IRL: Team Penske returns to Nazareth

Same team, same track, different series. Team Penske returns to home track looking for a win. Nazareth, PA (April 12, 2002) - Two years ago, Gil de Ferran gave Roger Penske his 100th career win at a place fitting of such a feat -...

Same team, same track, different series.
Team Penske returns to home track looking for a win.

Nazareth, PA (April 12, 2002) - Two years ago, Gil de Ferran gave Roger Penske his 100th career win at a place fitting of such a feat - Nazareth Speedway - a track close to Penske's heart and his race shop. Nazareth is Team Penske's hometown track, located just one hour from their shop in nearby Reading, PA and it's also the track that Penske himself built to what it is today.

Coming back to Nazareth for next week's Firestone Indy 225 on April 19-21 is obviously important for the team and drivers de Ferran, a two-time national champion, and Helio Castroneves, the defending Indianapolis 500 winner. "I'm excited about going back to Nazareth," said de Ferran. "It holds a special place for me because I got my first win for Team Penske there in 2000 and it was Team Penske's 100th win. The race also means a lot to our entire team since the shop and Marlboro is close."

Last year at this time, one would have thought that they might not be back after the departure of CART from the Lehigh Valley track's schedule. But, it's a new year and Team Penske is in a new series - the Indy Racing League - and the IRL is making its debut at the one-mile oval. The team seems to think the racing on the track on April 21 will be exciting.

"We think the racing at Nazareth is going to be a lot better than we have seen in the past," said Tim Cindric, president of Team Penske, Inc. "I think the IRL's power-to-down force ratio for that particular track is more accustomed to good racing than maybe what it has been in the last few years there."

He continued, "Really, it comes down to the configuration of the racecar, not really the racetrack, in a lot of cases. I think back to the early 1990's and I can remember a lot of great races. It was some of the best racing you look forward to each year. The track hasn't changed. The cars have, and the formulas that race there have. And that has as much to do with good racing as anything else does."

Last week, several teams were testing at the one-mile oval and it was no surprise to see that the man leading the way on the speed charts was Castroneves, with de Ferran finishing with the sixth-fastest speed. The key now is to continue that performance in the 225-lap event in one week.

The road to Indianapolis now runs through Nazareth Speedway as it welcomes the fastest growing open wheel series in the United States - the Indy Racing League April 19-21. See open-wheel racing like you have never seen before with names like Al Unser Jr., Scott Sharp, Eddie Cheever and reigning champion Sam Hornish Jr and witness the return of Team Penske to Nazareth in Sunday's Inaugural Firestone Indy 225. The weekend is capped off with the United States Auto Club (USAC) Silver Crown, Sprint Car and Midget Series' adding to the excitement of an action-packed weekend.

Tickets for the 2002 racing season at Nazareth Speedway, including the inaugural Firestone Indy 225 weekend April 19-21, are now available. For tickets, reserved camping, and additional information, please contact the Nazareth Speedway ticket office at 1-888-629-RACE or order online at www.nazarethspeedway.com.

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Al Unser Jr. , Scott Sharp , Helio Castroneves , Gil de Ferran , Sam Hornis
Teams Team Penske