IRL: Indy 500: Team Penske Opening Day report

"Overall we're happy with the first day of practice. Marlboro Team Penske tested at the Speedway a couple of weeks ago, and the conditions are pretty much the same so we were able to get up to speed right away. We've got our work cut out for us...

"Overall we're happy with the first day of practice. Marlboro Team Penske tested at the Speedway a couple of weeks ago, and the conditions are pretty much the same so we were able to get up to speed right away. We've got our work cut out for us as we're evaluating both the Dallara and G Force chassis. While it is challenging and a lot of work for everyone on the Team to prepare both cars, it is a luxury to have the opportunity to try both chassis. It shows the commitment this Team has to trying to win the Indianapolis 500 for a third consecutive year. We just need to maintain our focus and keep working. Nothing is going to be easy.

I'm glad to be back at the Speedway for the month of May. It was great to see all the fans that came out today, and I even had the opportunity to crown the 2003 500 Festival Queen."

-- Helio Castroneves, Marlboro Team Penske, 2001 & 2002 Indianapolis 500 Winner
-- #3 Marlboro Team Penske Dallara/Toyota
-- Second fastest; 228.088 mph (39.4585 sec.)

"My predominate feeling about today is that it's nice to be back in the Marlboro Team Penske car. Although we weren't able to get many laps in because of the weather, it just felt good to drive again. It was my first time at the Speedway since last year's race and my first time in the G Force, so we were just taking it step by step and slowly getting up to speed. One thing I learned is that the G Force certainly feels different than the Dallara. We've got a lot of work ahead of us, so hopefully the weather will cooperate."

-- Gil de Ferran, Marlboro Team Penske, Two-Time CART Champion
-- Marlboro Team Penske Panoz G Force/Toyota
-- 15th fastest; 224.812 mph (40.0335 sec.)

-mtp-

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Helio Castroneves , Gil de Ferran
Teams Team Penske