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Castroneves seeks Indy-MIS double

7/20/2001

BROOKLYN, Mich. -- Helio Castroneves is attempting to become
the fourth driver to win the Indianapolis 500 and a 500-mile race
at Michigan International Speedway in the same season.

"Things will be even better if it happens," Castroneves said.
"We're going to try and win the race, but we're not going to do it
for the history books. We need the points for the championship."

Castroneves is third in the FedEx Championship race with 70
points - 15 behind leader Kenny Brack. Castroneves plans on using
the same strategy he used to win the Indy 500, his first victory on
an oval.

"I always knew I could win on an oval but something always
unfortunate happened," he said. "I know what happened at Indy.
I'll wait until the race comes to me. I'm not going to change that
strategy because it worked very well for me."

In his first CART race at MIS last year, Castroneves led 85 of
250 laps and finished fifth.

Parting ways
MIS president Brett Shelton said he decided last
month not to renew the track's contract with CART for 2002 because
he wasn't comfortable with the series' future plans.

Next year, the rival Indy Racing League will compete in a
300-mile event at MIS.

"When I looked at the long-term strategy of MIS relative to
CART," Shelton said Friday, "I didn't feel like there was an
answer there that I was comfortable with and that I knew that MIS
was in it for the long haul."

The tracks in Brooklyn, Homestead, Fla., and Nazareth, Pa., are
all owned by International Speedway Corporation and did not extend
their contracts with CART after races this year.

"Homestead and Nazareth were treated in a certain way,"
Shelton said, "and I didn't want to be sitting here three years
from now and get an e-mail saying that we've decided to go
somewhere else."

Shelton, in his first year as MIS president, said he anticipated
a reaction by fans following his decision, but it never occurred.
He estimated that Sunday's race may draw only 30,000-40,000 fans.

"What has surprised me is how the fans didn't react in mass
numbers either way," Shelton said. "If we would've had 3,000 fans
send their tickets back and say put it where the sun doesn't shine
or if I would've had 3,000 calls saying, 'I'm going to see that
last one,' I would have been happy. At least you know something
came of it.

"But our tickets sales increased only 20 percent. They went
from 20 to 24 per day."

CART president and CEO Joe Heitzler and ISC senior vice
president John Saunders are expected to address the issue Saturday.

Spark plugs
Team Player's management said Friday that it has
picked up the option on the contract of driver Patrick Carpentier
for next season. It will be the Canadian driver's fifth season with
the team. ... Of the last 14 winners of CART races at MIS, only
four drivers will compete on Sunday. Returning winners include Tony
Kanaan (1999), Alex Zanardi (1997), Jimmy Vasser (1996) and Michael
Andretti (1989). Not on hand are Juan Montoya (2000), Greg Moore
(1998), Andre Ribeiro (1996, second race), Scott Pruett (1995),
Scott Goodyear (1992 and 1994), Nigel Mansell (1993), Rick Mears
(1991) and Al Unser Jr. (1990). ... Scott Dixon holds a 31-point
lead over runner-up Bruno Junqueira at the top of the rookie
standings.