IRL: Fontana: Team Penske preview

CASTRONEVES LEAVES FONTANA TIED FOR POINTS LEAD Marlboro Team Penske driver Helio Castroneves will start the season-ending Chevy 500 at Texas Motor Speedway tied for the lead in the 2003 IndyCar® Series Championship point standings. After a ...

CASTRONEVES LEAVES FONTANA TIED FOR POINTS LEAD

Marlboro Team Penske driver Helio Castroneves will start the season-ending Chevy 500 at Texas Motor Speedway tied for the lead in the 2003 IndyCar® Series Championship point standings. After a sixth-place finish at this past weekend's Toyota Indy 400 at California Speedway, Castroneves retained his lead in the Championship, but is now joined by Scott Dixon at the top of the charts. Both have 467 points and are just seven points ahead of third-place Tony Kanaan.

Unfortunately, Marlboro Team Penske teammate, Gil de Ferran struggled with an ill-handling car all weekend and finished the race 15th, dropping him to fifth in the point standings and 30 points behind the leaders. At this point, de Ferran is a long-shot for the Title as he heads to the Lone Star State in search of his third major open-wheel Championship to end his career.

The final race in Texas will truly be a showdown as there are five drivers left with a mathematical chance to take home the 2003 IndyCar Series title. The Championship should come down to the final lap and Castroneves is in prime contention to earn his first major open-wheel title.

ROGER PENSKE HONORED AT GREAT SPORTS LEGENDS DINNER

Roger Penske will be honored on Tuesday, September 30th at the Eighteenth Annual Great Sports Legends Dinner at the Waldorf-Astoria in New York City.

The Great Sports Legends Dinner pledges to bring the Miami Project to Cure Paralysis more than one million dollars closer to a cure. Over the past seventeen years, more than $20,000,000 has been raised at the Sports Legends Dinners, making it the cornerstone of the Miami Project's annual budget. The Sports Legends Dinner has gained a reputation for uniting individuals from the worlds of sports, business and entertainment. Over 1,300 people attend this gala event each year, which honors Great Sports Legends from different athletic categories.

National Anchor Tom Brokaw will be serving as the Master of Ceremonies at the event. In addition, legendary journalist Walter Cronkite will be receiving the "Great American Icon Award" and Gloria Estefan will be the recipient of "The Buoniconti Fund Humanitarian Award." Penske will be honored along with other sports legends including Cal Ripken Jr., David Robinson, Oscar de la Hoya, Jim Brown, Dorothy Hamill, Bruce Fleisher, Michael Johnson and Laffit Pincay, Jr.

FACES IN THE CROWD

Marlboro Team Penske played host to several celebrities at this past weekend's Toyota Indy 400. Not only, did the Team host its usual crowd of journalists and VIP's, but they also had several news makers from the entertainment and sports worlds as their guests in Fontana as well. On Saturday, comedian Jay Mohr came out to the track and had the opportunity to watch 2001 & 2002 Indianapolis 500 winner Helio Castroneves earn his third pole of the 2003 season.

On Sunday, the celebrity roster was highlighted by McLaren Formula 1 driver David Coulthard who was on hand to watch long-time friend and former F3000 teammate de Ferran compete at California Speedway for the last time. Coulthard came to the track with an array of distinguished motorsports personalities including Mansour Ojjeh, part owner of the McLaren Team; Paul Stewart, son of Jackie Stewart, for whom both de Ferran and Castroneves drove in England's Formula 3000; and Mick Doohan, Australia's five-time 500cc motorcycle world champion.

SCHECKTER WINS SECOND CONSECUTIVE MARLBORO LAP LEADER AWARD

At this past weekend's Toyota Indy 400 Target Chip Ganassi driver Tomas Scheckter led the most laps, for the second consecutive and third overall time this season. Scheckter earned two extra points for leading 112 of the race's 200 laps and is currently in seventh place in the IRL Championship point standings with 341 points. For his efforts, Scheckter will be presented with his Marlboro Lap Leader Award check for $7,500 during the pre-race ceremonies at the Chevy 500 at Texas Motor Speedway on October 12th.

In addition, Wolfgang Monsehrt of Rennsportpresse-Agency was this week's winner of the Marlboro Lap Leader Award Media Contest. During each IRL event, journalists have the opportunity to enter an on-site contest to predict who will lead the most laps, and how many that driver will lead, in a given race. Monsehrt, who guessed that Scheckter would lead 74 of the 200 laps in the race, won a Maurice Lacroix Swiss Watch.

2003 IRL CHAMPIONSHIP POINT STANDINGS

Position        Driver  Points

1. Scott Dixon 467
1. Helio Castroneves 467
3. Tony Kanaan 460
4. Sam Hornish Jr. 448
5. Gil de Ferran 437
6. Al Unser Jr. 352
7. Tomas Scheckter 341
8. Kenny Brack 328
9. Scott Sharp 323
10. Tora Takagi 291

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Series IndyCar
Drivers Tomas Scheckter , David Coulthard , Al Unser Jr. , Scott Sharp , Helio Castroneves , Gil de Ferran , Scott Dixon , Tony Kanaan , Tora Takagi , Kenny Brack , Jackie Stewart , Chip Ganassi , Mick Doohan , Roger Penske , Jim Brown , Sam Hornish Jr. , Michael Johnson
Teams Team Penske