IRL: Team Penske Pit Notes 2002-06-18

Pit Notes June 18, 2002 Marlboro Team Penske earns second 1-2 finish of the season at Pikes Peak. Marlboro Team Penske driver and Two-Time National Champion Gil de Ferran competed at Pikes Peak International Raceway this past weekend for the...

Pit Notes
June 18, 2002

Marlboro Team Penske earns second 1-2 finish of the season at Pikes Peak.

Marlboro Team Penske driver and Two-Time National Champion Gil de Ferran competed at Pikes Peak International Raceway this past weekend for the first time in his career and dominated the entire weekend. De Ferran's #6 Marlboro Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet was quick right off of the truck as he was fastest in the first practice session on Saturday afternoon. Later that day, he went on to capture his second pole of the 2002 Indy Racing League (IRL) season - a feat which no other driver has accomplished this year. Teammate and Two-Time Indianapolis 500 Winner Helio Castroneves took over the top time in the second session on Saturday afternoon as he became the first driver to record a lap over 180 mph (he turned a lap of 180.352 mph) at Pikes Peak. He qualified second marking his fourth front row start of the season and Marlboro Team Penske's second front row sweep (the first came in Nazareth).

De Ferran kept rolling on race day as he led all but eight laps in the 225-lap event on his way to earning his IRL win. De Ferran lost the lead on Lap 32, when the caution flag came out and Billy Boat stayed on track while the leaders went in to pit. Boat would stay at the front for six laps before relinquishing his lead to Castroneves who led two laps before falling victim to de Ferran's dominating speed on Lap 40. Once he regained the lead, de Ferran never looked back as he went on to lead the final 185 laps. De Ferran led 96.4% of the total laps, only 0.1% short of the IRL record - Tony Stewart led 96.5% of the laps run at Pikes Peak in 1997.

Sunday's win marked Marlboro Team Penske's second 1-2 finish of the 2002 season - the first came at Phoenix where Castroneves took his first checkered flag of 2002. This weekend's finish was also de Ferran and Castroneves' sixth 1-2 finish in the 49 races that they have run together as teammates.

FATHER'S DAY - GOOD LUCK CHARM FOR MARLBORO TEAM PENSKE

This past Sunday's race not only represented de Ferran's first win of the 2002 season, but it was also a great Father's Day present for his dad, Luc, who was watching the race in his native Brazil. In addition, de Ferran's Father's Day was even more complete because his children, Anna and Luke were on hand at Pikes Peak to watch their father cruise to victory in his inaugural run in Colorado.

Marlboro Team Penske's luck on Father's Day didn't start with de Ferran's win this past Sunday. Castroneves scored his first Indy car win on Father's Day at the Detroit Grand Prix in 2000 and went on to go wire-to-wire in Detroit on Father's Day in 2001.

CASTRONEVES MAINTAINS LEAD OVER DE FERRAN IN IRL CHAMPIONSHIP POINT STANDINGS

While de Ferran finished first in the Radisson Indy 225, Castroneves still remains at the top of the IRL Championship point standings. The pilot of the #3 Marlboro Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet picked up 40 points for his second place finish, while de Ferran was able to close the gap to 32 points after earning 52 points (50 points for the win and two points for most laps led) on Sunday. Castroneves was able to extend his lead to 61 points over Sam Hornish Jr. who has 206 points.

While Marlboro Team Penske sits at the top of the point standings, here's a look at how they got there:

* Three victories in seven races (43%) - Pikes Peak, Indianapolis and Phoenix.

* Castroneves is the only IRL driver to accomplish the following this season: top-five finish in every race; led laps in each race; and completed every lap run to date.

* De Ferran has recorded five top-four finishes and led laps in six races. He's completed 97% of laps run.

* 12 top-five finishes.

* Six front row starts including three poles.

* De Ferran leads the IRL in poles (2) and laps led with 340.

MARLBORO LAP LEADER AWARD

After leading 217 laps in the Radisson Indy 225, Gil de Ferran won his second Marlboro Lap Leader Award of the 2002 season - his first came in Nazareth. De Ferran will be presented with a check for $5,000 for this accomplishment at the Sun Trust Indy Challenge at Richmond International Raceway.

In addition, Fran Baser of Racing Information Systems 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 laps that driver will lead, in a given race. Baser, who guessed that de Ferran would lead 187 of the 225 laps in the race, won a Maurice Lacroix Siras watch.

-mtp-

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Tony Stewart , Billy Boat , Helio Castroneves , Gil de Ferran , Sam Hornish Jr.
Teams Team Penske