CHAMPCAR/CART: Laguna Seca successful weekend for Team Penske

The Honda Grand Prix of Monterey proved to be a successful weekend for Marlboro Team Penske as it earned its second 1-2 finish of the season (the first came at Mid-Ohio). On Saturday, drivers Helio Castroneves and Gil de Ferran qualified first and...

The Honda Grand Prix of Monterey proved to be a successful weekend for Marlboro Team Penske as it earned its second 1-2 finish of the season (the first came at Mid-Ohio). On Saturday, drivers Helio Castroneves and Gil de Ferran qualified first and second respectively, with Castroneves earning his third pole of the season and the Team sweeping the front row for the third time this year (the first two came at Portland and Mid-Ohio). On Sunday, Castroneves went on to lead 81 of the 83 laps en route to his third victory of both the 2000 season and his CART career.

Gil de Ferran's second place finish was good for sixteen points which vaulted him into the lead in the 2000 CART FedEx Championship Series point standings with 132 points, six points ahead of second place Michael Andretti (126 points).

CASTRONEVES ON LAGUNA SECA

"What a great day for Marlboro Team Penske. Putting two cars on the podium is a real testament to this Team's hard work and dedication. We had great pit stops and didn't make any mistakes - the only time I was a bit concerned was when I caught the back markers. I want to thank Roger, Tim Cindric (calls the race strategy), Andy Borme (engineer), Rick Rinaman (crew chief), my whole crew and our friends at Honda. I was really in the zone today and I'm so proud of the effort everyone has put forth to achieve these results. This win is dedicated to Gonzalo Rodriguez whose spirit was shining on us today."

DE FERRAN ON LAGUNA SECA

"Obviously it was a great day for Marlboro Team Penske. I didn't have enough to challenge Helio, though I tried a bit at the end. It was very difficult because we were trying to conserve fuel throughout the race. But it was a great result for us and it propelled us to the lead in the FedEx Championship. We're very, very happy with our results and I think the 1-2 finish says a lot for Marlboro Team Penske - both our cars were very well matched today. Now we have to concentrate on the next four races and tackle each race one at a time. It's important we keep our heads down and not get too excited, now is not the time to sit back and pat ourselves on the back."

GONZALO RODRIGUEZ HONORED

This weekend at the Honda Grand Prix of Monterey the entire CART community remembered and celebrated the life of Uruguayan race car driver Gonzalo Rodriguez who was tragically killed during a qualifying accident at last year's race at Laguna Seca Raceway.

A memorial service for Rodriguez was held on Saturday afternoon in the paddock area and a special Uruguayan flag, featuring an image of Rodriguez from his 1999 Formula 3000 victory at Monaco, was flown from the Marlboro Team Penske media trailer.

Rodriguez was also honored on the track by defending CART Champion Juan Montoya, who wore a specially-created helmet incorporating both his and Rodriguez's personal designs. Montoya and Rodriguez competed together in the European Formula 3000 Series Championship in1998, which Montoya won and Rodriguez finished third.

MARLBORO TEAM PENSKE FAST FACTS

With his victory, Castroneves joins Paul Tracy as the second driver to win three races in 2000. He earned 22 points (the most points possible) and moved from ninth to seventh place in the point standings, 29 points out of first place. He has now led a total of 330 laps in five races, which places him in second place in total laps led.

Gil de Ferran earned sixteen points for his second-place performance in Sunday's race, putting him in first place in the point standings for the first time in his CART career.

De Ferran's second place finish marks his third podium appearance in four road course starts this season. This was also his third podium appearance in his six starts at Laguna Seca.

Marlboro Team Penske leads the series in race wins with five (out of a possible 16 races).

Marlboro Team Penske has won three out of the four permanent road course races this season.

MARLBORO TEAM PENSKE HEADS TO ST. LOUIS

This weekend, the CART FedEx Championship Series heads to Gateway International Raceway for the Motorola 300 for its third consecutive race. In the first two races of this three-race stretch, Marlboro Team Penske has earned three top-five finishes and has started in the top-five four times. Gil de Ferran hopes to extend his lead in the Championship point standings at St. Louis where he has started in the top-ten in both of his appearances at Gateway International Raceway.

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Helio Castroneves , Gil de Ferran , Michael Andretti , Paul Tracy , Gonzalo Rodriguez
Teams Team Penske