CASTRO-NEVES, TEAM ALUMAX OPTIMISTIC ABOUT ST. LOUIS RACE MADISON, Ill. (May 21)--He has six PPG Cup points and stands 19th in the point standings as the CART FedEx Championship Series makes a stop at the Gateway International Raceway...
CASTRO-NEVES, TEAM ALUMAX OPTIMISTIC ABOUT ST. LOUIS RACE
MADISON, Ill. (May 21)--He has six PPG Cup points and stands 19th in the point standings as the CART FedEx Championship Series makes a stop at the Gateway International Raceway near St. Louis for Saturday’s Motorola 300 (ABC, 1 p.m. ET).
But whatever you do, don’t overlook Helio Castro-Neves and the Team Alumax Reynard/Mercedes-Benz when you consider contenders for this race.
For starters, Gateway is the track where Team Alumax scored it best finish, a second-place a year ago by former driver Patrick Carpentier. Castro-Neves had a pretty good race there himself, scoring a third-place finish in the Indy Lights race. And the 23-year-old Brazilian rookie has been showing good form on the oval tracks lately, setting the pace in Friday practice at Nazareth and giving Team Alumax its best starting grid position of the 1998 season in Rio by qualifying 11th.
In short, the youngster from Sao Paulo is showing everyone that he is capable. But in addition to that, the equipment has been reliable and the Team Alumax crew is producing the best pit stops in the history of the team.
Team director Tom Brown has been pleased with the team’s progress.
“The team grows stronger and more confident each race,” Brown said. “We are fast--we just need to execute. Our goals are high. We know we have to get our first win soon. We have the driver, the team and the car to succeed.”
Castro-Neves is looking forward to his return to Gateway.
“I enjoyed racing there last year,” Castro-Neves. “And I had a good finish by getting on the podium with a third. I think I might have had a better finish, but there was a slight drizzle for most of the race and they finally flagged the race.
“I’ve been very happy with the car at each race since Long Beach and the guys on the Team Alumax crew have been doing a great job so those are also two good reasons to have a good feeling about this race.”
PIT NOTES: Please note that the Motorola 300 is a Saturday race. Now in its second year, it occupies the weekend previously used for the U.S. 500, which was designed to go head-to-head with the Indianapolis 500 in 1996. Last year, CART moved the U.S. 500 to July to replace the Marlboro 500 which now anchors the series in Fontana, Cal.