Darren Manning: No. 14 ABC Supply Dallara/Honda/Firestone * A.J. Foyt on unification: "I'm glad to see it happen. It will eliminate the confusion caused by having two series which made it hard to explain the differences in the cars...
Darren Manning: No. 14 ABC Supply Dallara/Honda/Firestone
* A.J. Foyt on unification: "I'm glad to see it happen. It will eliminate the confusion caused by having two series which made it hard to explain the differences in the cars and the motors. We don't have to do that anymore which makes it better for the fans, the sponsors and the teams. The Indy 500 has been coming back stronger over the last several years and this will help make this year's race stronger yet."
* Darren Manning on the season opener: "It got me thinking to when I came over to CART-my first race was on the oval at Rockingham in England (2002). I thought of it as four fast corners. I didn't get a lot of practice but I led some laps (18) and finished ninth on the lead lap. That drive got me my ride in CART the following year. Now it will be different for the Champ Car regulars because Miami is a banked superspeedway whereas Rockingham was flat and single lane, more like a road course. The banking makes the track easier to drive but you don't get much feeling from the car. My first time at Miami, I felt like I didn't get it figured out until the race was nearly over. I think the new guys will find the speed pretty quick but the challenge will be the race itself. You're racing two-three lanes and that takes some getting used to. You have to know how to negotiate the traffic, time your overtaking. It's also about learning your fellow drivers and how close you can run with them. You have to give each other a wider berth, especially now. Some guys will be trying to figure out what they're doing or they may be struggling with their car. You have to give room for error, and I'm sure that will be emphasized to everyone at the driver's meeting. A lot of those guys are good friends of mine and I'll be glad to give them advice--and I'm sure the other guys will too--because that just makes it safer for everyone."
* Manning on Homestead-Miami Speedway: "Miami-Homestead is not a standard shaped oval. Although the turns are similar at both ends they are different because of the winds. In turns one and two the cars get loose, and in turns three and four, they tend to push or understeer. It's a tough track to get a handle on. However, it will be good in the race because of the variable banking which means the different grooves have different angles of banking: 18-19-20 degrees, allowing for a lot of side-by-side racing. I think it's the only track like that."
* Mike Colliver, of Bloomington, IN, joined the team in January as Chief Engineer. Colliver, 43, has worked in professional motorsports since 1994. Earning his bio-engineering degree from Purdue University in 1988, he worked in the bio-medical field for six years designing coronary products before launching his motorsports career.
* ABC Supply returns for its fourth year as primary sponsor of A.J. Foyt's No. 14 with GAF-ELK signing on for another year on the car's engine cover. Cabo Wabo Tequila returns as an associate sponsor for the third straight year.
* Winter testing: The ABC Supply team participated in both of the IRL Open Tests at Homestead-Miami Speedway and Sebring International Raceway; they also tested locally at Houston Motorsports Ranch road course in the off season. The team conducted shaker rig testing for the first time in several years; there were several wind tunnel tests with more planned next week.
* Once again the season opener will be under the lights. The Indy 300 will be broadcast live on ESPN2 Saturday night, March 29th, starting at 8pm eastern time.