INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. — Dario Franchitti and Team KOOL Green hit the track at Texas Motor Speedway (TMS) on Thursday, February 22 for the team's first and only test at the 1.5-mile superspeedway before the inaugural Texas 600 on April 29. Franchitti turned 190 trouble-free miles in his KOOL Honda-Reynard with a best solo lap of 225.7mph (23.9 seconds).
Franchitti was pleased with the results of the test, but expressed some reservations about the TMS facility.
"We had a productive day and should be able to come here in April with a competitive package," said Franchitti. "It's a very fast track. Though the grandstands and garages are very impressive, the track itself is rough in spots and there need to be some safety upgrades before we actually race there. All of the drivers are going to need to pay close attention when the race begins."
Team KOOL Green team manager Kyle Moyer believes TMS has the potential to provide an exciting CART race.
"I understand the drivers' concerns with the track surface as well as the configuration," said Moyer. "The cars can run any line through the banking but they'll have to get in single file as they come through the kink on the front stretch. That will require a lot of cooperation by the drivers, but I think the fans will see great racing."
Although the team had initially planned to test for two days at TMS, the #27 TKG crew loaded-up on Thursday afternoon and headed for Phoenix, sight of Franchitti's final pre-season test. Chief engineer Iain Watt says the team accomplished all of its goals for TMS in a single day of testing and that the next step will come on race weekend when there will be a full field of cars on the track.
"We worked through our test list in one afternoon," said Watt. "We should have a good baseline when we offload here in April. There wasn't much more we could learn about race setup with the limited number of cars here today."
The #27 Team KOOL Green crew is converting the car into a short oval configuration before a little R&R on the way to the team's final test at Phoenix International Raceway on February 27 and 28.