With his third consecutive podium finish (3rd place) at this past weekend's Honda Grand Prix of Monterey, defending CART FedEx Series Champion Gil de Ferran extended his lead to 26 points in the Championship and moved a bit closer to becoming the...
With his third consecutive podium finish (3rd place) at this past weekend's Honda Grand Prix of Monterey, defending CART FedEx Series Champion Gil de Ferran extended his lead to 26 points in the Championship and moved a bit closer to becoming the fourth driver in CART history to win back-to-back Championships. De Ferran added 16 points (14 for third place; one for the pole; and one for most laps led) to bring his season total to 179 and extend his run of consecutive point-paying finishes to eight. By capturing the pole on Saturday, he has now scored the pole at the past two races and three of the last four. He has a total of five poles this season as well as a series-high eight podium finishes.
De Ferran and Marlboro Team Penske teammate Helio Castroneves were at the top of the speed charts all weekend as the drivers swept the front row for the second straight year at Laguna Seca and the third time this season (Toronto and Mid-Ohio). Castroneves' second place starting position marked his eighth front row start for the year (44%). But their speed didn't end at qualifying, Castroneves went on to post the fastest lap of the race with a time of 71.500 seconds - more than ½ of a second quicker than any other lap in the race.
De Ferran led early for 36 laps which gave him the bonus point for laps led and extended Marlboro Team Penske's most laps led record to ten races this season (55%).
With two races remaining in the season - Australia (temporary street circuit) and the Marlboro 500 (superspeedway) there are only three drivers eligible to win the CART FedEx Series Championship - both Marlboro Team Penske drivers and Kenny Brack of Team Rahal. Here's a look at their season's to date:
<pre> de Ferran Brack Castroneves Starts 18 18 18 Wins 2 4 3 Poles 5 6 3 Podium Finishes 8 6 4 Top-5 finishes 10 7 6 Top-10 finishes 13 11 11 Laps Led(temporary/road course) 223 40 248 Laps Led (ovals) 84 581 152 Laps Completed 2,042 2,149 2,066 Average Starting Position 6 6 5 Average Finishing Position 7 10 9 Total Points to date 179 153 141
DE FERRAN CLINCHES THE FOURTH MANUFACTURER'S TITLE FOR HONDA
With his third place finish at Laguna Seca, Gil de Ferran helped Honda clinch its fourth Manufacturer's Cup since it joined the series in 1994. Honda scored 316 points to Ford and Toyota's 266. In the 2001 season to date, Honda drivers have recorded seven wins, nine poles and led 1,085 laps.
CASTRONEVES - HUNK OF THE MONTH
If you look in the November issue of Cosmopolitan Magazine, you'll see Marlboro Team Penske driver Helio Castroneves as this month's featured "Hunk of the Month". The article is titled "Why Helio Castroneves Makes our Hearts Race" and includes a brief question and answer section along with a full-page color photo shot in his hometown of Miami.
MEARS CONTRIBUTES AN ADDITIONAL $15,200 TO CHARITY PROGRAM
By virtue of Marlboro Team Penske drivers and nephew Casey Mears completing each of the 76 laps in the Honda Grand Prix of Monterey, Rick Mears will contribute $7,600 to the Twin Towers Fund and $7,600 to the Alex Zanardi Foundation bringing his total contributions to date to $17,600 and $17,400 respectively.
Mears established the donation program, based on $100 per lap completed, following the Rockingham 500. Whichever Marlboro Team Penske driver completes the most laps he will donate $100 for each of those laps to the Twin Towers Fund and for every lap nephew Casey completes for Mo Nunn Racing he will contribute $100 to the Alex Zanardi Foundation.