief Fund.

"I was honored to be put in that position to present the check for the CART community," said de Ferran. "Especially me, being a foreign-born individual, I was very honored. I had a good conversation with Larry Levy about where the money from the Twin Towers Fund is going. It's been an interesting trip in that regard."

From the CBS Early Show, de Ferran got into a police car and was taken through Ground Zero, where the World Trade Center towers used to be. The Brazilian got an up close look at the devastation, and was understandably moved by the experience.

"There's two ways of dealing with tragedy," de Ferran explained. "You either try to ignore it and forget it, or face it. I would rather face it and try to digest it. It was certainly a vast area of devastation, and until you see it in person, you just cannot imagine how big the area of devastation was. It was very shocking and very sad."

De Ferran's final stop in New York before leaving for the Bristol, Conn. offices of ESPN was the world famous New York Stock Exchange (NYSE). He was among dignitaries, such as the president of Mexico and Miss Teen USA, and met NYSE chairman and CEO Dick Grasso. De Ferran presented Grasso with a pair of driving gloves.

"That is certainly one of the most famous places in the world," de Ferran said. "That was an amazing experience, because that is the heart of capitalism. Today is a day I will never forget for a variety of reasons."

Championship Auto Racing Teams, Inc. (NYSE: MPH) owns, operates and markets the FedEx Championship Series. Champions Michael Andretti, Gil de Ferran and Jimmy Vasser are among the drivers who battle for the FedEx Championship Series title on oval circuits as well as temporary and permanent road courses. CART also owns and operates its top two development series, the Dayton Indy Lights Championship and the Toyota Atlantic Championship. Learn more about CART's open-wheel racing series at www.cart.com.

-CART-

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Gil de Ferran , Michael Andretti , Jimmy Vasser