CHAMPCAR/CART: Team Penske Cleveland review

* Marlboro Team Penske has won three out of the last five races. * After capturing Roger Penske's 100th win in Nazareth and winning his second consecutive race at Portland International Raceway, Gil de Ferran is the only repeat winner in the...

* Marlboro Team Penske has won three out of the last five races.

* After capturing Roger Penske's 100th win in Nazareth and winning his second consecutive race at Portland International Raceway, Gil de Ferran is the only repeat winner in the 2000 season.

* Marlboro Team Penske has been on the front row for four out of the nine races run so far this season, including capturing the pole in Miami (de Ferran); Long Beach (de Ferran) and Portland (Castroneves); and sweeping the entire front row in Portland. In addition, the Team has had at least one car qualify in the top ten in each race this season.

* Marlboro Team Penske has led laps in six of the nine races contested this season for a total of 273 laps led.

* Marlboro Team Penske drivers have scored points in seven out of nine races this season.

After running in the top five in each session all weekend and qualifying one car on the front row (de Ferran in second) Marlboro Team Penske left the Cleveland race weekend without any points in the FedEx Championship Series, marking the first time since the Rio race that the Team hasn't scored any points.

The circuit at Burke Lakefront Airport provided a challenge for Marlboro Team Penske. Since the track is a temporary road course there is no time to test prior to the race weekend. In addition, the 2000 Marlboro Honda Reynard is a completely new package which means the Team has no previous set-up data from the circuit. Nevertheless, the Team arrived on Friday and set the 4th and 5th quickest times in provisional qualifying.

Saturday's qualifying session was disrupted by an untimely red flag (for the #20 car of the eventual pole sitter Roberto Moreno) which occurred while both drivers were on their fast laps. De Ferran managed to get out of the pits first (after the red flag) and get in one final lap without traffic, which placed him on the outside of the front row (for the second consecutive week). Unfortunately, Castroneves was unable to improve his time and qualified tenth which would prove to be the wrong place when the green flag fell on Sunday.

At the start of the race this year, CART officials decided to narrow the lead-in straightaway by setting up a series of cones designed to help the drivers line-up better going into turn one. Unfortunately the new configuration left a number of cars with no where to go and a first turn pile-up involving six cars, including Castroneves' #3 2000 Marlboro Honda Reynard. Castroneves took the outside line going into turn one and was proceeding without incident before he was hit from behind by the #96 car of Oriol Servia. After recovering from the first contact he was hit again (by the #96 car) in his right side which punctured his radiator and ended his day.

By starting on the front row, de Ferran was able to avoid the first turn incident and run a solid race in second place. After making his first pit stop on lap 36, the Team discovered a broken brake line. By shifting the brake bias to the front, he was able to continue the race and maintain a top-ten position. On lap 88 however, he was forced to retire after contact with the #17 car (Gugelmin).

Castoneves:
"At the start of the race I saw a clear line on the outside so I went for it. Then all of a sudden I got hit on my right side from behind (#96 car). I was able to keep it in control and continue when I got hit again (#96 car). We came in and changed our front wing and went back out, but unfortunately the second hit put a hole in my radiator and ended our day. It's really tough luck for everyone at Marlboro Team Penske, but these things happen and we'll be back in Toronto."

De Ferran:
"The Marlboro car was good in the morning warm-up and we felt optimistic about the race. After the scramble at the start, I was able to regain second place on the restart and I was running comfortably behind the leader (Moreno). I had a slight understeer and noticed the brakes weren't quite right. On my first pit stop, the Team discovered brake fluid inside the left rear wheel from a broken brake line. I changed the brake bias to the front, which required me to change my technique and take a different line. We did the best we could to hang on for the rest of the race, but unfortunately on lap 88 the guys in front of me were fighting for position and I just couldn't stop. I ran into the #17 car (Gugelmin) and damaged my front suspension which ended our day."

Marlboro Team Penske will head to Chicago for the CART Open Test this Thursday and Friday to prepare for the Target Grand Prix of Chicago (July 30).

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Gil de Ferran , Roberto Moreno , Oriol Servia , Roger Penske
Teams Team Penske