De Ferran Headed To California

Roger Penske continues to prepare his team for its first season of Indy Racing League competition next week when he takes driver Gil de Ferran to California Speedway in Fontana, Calif.

De Ferran, the reigning CART FedEx Series champion, will test his No. 6 IRL machine at the high-speed 2-mile oval Monday. It is the team’s first test of the new year.

Penske is bringing his team consisting of de Ferran and Indianapolis 500 winner Helio Castroneves to the IRL in 2002 after more than 20 successful years in CART.

The IRL will compete on California Speedway’s high banks for the first time March 24. It is expected to be a competitive affair with a couple of CART teams and part-time IRL driver Arie Luyendyk planning on taking part in the race.

De Ferran has plenty of experience at California, as CART has competed on the oval since 1997. He has finishes of sixth, third, ninth, 17th and sixth in his past five appearances at the track. He also set the world closed-course speed record during qualifying at the track in 2000 when he turned a lap at 241.428 mph (30.255 seconds).

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