INDIANAPOLIS, Wednesday, March 26, 2003 -- Alex Barron will replace Gil de Ferran in a Marlboro Team Penske entry at the Indy Japan 300 on April 13 at Twin Ring Motegi, as de Ferran will not be cleared to drive for the event due to a back injury...
INDIANAPOLIS, Wednesday, March 26, 2003 -- Alex Barron will replace Gil de Ferran in a Marlboro Team Penske entry at the Indy Japan 300 on April 13 at Twin Ring Motegi, as de Ferran will not be cleared to drive for the event due to a back injury suffered in the IRL IndyCarTM Series event March 23 at Phoenix, Penske Racing and Indy Racing League officials announced March 26.
"These injuries will require a minimum of four weeks to heal, relegating Gil to the sideline for Motegi," Bock said.
de Ferran, from Fort Lauderdale, Fla., was released March 24 from Good Samaritan Regional Medical Center in Phoenix.
"Obviously, I am extremely disappointed that I will be unable to compete at the IRL IndyCar Series' inaugural event at Twin Ring Motegi," de Ferran said. "I respect Dr. Bock's decision and want to thank the medical staffs of the Indy Racing League, Phoenix International Raceway and Good Samaritan Regional Medical Center in Phoenix, Arizona.
"I want to wish Alex and the team the best of luck in Japan."
Tim Cindric, president of Penske Racing, Inc., said: "Our primary concern is Gil's health. We understand that Dr. Bock's decision is in the best interest of Gil and his timely recovery.
Barron, from Menifee, Calif., finished fifth in the IndyCar Series point standings last season, his first full season in the series. He earned one victory and 11 top-10 finishes. He was named Bank One co-Rookie of the Year at the 86th Indianapolis 500-Mile Race after finishing fourth.
Barron made two starts in CART for Marlboro Team Penske in 1999.
"I look forward to representing Marlboro Team Penske and Roger (Penske) again, though these are certainly difficult circumstances," said Barron. "I wish Gil all the best and hope his recovery is fast."