Indianapolis, Ind. (October 24, 2000) -- Della Penna Motorsports will down-size immediately following the 2000 FedEx Championship Series season-finale Marlboro 500 at California Speedway, as team owner John Della Penna decides the direction his...
Indianapolis, Ind. (October 24, 2000) -- Della Penna Motorsports will down-size immediately following the 2000 FedEx Championship Series season-finale Marlboro 500 at California Speedway, as team owner John Della Penna decides the direction his team will take for 2001 and beyond.
"In 1999, we took on the development of Toyota's Phase Six engine when we teamed up with them," Della Penna explained. "We did a lot of hard work with Richie (Hearn) on that program and I am proud to have contributed to the success that the power plant enjoys today. We had long-standing association with them throughout our tenure in the Toyota Atlantic Series, and I had hoped to build a long-term relationship with Toyota in CART as well. However, I've been informed by TRD that the engine package will not be available to our team for next year.
"It's very disheartening to be in this situation. The current climate in CART with regards to engine supply is damaging to the series, and in particular to the smaller teams. I have current sponsorships that carry over to next season, as well as excellent prospects for additional sponsorships. Memo and I have developed a great working relationship and we want to continue to work together, however, right now there's no manufacturer prepared to supply us with engines for 2001. That's very discouraging."
Della Penna is considering all of his options for 2001, but has no definite plans.
"CART is where my heart is. I enjoy the diversity it offers with races held on street courses and road courses as well as the ovals. But whatever I do, I want to be competitive," Della Penna said. "The last four years have been very difficult, as I've struggled to secure the right package. We've always been competitive in every series we've participated in. To win in CART, still remains the ultimate challenge for me personally, and I will continue to work towards that end."
Throughout his racing career, Della Penna has helped a number of talented young drivers get their start. Since forming Della Penna Motorsports in 1993, Della Penna has accumulated a successful record in the Toyota Atlantic Series, including the 1995 championship title with former driver Richie Hearn. In 64 starts with four drivers under the Della Penna Motorsports banner (1993 to 1995), DPM drivers amassed ten pole positions, seven wins (5 of which were from the pole) and 20 podium showings. These young drivers collected 36 top-five starts, 48 top-ten starts and 50 top-ten finishes.
In 1997, Della Penna Motorsports entered full-time CART competition after one year in the Indy Racing League (IRL), which included a victory at Las Vegas and a third place finish in the 1996 Indianapolis 500. In 76 Champ Car starts (as of the Honda Indy 300 in Surfer's Paradise), DPM drivers have collected 19 top-ten finishes, four top-ten starts, and have led a total of 49 laps. A third place start and fifth place finish at the 1998 Michigan 500 with Richie Hearn behind the wheel remains the team's career best showing.
Current driver Memo Gidley returns to the cockpit of the #10 DIRECTV Toyota/Reynard this weekend for the Marlboro 500 at California Speedway. The 30-year-old American hopes to repeat his super speedway top-ten performance put in at Michigan Speedway earlier this season.
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