CHAMPCAR/CART: Marlboro Team Penske pit notes pre-Michigan

Castroneves and de Ferran - 3rd and 5th in Championship at Mid-Point of Season As the CART FedEx Championship Series approaches the midway point, Marlboro Team Penske drivers Helio Castroneves and Gil de Ferran are 3rd and 5th respectively in...

Castroneves and de Ferran - 3rd and 5th in Championship at Mid-Point of Season

As the CART FedEx Championship Series approaches the midway point, Marlboro Team Penske drivers Helio Castroneves and Gil de Ferran are 3rd and 5th respectively in the point standings. Following are some of the achievements Marlboro Team Penske has recorded after completing nine races this season:

* Helio Castroneves is tied with series-points leader Kenny Brack for most wins (2) - Long Beach and Detroit - and for most poles (3) - Long Beach, Japan and Detroit.

* The Team is tied with Team Rahal for most poles this season (4) Long Beach, Japan, Detroit (Castroneves) and Toronto (de Ferran).

* Marlboro Team Penske has led a total of 302 out of 1,154 laps this season (26%), placing them second behind Team Rahal in laps led. The Team leads the series in laps led on road/street circuits with a total of 218 out of a possible 503 laps led (43%). Castroneves leads the series with 169 laps led on road/street circuits and is second to Brack in overall laps led with 253.

* Together, the Team has scored a total of 128 FedEx Championship Series Points, more than any other two-car team in the series.

* The Team has had five podium appearances and has scored points in every race except Portland.

* Marlboro Team Penske has had a driver on the front row in five races (55%) and is the only Team to sweep the front row this season (Toronto - de Ferran - 1st; Castroneves - 2nd).

* De Ferran broke the 1,000 laps led mark in Toronto when he led a race-high 49 laps. He has now led 1,004 laps in his CART career, which places him 15th in all-time laps led.


The following charts show where each driver stood after nine races in the 2000 season as compared to this year: <pre> Castroneves 2000 Castroneves 2001

Point standings 12th 3rd Total points 44 70 Wins 1 2 Poles 1 3 Laps led 109 253 Podium finishes 2 3 Front row starts 1 5 </pre> HELIO CASTRONEVES ON THE SEASON TO DATE:

"We had a very strong start to the season with the wins in Long Beach and Detroit and finishing in the points in five of the first six races," said Castroneves. "Unfortunately we haven't had the results we were hoping for lately, but we're still only 14 points out of first place. Last season was a learning year for the Team and me, and now that we've got a year together under our belts, we're performing even better. We've been able to build on these relationships we've formed and it's showing in our results."

<pre> de Ferran 2000 de Ferran 2001

Point standings 3rd 5th Total points 67 58 Wins 2 0 Poles 2 1 Laps led 170 49 Podium finishes 2 2 Front row starts 4 1 </pre> GIL DE FERRAN ON THE SEASON TO DATE:

"What encourages me most about our season is that we've been very competitive in almost every race," said defending CART FedEx Series Champion de Ferran. "Although we haven't won a race yet, we're always running up front which makes our prospects for the second half of the season very good. We need to be sure to capitalize on our performance and collect as many points as we can as often as we can."


"At the mid-point of the season both or our drivers are in great shape to challenge for the championship," said Penske Racing President Tim Cindric. "Marlboro Team Penske should continue to get stronger in the second half of the season. The key for our team to win the Championship will be to consistently execute at the level of which we are capable."


After four consecutive races on road and street courses, Marlboro Team Penske heads to Michigan International Speedway for the first 500-mile event of the CART season. While Helio Castroneves captured this year's Indianapolis 500 to claim his first 500-mile and oval victory, Gil de Ferran is still searching for his first 500-mile race win.

Last year, de Ferran recorded his best start and finish on a superspeedway when he captured the pole at the season-ending Marlboro 500 at California Speedway and finished third. His qualifying lap of 241.428 mph set the world's closed course speed record and his third place finish clinched his first FedEx Series National Championship.

Castroneves also recorded his best 500-mile start at last year's Marlboro 500 when he started fourth and finished ninth. He led both 500-mile races last season for a total of 127 laps. His 85 laps led in Michigan also scored him the point for most laps led.

The last time Marlboro Team Penske won at Michigan was in 1991 when Rick Mears won his second 500 mile race of the season. After winning that year's Indianapolis 500, Mears became the first driver to win both races in the same season since Gordon Johncock accomplished the feat in 1982. Since then, only one other driver has accomplished this - Juan Montoya in 2000. <pre> CART FEDEX CHAMPIONSHIP SERIES POINT STANDINGS

1 Kenny Brack 84 2 Michael Andretti 73 3 Helio Castroneves 70 4 Dario Franchitti 65 5 Gil de Ferran 58 6 Cristiano da Matta 55 7 Scott Dixon 54 8 Jimmy Vasser 50 9 Christian Fittipaldi 49 10 Paul Tracy 48 11 Max Papis 43 12 Roberto Moreno 43


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Series IndyCar
Teams Team Penske , Team Penske