Open Test at Pocono reveals what IndyCar teams already knew – Track records will fall all through Race Weekend …

Posted: July 5, 2013 in Uncategorized

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Twenty-four IndyCars participated in a day-long test Thursday, on the 2.5-mile tri-oval and confirmed what many race team and media members had already surmised during the course of the last week.IndyCar teams will shatter the current speed records at the “Tricky-Triangle” during the upcoming race weekend

Utilizing a revised tire specification (from the IndyCar test session last week), Firestone’s Racing Division help put the entire field on the fast track, as all 24 cars eclipsed the Pocono Raceway track record of 211.715 mph, set by Emerson Fittipaldi on Aug. 19, 1989 driving a Penske-Chevrolet for the race team Pat Patrick & Chip Ganassi.  The field, top to bottom, was separated by a mere 1.1 seconds. Further enhancing speeds was IndyCar’s reported decision (TSO Online) to allow the underwing to be used to increase downforce by possibly as much 250 pounds, improving how the cars will handle in race traffic.

Fastest on the day was Pennsylvania favorite son (and grandson) Marco Andretti who pushed his No. 25 Andretti Autosport RC Cola Chevy-Dallara to a speed of 220.963 miles per hour during a 122 lap shake-down session.  Andretti, clearly pleased on the day’s run said: “I think this just became my favorite race track. It’s so much fun.  I mean, it’s so different every lap and that’s the fun about it.  You don’t know what to expect.  You have to really be on the tools end-to-end and chase the car. I was able to make some passes.  I’m really pleased with the car and I can keep my foot in it and put up a big time so that helps as well.  (About running as a team during the afternoon): “We run in a line because that simulates a race and that’s what we’re going to do on Sunday. We do have that luxury because we have a lot of cars. We don’t do it to intimidate. We do it to learn. My teammates are going to be strong Sunday. I know that.” (Will this race be similar to Indy): “I’ve made passes going into every corner today. It’s going to be a heck of a race for the fans. It’s going to be an awesome show. Again, credit to INDYCAR with the aero choice and Firestone with the tire choice. I think it’s going to produce an awesome race, so I think there’s going to be a lot of passing.” (Who were you passing?): “The car’s been good today. We could roll of Saturday and it could be a totally different ballgame, but today, I was able to pass whoever was in front of me.

He was followed on the day’s speed chart by Indianapolis 500 winner; Tony Kanaan, in his  No. 11 Sunoco “Turbo” car for KV Racing Technology-SH Racing at 219.802 mph. Kanaan’s explained that day’s success was tied to last week’s testing:  “We did test here last week so we came back with a solid setup already.  We worked on race (set up) a lot.  I’m happy with the car so we’ll see.  We have a day off tomorrow which is very unusual for a race weekend for us.  I’m happy.  It’s going to be a close race.  I think everybody is running pretty close together so we’ll see.  (On what he learned at last week’s test):  Of course, we tried a bunch of things last week.  We used last week’s test for the things I call the big things.  Things that will take a long time to change.  I can’t get into much detail but they’re changes in the car that will take a couple hours sometimes for you to figure out. And we had a list of three of those that I went through during that day and then we went back to the shop to evaluate those and chose the best that we thought when we came back.  It was definitely helpful.  The biggest thing I would say for me is it took me, you know it’s funny I have been in America for so long now and racing in INDYCAR for 14 years, you figured you have learned every single track and you’ve been to every single track.  And all of the sudden we came to a track that I hadn’t raced yet.  It took me a little while to learn the track. They don’t call it the tricky tri-oval for nothing.  I got here, I drove my rental car around and said ‘Eh, it’s not that bad.’ And then I got in my Indy car and I’m like ‘OK.’  So it took me a few laps to get the confidence and to learn a lit bit about this track.”

IZOD IndyCar Series championship points leader Helio Castroneves (219.123 mph) was third in his No. 3 Hitachi Team Penske car and stated: “The Hitachi Team Penske boys did a hell of a job today. We got a lot accomplished over the full day of testing and, I have to say, the car is fast and really smooth. It feels good. It’s great to be back here racing at Pocono and it was awesome to see some fans out here today just watching testing. Hopefully we’ll have a good crowd for the race. I think we will be in good shape for qualifying on Saturday. The Hitachi car is ready to go.”

Probably the sharpest comment on the performance of the day’s testing was best conveyed by three-time Indianapolis 500 winner and four-time IndyCar Series champion driver of the No. 10 Energizer entry for Target Chip Ganassi Racing when he said: “These cars are bloody quick around here. The performance level is unbelievable.”

PoconoPracticeSpeedsThe next IZOD IndyCar Series race is the Pocono INDYCAR 400 Fueled by Sunoco on July 7 at Pocono Raceway. The race will be televised live at noon (ET) by ABC and broadcast by the IMS Radio Network, including on Sirius and XM Channels 211, www.indycar.com and the INDYCAR 13 App for most smartphones and tablets. The next Firestone Indy Lights race is the Pocono 100 at 4 p.m. on July 6 at Pocono Raceway. NBC Sports Network’s coverage of the race will be telecast at 7 p.m. (ET) on July 12.

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