IRL: Kansas: Team Penske Pit Notes

Marlboro Team Penske Pit Notes July 2, 2002 MARLBORO TEAM PENSKE DRIVERS STILL LEADS IRL POINT STANDINGS This past Saturday, Marlboro Team Penske competed at Richmond International Raceway for the first time in Team history. Two-Time National...

Marlboro Team Penske Pit Notes
July 2, 2002


This past Saturday, Marlboro Team Penske competed at Richmond International Raceway for the first time in Team history. Two-Time National Champion Gil de Ferran and teammate, Two-Time Indianapolis 500 winner Helio Castroneves, started the weekend on a promising note by earning their third front row sweep of the season (the other two were at Phoenix and Pikes Peak). This was de Ferran's second consecutive pole and his third pole of the season - the most of any driver in the Indy Racing League (IRL). De Ferran went on to finish second and close to within three points of Series leader Castroneves who finished 17th but still maintained his lead in the point standings.

After dominating at Pikes Peak Raceway two weeks ago, de Ferran had another strong performance in his inaugural run at Richmond International Raceway. Not only did he win his second consecutive pole by shattering the track record by more than 8 mph with a lap of 168.705 mph., but he also led the most laps in the race for the third time this season (he led 168 out of 250 laps). De Ferran currently leads the Series in laps led with a total of 508. With two laps to go, de Ferran, who was struggling with a loose car, was passed by Sam Hornish Jr. for the win.

On Lap 8 of the race, Castroneves encountered trouble as he spun in Turn 2. He was able to keep his car from hitting the outside wall, but made contact with the inside wall as he tried to get his #3 Marlboro Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet under control. Castroneves' pit crew did a great job to get his car back out onto the track to finish 17th and earn 13 valuable points. This was the first time this season that Castroneves did not finish in the top-five.


After leading 168 laps in the SunTrust Indy Challenge, de Ferran won his second consecutive and third Marlboro Lap Leader Award of the 2002 season - his first came in Nazareth and his second came at Pikes Peak. De Ferran will be presented with a check for $5,000 for this accomplishment at the Ameristar Casino Indy 200 at Kansas Speedway.

In addition, Johnny Parsons Jr. of IMS Radio was this week's winner of the Marlboro Lap Leader Award Media Contest after winning a tie-breaker with Matt Boyce of WBBT-TV (Richmond). 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 laps that driver will lead, in a given race. Parsons and Boyce, both guessed that de Ferran would lead 165 laps in the race (he led 168). However, Parsons won the tie-breaker question of where Marlboro Team Penske drivers de Ferran and Castroneves would finish. As a result of his efforts, Parsons won a Maurice Lacroix Siras watch.


Marlboro Team Penske is preparing for their fourth new track of the season at Kansas Speedway. After three consecutive races on tracks at which they've never competed, the Team will head to new territory once again as they make their debut at the 1.5-mile tri-oval at Kansas Speedway on July 7th. The Team tested at the Speedway on June 18th and 19th during which time they were able to get important information for the race this weekend.

"Kansas Speedway is a top-notch facility that is very modern and well maintained," said Two-Time National Champion Gil de Ferran. "The track is really smooth and has a unique configuration. Marlboro Team Penske's test was the first time we've run at Kansas. Each track has its own nuances so it's important to learn every detail at the venues that are new to us. Not only are we working on making the car handle well and feel comfortable to drive, it is also an important time for me to learn about the track. I think we have good baseline data, and I was able to run flat the whole way around. It will take a bit of luck to win there, but hopefully we'll have a good set-up for the race and a strong result."

"I had the opportunity to run at Kansas Speedway for the first time a couple of weeks ago at the Marlboro Team Penske test," said Two-Time Indianapolis 500 Winner Helio Castroneves. "It's a beautiful facility - the track is very smooth and it's wide enough for side-by-side racing. It's not easy to go flat, but you can do it. The test was important, because it gave us the chance to be as prepared as possible for the upcoming race. While the test was very helpful, the race should be much different because there will be more cars on the track and weather conditions may change. I'm looking forward to the event and hopefully we'll be there at the end."


After racing at Richmond on Saturday night, both Brazilian drivers were sure to get back home to Florida in time to watch their fellow countrymen score a record-setting fifth World Cup on Sunday morning. While de Ferran watched from his home, Castroneves went to a small party with fellow Brazilians. After the victory de Ferran celebrated in typical Brazilian fashion by going to a churrascaria (Brazilian barbecue-style restaurant) and having a caipirinha (traditional Brazilian drink) while Castroneves ventured out to South Beach to check out the partying by Miami's large Brazilian community.

"I have to admit that early in the game things were not looking good for Brazil," said de Ferran. "But the talent of the Brazilian players really came through in the second half. The defense was strong, and the attacking side and goal keeper came up with the goods when they needed to. I was ecstatic when Brazil won. It was a great victory and this accomplishment means a lot to me and my countrymen."

"It's a great win for Brazil and an incredible accomplishment to have won the World Cup five times," echoed Castroneves. "Soccer is the number one sport in Brazil so this win was very important. As happy as I am, I will definitely not be cutting my hair like Renaldo. I just wish there had been a party that big for me in honor of my Indianapolis 500 wins!"


Two-Time Indianapolis 500 Winner Helio Castroneves was honored by the Brazilian Chamber of Commerce at a dinner in Miami on Monday Night. The event was attended by more than 200 guests including members of the Brazilian and Latin media. Castroneves was presented with a crystal trophy commemorating his Indianapolis 500 victories as well as the cover of the Miami Herald depicting his last victory at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway this past May.

"It was an honor to have Helio with us last night, I know him personally and know that he worked hard to achieve this victory. As a Brazilian he put our country on the top of the world," said Nelson Slosbergas, a member of the Brazilian Chamber of Commerce. <pre> 2002 IRL CHAMPIONSHIP POINT STANDINGS

        Driver Name     Points
1       Helio Castroneves       280
2       Gil de Ferran           277
3       Sam Hornish Jr.         256
4       Felipe Giaffone         237
5       Al Unser Jr.            194
6       Jeff Ward               181
7       Airton Dare             176
8       Alex Barron             169
9       Scott Sharp             156
10      Laurent Redon           145


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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Felipe Giaffone , Al Unser Jr. , Jeff Ward , Scott Sharp , Airton Daré , Helio Castroneves , Gil de Ferran , Alex Barron , Laurent Redon , Johnny Parsons , Sam Hornish Jr.
Teams Team Penske