CHAMPCAR/CART: Marlboro Team Penske Road America "Pit Notes"

Marlboro Team Penske Has Record Setting Weekend In Mid-Ohio With their 1-2 finish this past weekend in the Miller Lite 200 at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, Marlboro Team Penske marked their second consecutive sweep at the track. In what...

Marlboro Team Penske Has Record Setting Weekend In Mid-Ohio

With their 1-2 finish this past weekend in the Miller Lite 200 at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, Marlboro Team Penske marked their second consecutive sweep at the track. In what proved to be an almost identical weekend to last year's race in terms of results, Marlboro Team Penske drivers Gil de Ferran and Helio Castroneves qualified first and second respectively, giving the Team their second front row sweep of the season (the first was in Toronto). They proceeded to finish 1-2 with Castroneves scoring back-to-back wins at the track and de Ferran finishing second.

The following are some results of the Team's performance this past weekend:

* Castroneves is now tied for most wins (3) with Kenny Brack in the CART FedEx Series Championship.

* The Marlboro Team Penske teammates are currently second and third in the CART FedEx Series Championship with Castroneves just one point behind series-leader Brack and de Ferran just 14 points behind Castroneves.

* De Ferran's pole position gave him 13 career poles that tie him for second place with Paul Tracy in all-time career poles of active CART drivers.

* Marlboro Team Penske has now finished 1-2 in three of the past six permanent road course events on the circuit - Mid-Ohio 2001; Laguna Seca and Mid-Ohio 2000.

* The teammates led a combined total of 72 of the 83 lap race (87%), giving them a total of 155 out of 166 laps led (93%) at the track over the past two years.

* Castroneves' win is his sixth career victory - all of which have come on temporary/road courses - he has now won three of the seven temporary/road courses this season.

* De Ferran's runner-up finish marked his fourth podium appearance of the season and his second consecutive top-three finish following his third place result in Chicago.

* Castroneves' second place start marked his seventh front row start in the 12 races contested to date this season (58%).

* Marlboro Team Penske has now won six of the 12 races (50%) they've entered at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course.

DÉJÀ VU AT ELKHART LAKE

While Marlboro Team Penske enters the race weekend at Road America under the same circumstances as last year, coming off of a 1-2 finish at Mid-Ohio, their position in the CART FedEx Series Championship battle is much stronger. Last season, the teammates arrived at Road America third and eighth in the points -- de Ferran in 3rd and 19 points out of first and Castroneves in 8th and 42 points out of first. Now Castroneves is 2nd and de Ferran is 3rd and they're just one and 15 points out respectively.

Last year at Road America, Marlboro Team Penske had a good start to the weekend with de Ferran qualifying second on the outside of the front row, marking his 6th front row start of the season, and Castroneves starting in 6th place. However, both drivers suffered set backs in the opening lap - de Ferran had gear box problems which ended his day and Castroneves had contact with Michael Andretti which sent him off course and down a lap. He rejoined the race in last position and was able to work his way back up the field to finish a points-paying 9th. The following are Marlboro Team Penske's highlights at Road America

* Marlboro Team Penske has taken the pole four times including three consecutive poles by Paul Tracy (1992-1994); Danny Sullivan captured the fourth pole in 1990.

* The Team has won the race twice - Emerson Fittipaldi (1992) and Paul Tracy (1993).

* In their 22 starts at Road America, the Team has qualified on the front row 6 times (27%) and finished on the podium 5 times (23%).

* The Team has completed 827 (74%) and led 184 (17%) out of 1115 laps in their eleven years of racing in Elkhart Lake.

DE FERRAN ON ELKHART LAKE:

"Elkhart Lake is just a fantastic racetrack - I believe it's the best in America. It's got a great mix of all types of corners, very fast and very challenging. To get a lap right at Elkhart is very satisfying because it's so demanding and fast. The slightest mistake can cost you a lot of time. I compare it to the old Interlagos in Brazil or Spa in Belgium as one of the world's greatest road courses. It's also in a beautiful location in Wisconsin and the fans there are very knowledgeable and enthusiastic. There's no question that Elkhart is one of the highlights of my season.

This is the time of the year where you start to narrow down the Championship contenders, so it's vitally important to keep scoring points to remain in the hunt. Last year we were very competitive here and qualified well, however, we had a mechanical failure that ended our day on the first lap. We're in a better position in the points than we were at this time last year so we're looking pretty good."

CASTRONEVES ON ELKHART LAKE:

"I didn't have a very good start at Elkhart Lake last season, but we were able to literally get back on track and bring it home ninth. Hopefully this year I can make it through the first lap, finish higher and earn more than the four points I got last year. It's a long trip around the circuit (4.048 miles) so if you take a chance in one corner and it works you can gain a lot of time, but if it doesn't work you can lose the whole lap.

Marlboro Team Penske put forth a great effort last weekend in Mid-Ohio, and we need to keep that momentum in going. I was able to close the championship points gap significantly now we need to keep adding to our points each race."

CINDRIC ON ELKHART LAKE:

"I've always felt that we needed to win a race in August to challenge for the Championship so I'm glad we were able to achieve that in Mid-Ohio. I think getting the win early in the month gives us a better opportunity in our battle to defend the Championship. We had good cars at Elkhart last year, however we weren't able to achieve the results we were looking for. Hopefully, we'll be able to execute better this year and translate our performance into points."

CART FEDEX SERIES CHAMPIONSHIP POINT STANDINGS
1 Kenny Brack 104
2 Helio Castroneves 103
3 Gil de Ferran 89
4 Dario Franchitti 81
5 Michael Andretti 73
6 Cristiano da Matta 70
7 Scott Dixon 70
8 Patrick Carpentier 65
9 Paul Tracy 65
10 Christian Fittipaldi 54
11 Tony Kanaan 53
12 Roberto Moreno 52

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Helio Castroneves , Gil de Ferran , Michael Andretti , Roberto Moreno , Patrick Carpentier , Christian Fittipaldi , Paul Tracy , Dario Franchitti , Scott Dixon , Tony Kanaan , Kenny Brack , Danny Sullivan , Emerson Fittipaldi , Cristiano da Matta
Teams Team Penske , HART