CHAMPCAR/CART: Team Penske pre Texas pit notes

DE FERRAN LOOKING FORWARD TO TEXAS "HOMECOMING" Current CART FedEx Series Champion Gil de Ferran began his CART career as a driver for Texan Jim Hall. De Ferran drove for Hall Racing in 1995, his rookie year, and in 1996. De Ferran was named...

DE FERRAN LOOKING FORWARD TO TEXAS "HOMECOMING"

Current CART FedEx Series Champion Gil de Ferran began his CART career as a driver for Texan Jim Hall. De Ferran drove for Hall Racing in 1995, his rookie year, and in 1996. De Ferran was named Jim Truman Rookie of the Year in '95 after a season that saw him score his first Champ car victory at Laguna Seca, capture his first pole in Cleveland, and finish second in Vancouver. He ended the season with five top-ten finishes and was 14th in the point standings. In '96, de Ferran scored a victory in Cleveland, sat on the pole in Long Beach, and had nine top-ten finishes, placing him sixth in the final point standings.

"Going to Texas takes me back to my beginnings in the U.S. and is rather sentimental for me. A Texan, Jim Hall, gave me my first opportunity to race in CART so racing in Texas is a bit of a homecoming for me. I even had the opportunity to attend a Dallas Cowboys game in '95 which I really enjoyed," said de Ferran. "I haven't run at Texas Motor Speedway yet, but I did get a chance to visit the track and it is a first-class facility. Marlboro Team Penske is well prepared for this inaugural event so we hope to see good results come race day."

A LAP AROUND TEXAS MOTOR SPEEDWAY WITH HELIO CASTRONEVES

Wonder what it's like to take a lap around the Texas Motor Speedway in a Champ car? Following is a lap around the track with Marlboro Team Penske driver Helio Castroneves who tested there in February:

"Entering turn one, the banking is very high so it is like you're running on a super speedway. In fact, the speeds we may get up to during race weekend will be very close to the ones reached at super-speedways rather than at other 1.5-mile ovals. As the car goes into turn one, it almost steers itself due to the high banking and the speed at which the driver enters the turn," said Castroneves.

"You can feel your car sticking on the turn because the banks are so steep. Turn two is very similar to turn one and the car performs in much the same way. Coming out of turn two, you're on the back straightaway which is nice and wide. There's a lot of room to pass, and since it's perfectly straight, this part of the track is really fun.

"Going into turn three is very similar to going into turn one, but it gets tricky in turn four. The exit of the turn is narrow and has two kinks in it, so you have to control the car out of the turn and watch your mirrors. The exit of the turn is narrower than turn two because of the pit lane entrance and those two kinks, so it gets a little tight. Overall, the track is very exciting and will provide the fans with a great first taste of CART racing."

Castroneves on this weekend's race:

"I'm really looking forward to CART's first race at Texas Motor Speedway. Marlboro Team Penske has performed well on the high speed ovals, and I tested at the track earlier this year, so we are optimistic heading into the weekend. It should be a fun weekend and a great show for the fans. The Team is coming off of a 1-3 finish in Long Beach (Castroneves won the race and de Ferran was third) so we're bringing a lot of momentum into Texas." <pre> CART FEDEX SERIES POINT STANDINGS

1.   Cristiano da Matta         37
2.   Gil de Ferran              30
3.   Helio Castroneves          27
4.   Paul Tracy                 26
5.   Jimmy Vasser               18
6.   Michael Andretti           12
7.   Dario Franchitti           12
8.   Tony Kanaan                12
9.   Kenny Brack                11
10.  Nicolas Minassian          7

-Penske-

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Helio Castroneves , Gil de Ferran , Michael Andretti , Jimmy Vasser , Nicolas Minassian , Paul Tracy , Dario Franchitti , Tony Kanaan , Kenny Brack , Cristiano da Matta
Teams Team Penske