Papis To Replace De Ferran
September 10, 2002 | 12:00 A.M. EST
Papis will drive the No. 6 Marlboro Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone as a teammate to Indy Racing League championship contender and two-time Indianapolis 500 winner Helio Castroneves. de Ferran, third in IRL points, suffered injuries in a crash during the Delphi Indy 300 on Sept. 8 at Chicagoland Speedway and was not cleared to drive at Texas by Dr. Henry Bock, Indy Racing League director of medical services.
“Obviously, I am extremely disappointed that I will be unable to fight for our third consecutive championship,” said de Ferran, who won CART titles in 2000 and 2001. “I respect Dr. Bock’s decision and want to thank the medical staffs of the Indy Racing League, Chicagoland Speedway and St. James Hospital in Olympia Fields, Ill. I was in good hands throughout this difficult process.
“I sincerely wish that my teammate Helio Castroneves can bring the championship home for Marlboro Team Penske, and I’m sure that Max Papis will do a good job for our team.”
Said Tim Cindric, Penske Racing president: “We understand that Dr. Bock’s decision was made for the right reasons. We are also quite fortunate that a driver of Max’s caliber was available under these circumstances. Although we share Gil’s disappointment in not being able to compete for the 2002 IRL championship, ultimately Gil’s health and well being is our primary concern.”
This season Papis has competed in the Indianapolis 500, the CART series and was a winning driver in the Rolex 24 at Daytona. In his six-year open-wheel career, Papis has compiled three wins, two pole positions and 11 top-three finishes.
“I am extremely disappointed for Gil that he cannot continue his battle for the championship,” Papis said. “But it will be an honor for me to represent Marlboro Team Penske and (team owner) Roger (Penske) at Texas Motor Speedway this weekend. I look forward to working with Philip Morris again as they have supported me through various stages of my career, including Formula 3 and CART.”