IRL: Chicagoland: Team Penske preview

CAREER COUNSELING Last week, Marlboro Team Penske driver Gil de Ferran announced that he would be retiring at the conclusion of the 2003 IndyCar® Series season. Now in his ninth Indy Car season, de Ferran has recorded the following: Two CART...

CAREER COUNSELING

Last week, Marlboro Team Penske driver Gil de Ferran announced that he would be retiring at the conclusion of the 2003 IndyCar® Series season. Now in his ninth Indy Car season, de Ferran has recorded the following:

Two CART Championships
One Indianapolis 500 mile race win
157 starts
11 race wins
20 poles
49 top-three finishes (31%)
57 races led (36%)
2,251 laps led
96 top-ten finishes (61%)

After earning two consecutive CART Championships and taking the checkered flag at this year's Indianapolis 500 mile race, one may ask what's left? De Ferran is sitting in second in the Championship point standings, just 25 points behind teammate Helio Castroneves. With three consistent performances in the final trio of races, he could become the first driver to win Championships in both CART and the IndyCar Series.

So, now what? De Ferran has not announced any plans as of yet, so we took it upon ourselves to poll some of the people who have been watching his career develop over the past nine years - motorsports journalists from across the country - to see if they could offer any advice as to how he should be filling his days once the 2003 season is over.

Following is a brief look at some of the best responses we received:

I've always believed Gil is a very introspective and analytical person. He should be a college professor, teaching anything that interests him. - Mike Harris, Associated Press

He should be an action film star. - Rich O'Brien, Sports Illustrated

He should sail his boat around the world and be an ambassador for the IndyCar Series at every port of call. Or he should talk to Larry Ellison about sailing on the next America's Cup team when he's not running his own IndyCar Series team. - Paul Page, ABC

He should be an Indy car team owner. - Curt Cavin, Indianapolis Star

Gil is one of the best engineer's racers the sport has ever seen and he would be a superb development engineer. As a very civilized, intelligent man he might also be able to serve as the great peacemaker, capable of pulling together CART & IRL into a single cohesive series. - Gordon Kirby, Autosport

He should run for president of Brazil. If all the Brazilian drivers vote for him, he'd be halfway there. - Steve Ballard, Indianapolis Star

He should run for the Governor of Florida, he'd be better there than Arnold would be in California. - Terry Blount, Dallas Morning News

He should become a color analyst for Major League Baseball. Despite being barely familiar with the game before singing "Take Me Out to the Ballgame" at Wrigley Field, he quickly formed opinions about America's pastime by asking insightful questions and questioning authority (just ask him about the "intentional walk," if you've got an hour to spare). - Herb Gould, Chicago Sun-Times

He should be an engineer; he's definitely got the brain power for it. - Damian Dottore, Orange County Register

Gil is personable, charming and smart - he should be the Team's PR guy. - Louis Brewster, Inland Valley Daily Bulletin

He should run a fashionable boutique on South Beach. - Chuck Givler, Easton Express-Times

He should be a chef at a four-star restaurant during the week and an expert analyst on Speed Channel during the weekend. - Evan Jones, Reading Eagle

MARLBORO TEAM PENSKE HEADS TO THE WINDY CITY ONE AND TWO IN THE CHAMPIONSHIP

Marlboro Team Penske will start the Delphi Indy 300 on Sunday leading the Championship points standings for the first time this year. 2001 & 2002 Indianapolis 500 winner Helio Castroneves has won two of the last three races (Nazareth and St. Louis) and Gil de Ferran has earned six top-five finishes in the last eight races. Last year, Castroneves started 21st and battled his way through the field and was running third by lap 55. He led eight laps on his way to a fourth-place finish. Teammate, de Ferran started 11th and was involved in a single-car crash on lap 52, which ended his day and placed him 23rd. De Ferran was sidelined for the final race of the 2002 season due to a hairline fracture in his left wrist and a concussion sustained in the incident.

2003 IRL CHAMPIONSHIP POINT STANDINGS

Position        Driver  Points

1. Helio Castroneves 429
2. Gil de Ferran 404
3. Tony Kanaan 397
4. Scott Dixon 387
5. Sam Hornish Jr. 348
6. Al Unser Jr. 319
7. Kenny Brack 309
8. Scott Sharp 280
9. Tomas Scheckter 277
10. Tora Takagi 257

-tp-

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Tomas Scheckter , Al Unser Jr. , Scott Sharp , Helio Castroneves , Gil de Ferran , Scott Dixon , Tony Kanaan , Tora Takagi , Kenny Brack , Sam Hornish Jr.
Teams Team Penske