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Penske teammates finish 1-2 again

8/12/2001

LEXINGTON, Ohio -- Climbing the fence once wasn't enough for
Helio Castroneves.

The driver known as "Spiderman" performed his signature
victory move twice after winning Sunday's CART Miller Lite 200 at
the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course.

He first climbed a fence near the front straightaway, then
followed by doing the same thing near the victory platform a little
farther up the track.

"I did it a second time just to salute the fans," he said.
"I'm really excited. I was expecting to win, but you never know
what's going to happen."

The race was in many ways a repeat of Castroneves' victory last
year. Once again, Marlboro Team Penske teammate Gil de Ferran
finished second.

de Ferran started on the pole, led the first 28 laps, then gave
the lead up to Castroneves, who pitted one lap later just as he had
in 2000.

"Gil and I were going to go into the pits at the same time, but
he was a little bit ahead of me," Castroneves said. "At the last
second, I decided 'I'm going to go one more lap."'

Castroneves never trailed after his first pit stop in the 2000
race. This year, he gave up the lead to Oriol Servia for 11 laps
during the second round of pit stops, which occurred after Adrian
Fernandez
slid off the track and into a tire barrier on the 51st
lap.

Everyone else pitted during the caution period that followed,
but Servia stayed out as long as he could. The strategy allowed him
to finish ninth after starting last among the 26 drivers.

Castroneves took the lead for the final time on the 66th lap
when Servia entered the pits, and neither de Ferran nor third-place
Patrick Carpentier could get close to him after that.

"I'm happy to win, but it seems I always feel worse when I'm
leading like I was today," Castroneves said. "I find myself
pushing hard and wondering 'where are those other guys?' I guess
that's just my way."

De Ferran said of his teammate, "He made a few small mistakes,
but not enough for me, and then I made a few small mistakes. Second
place isn't a win, but it was good to get out of here with some
points and not waste the opportunity."

Castroneves averaged 106.627 mph in his Reynard Honda and
defeated de Ferran by 1.568 seconds. The margin separating the two
was slightly closer than it was last year, when Castroneves won by
4.425 seconds.

He became the sixth driver in 20 years of CART racing at
Mid-Ohio to win back-to-back events, joining Bobby Rahal, Michael
Andretti
, Emerson Fittipaldi, Al Unser Jr. and Alex Zanardi.

Carpentier, the third-fastest qualifier, went off course early
in the race but recovered to post his third straight podium finish.
He was the winner of the Michigan 500 and finished second in
Chicago.

"It was enough just to be able to stay with these guys
(Castroneves and de Ferran)," he said. "My crew did a fantastic
job in pit lane to get me back into third place so I could stay
there near the end."

Winning moved Castroneves into second place in the points
standings, one point behind leader Kenny Brack, who finished 20th.
It was the third CART victory of the year for the Brazilian, who
also won the Indianapolis 500.

Brack never was a factor after Max Papis, his teammate on Team
Rahal, ran into the side of the points leader's car on the 30th
lap. The crash ended Papis' day, but Brack was able to continue.

It was the second time this season the two had been involved in
an accident with each other. They also crashed late in the race at
Michigan as they were fighting with Bryan Herta for the lead.

Paul Tracy was fourth, followed by Tony Kanaan, Roberto Moreno,
Alex Tagliani, Christian Fittipaldi, Servia and Cristiano da
Matta
.

There were three caution periods. They occurred from the 31st to
33rd lap because of the crash involving Brack and Papis, from the
51st to 55th laps after Fernandez went off and from the 73rd to
75th laps when Tora Takagi spun out. Twenty starters finished.