IRL: Texas: Team Penske Pit Notes

Marlboro Team Penske Pit Notes Marlboro Team Penske heads to the Boomtown 500 at Texas Motor Speedway first and second in the IRL point standings. Marlboro Team Penske is heading to the Lone Star State for this Saturday night's Boomtown 500 at...

Marlboro Team Penske Pit Notes

Marlboro Team Penske heads to the Boomtown 500 at Texas Motor Speedway first and second in the IRL point standings.

Marlboro Team Penske is heading to the Lone Star State for this Saturday night's Boomtown 500 at Texas Motor Speedway (TMS) where the stars of the Indy Racing League (IRL) will be competing in the 200-lap event at the famed 1.5-mile tri-oval. Fresh off of a victory at the 86th running of the Indianapolis 500, Helio Castroneves has taken the lead in the 2002 IRL Championship point standings with 195 points, followed by teammate Gil de Ferran who has 169 points.

While Marlboro Team Penske has never raced at TMS, they've had some track time here this season during test sessions. However, this will mark the first time either driver has competed in a night race so the Boomtown 500 will certainly add a unique challenge for the pilots of the identical Marlboro Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolets.

THOUGHTS ON THE BOOMTOWN 500

"This weekend's race at Texas Motor Speedway will be my first race under the lights," said Helio Castroneves, Two-Time Indianapolis 500 winner. "We did run a test there at night, which was incredible; you can see the lights go by and you realize how fast you are going. We tried to run different lines and we were able to get some good data for the race. The Marlboro Team Penske car handled well during the test so I hope we're in pretty good shape when we unload this weekend.

It will be a big change going from a 2.5-mile track (Indianapolis) to a 1.5-mile track (Texas). I saw last year's Texas race on television and there was a lot of wheel-to-wheel racing, so it should be very challenging. We need to be patient, finish well and stay out of trouble. We are focused on the Indy Racing League Championship (Castroneves is currently first with 195 points) so I cannot make the same mistake as last year (Castroneves went out on the first lap of the Milwaukee race following his 2001 Indianapolis 500 win)."

"The upcoming Boomtown 500 at Texas Motor Speedway will be yet another type of race for us with a whole new set of challenges," said Gil de Ferran, Two-Time National Champion. "The event will be similar to the race at California Speedway, in that it will be a flat-out, slip stream, horsepower race. We tested there early in the season, so we were able to collect some initial data. We'll just have to see how Marlboro Team Penske measures up when we get there."

While the Team searches for its third win of the 2002 season at TMS, here's a brief look at what Marlboro Team Penske has accomplished in the first five races:

* Castroneves has won two of five races (40%).

* Castroneves and de Ferran are the only two drivers to have led laps in every race.

* Castroneves is the only driver to have earned five top-five finishes.

* De Ferran has had the second most top-five finishes (four).

* Castroneves and de Ferran are the only drivers to have finished in the top-ten in every race this season.

* The teammates are the only drivers to have completed all 1,025 laps run to date.

HELIO CASTRONEVES' WHIRLWIND TOUR

Since Castroneves won his second consecutive Indianapolis 500 Mile Race, he has been on a whirlwind media tour sponsored by the IRL to promote the Indianapolis 500 Mile Race and the Indy Racing League. Aside from countless phone interviews, Castroneves was in New York last week to attend a media luncheon at Tavern on the Green. He also appeared on "Live with Regis and Kelly" as well as CNBC, FOX Sports' "The Best Damned Sports Show Period," and RPM2Night from ESPN's SportsZone in New York City.

In addition to fulfilling several interview requests from journalists all over the country and his home country of Brazil, Castroneves also had the opportunity to throw out the first pitch at the New York Mets game as well as ring the closing bell of the New York Stock Exchange last Tuesday.

Upon completion of the IRL Media Tour, Castroneves headed down to Richmond International Raceway for two days of testing on Wednesday and Thursday of last week, which included a media luncheon on the second day. He then flew to Ft. Worth for Texas Motor Speedway's annual Indianapolis 500 Winner's media tour.

Castroneves will once again be in New York City today and tomorrow to fulfill additional media requests including the traditional Indianapolis 500 Winner's appearance on "The Late Show with David Letterman," before heading back to Ft. Worth for the Boomtown 500.

-mtp-

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Series IndyCar
Teams Team Penske