De Ferran To Sit Out Motegi
March 27, 2003 | 1:45 A.M. EST
“Obviously I am extremely disappointed that I will be unable to compete at the inaugural event at Twin Ring Motegi. I wish Alex and the Team the best of luck in Japan,” said de Ferran. “I respect Dr. Bock’s decision and want to thank the medical staffs of the Indy Racing League, Phoenix International Raceway and Good Samaritan Regional Medical Center in Phoenix for their excellent care.”
De Ferran is expected to make a full recovery in time to begin activities for the 87th running of the Indianapolis 500-mile race on Sunday, May 25th.
“Gil suffered a minor fracture of the neck & lower back and a slight concussion,” said Dr. Henry Bock, Director of Medical Services, Indy Racing League. “These injuries will require a minimum of four weeks to heal, relegating Gil to the sideline for Motegi.”
“Our primary concern is Gil’s health. We understand that Dr. Bock’s decision is in the best interest of Gil and his timely recovery,” said Tim Cindric, President, Penske Racing, Inc. “It is important to our program to have an experienced driver in Gil’s car as we head to Motegi for the first time with the Indy Racing League. We are fortunate that Alex Barron is available under these circumstances.”
Last season Barron finished fifth in the IRL IndyCar Series point standings on the strength of 11 top-ten finishes in 15 events, including his first IndyCar Series victory at Nashville Superspeedway. He was also named co-Rookie of the Year for his fourth place finish at the 86 th Indianapolis 500-mile race.
“I look forward to representing Marlboro Team Penske and Roger again, though these are certainly difficult circumstances,” said Barron. “I wish Gil all the best for a speedy recovery.”
Penske Racing is the most successful Indy car racing team in history with 114 race wins, highlighted by a record 12 Indianapolis 500 Mile Race victories, 11 National Championships, and 140 pole positions.