De Ferran extends lead in IRL championship points race in Michigan. 2000 & 2001 National Champion and Marlboro Team Penske driver Gil de Ferran added to his lead in the Indy Racing League (IRL) Championship point standings after earning his...
De Ferran extends lead in IRL championship points race in Michigan.
2000 & 2001 National Champion and Marlboro Team Penske driver Gil de Ferran added to his lead in the Indy Racing League (IRL) Championship point standings after earning his ninth top-five finish of the season in Sunday's Michigan Indy 400 at Michigan International Raceway (MIS). While it was his eighth time competing at MIS, it was his first time in an IRL car. De Ferran rose to the challenge in fine form to bring the #6 Marlboro Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet home in fifth, earning 30 points to bring his 2002 season total to 377 extending his lead over teammate and 2001 & 2002 Indianapolis 500 winner Helio Castroneves who has 365 points. Defending IRL Champion Sam Hornish Jr. sits in third with 359 points.
De Ferran, who had some trouble during Saturday's qualifying, started 17th in Sunday's race. However, he was able to battle his way through the field working his way into the top ten by lap six. De Ferran would go on to lead 12 laps before finishing fifth. Teammate Castroneves qualified sixth on Saturday and would maintain that momentum to finish sixth on Sunday. Castroneves was near the front of the field for most of the day and he was able to lead the race for five laps.
MARLBORO TEAM PENSKE SEASON TO DATE
With eleven races in the books, Marlboro Team Penske is at the top of the leader board. De Ferran and Castroneves have also accumulated some impressive statistics - here's a look at what they've accomplished thus far:
* Three wins - (Castroneves won at Phoenix and Indianapolis; and de Ferran won at Pikes Peak)
* Two 1-2 finishes (Phoenix and Pikes Peak)
* 17 top-five finishes and 20 top-ten finishes
* Four poles (Castroneves won the pole in Phoenix; and de Ferran won the poles at Nazareth, Pikes Peak and Richmond)
* Three front row sweeps - Nazareth, Pikes Peak and Richmond
* De Ferran leads the Series in top-five finishes (9), laps led (520) and laps completed (2261)
* De Ferran and Castroneves lead the Series in top-ten finishes (10 each)
* Castroneves leads the Series in races led (9)
* De Ferran has completed 98% of 2,300 laps run, while Castroneves has completed 94%.
MARLBORO TEAM PENSKE TO TEST AT KENTUCKY SPEEDWAY
Marlboro Team Penske will head to Kentucky Speedway this week to prepare for the Belterra Casino Indy 300. This will mark the sixth time in the 2002 season that Marlboro Team Penske will race on a track at which they've never competed (the others were Texas, Pikes Peak, Richmond, Kansas City and Nashville). The two-day test will take place on Wednesday, July 31st and Thursday, August 1st.
In conjunction with the test, de Ferran and Castroneves will be participating in a media luncheon and press conference on Wednesday afternoon from 12:00 p.m. to 12:45 p.m. For more information, please call Jeremy Riffle at 812-427-7777.
MARLBORO LAP LEADER AWARD
Tomas Scheckter won this past weekend's Marlboro Lap Leader Award, which goes to the driver leading the most laps in each 2002 IRL event. After leading 122 of the 200 laps at this weekend's Michigan Indy 400 at MIS, Scheckter earned his fourth Marlboro Lap Leader Award of the season. He will be presented with a check for $5,000 at the Belterra Casino Indy 300 pre-race ceremony next weekend at Kentucky Speedway, bringing his total Marlboro Lap Leader Award earnings to $20,000.
In addition, David Reininger of Motorsport.com and WAGE-AM in Leesburg, VA 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. Reininger, who guessed that Scheckter would lead 119 of the 200 laps in the race, won a Maurice Lacroix Siras watch.