IRL: Phoenix: Team Penske qualifying notes

Marlboro Team Penske Bombardier ATV Copper World Indy 200 Saturday, March 16, 2002 "This pole position means a lot for Marlboro Team Penske given it's only our second race this season in the Indy Racing League. Everyone on the Team is doing a...

Marlboro Team Penske
Bombardier ATV Copper World Indy 200
Saturday, March 16, 2002

"This pole position means a lot for Marlboro Team Penske given it's only our second race this season in the Indy Racing League. Everyone on the Team is doing a great job and has been working really hard. We concentrated on getting a good qualifying set-up this morning. I knew the car was fast, but I couldn't get a clean lap during practice. I gave it my all this afternoon and I'm very happy with our run. The car is well-balanced and very solid both in the front and rear.

"Starting up front is nice, but doesn't guarantee anything -- tomorrow is when it really counts. We worked on our race set-up yesterday which will hopefully pay dividends. We are going to be running in traffic all day so it is important that the car handles well. We need to be there at the end and in a position to put points on the board.

"I want to dedicate this pole to our good friend, Gary Buckner"

-- Helio Castroneves, Marlboro Team Penske, 2001 Indianapolis 500 Winner
-- #3 Marlboro Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet
-- Pole position - 20.0124 sec. (179.888 mph)

"I'm not exactly sure what happened this afternoon. The Marlboro car was good today, we just didn't have the speed we had in the earlier session. I thought we'd be where we were this morning, but we just didn't have it during our qualifying run. We'll have to go back and look closely at the data to see if we can find something. Tomorrow is a new day. Obviously we'd like to be starting closer to the front, but I think we're still in good shape. We'll be in a fine position starting the race in seventh, so now we'll just have to see what happens during the race."

-- Gil de Ferran, Marlboro Team Penske, Two-Time National Champion
-- #6 Marlboro Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet
-- Qualified seventh 0x2022 20.2621 sec. (177.672 mph)

Qualifying Notes:

This is Helio Castroneves' eighth Indy car pole and his third pole on an oval track.

Today's pole is Castroneves' first career pole at Phoenix International Raceway, and his first Indy Racing League (IRL) pole.

Castroneves last captured the pole on an oval in Japan (4/18/01) during the 2001 CART season. He went on to finish second. His other oval pole, and his first Indy car career pole, was in Milwaukee (6/6/99).

In five of the six times Penske Racing has won the pole in Phoenix, they've gone on to win the race.

One of Castroneves' seven career Indy car wins was on an oval -- he won the 2001 Indianapolis 500 in his rookie start.

If he takes the checkered flag tomorrow, it will be Castroneves' first win from the pole on an oval.

This is the 136th pole for Marlboro Team Penske.

-mtp-

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