Archive for Sunday, July 20, 2003

De Ferran celebrates 2nd win

July 20, 2003


— Gil de Ferran raced to his second victory of the season Saturday night, winning the Firestone Indy 200 under caution at Nashville Superspeedway.

The Indianapolis 500 winner took the lead for the second time on lap 173 while the other leaders pitted during a caution period caused by debris on the track.

He had been trying to stretch his fuel for the final 69 laps after pitting on lap 131, but two cautions in the final six laps caused by Buddy Lazier kept him from having to worry.

The Brazilian cruised in under caution after Lazier brushed the outside wall in Turn 2, bringing out the final yellow flag just as de Ferran was taking the white flag for the final lap.

De Ferran celebrated his fourth IRL title since moving to the series last year by singing "Take Me Out to the Ballgame" in Victory Lane. He last sang the song July 7 at Wrigley Field during the seventh-inning stretch.

He has plenty of reason to celebrate.

De Ferran has piled up the most driver points since missing the race at Motegi, Japan, in April because of a concussion and a couple of cracked vertebra suffered in a brutal crash at Phoenix International Raceway in March. He has five top-three finishes since then.

Polesitter Scott Dixon finished second, followed by Helio Castroneves, de Ferran's Penske teammate, and rookie Dan Wheldon.

Defending champion Alex Barron finished fifth as a replacement for Felipe Giaffone, who is in a rehabilitation hospital after breaking a leg and his pelvis in a July 6 crash at Kansas Speedway.

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