Ft. Worth, Texas-Indy Lights veteran, Airton Dare, passed his four phase Rookie Orientation Program (ROP) today at the Texas Motor Speedway in the Pennzoil Panther ...
Ft. Worth, Texas-Indy Lights veteran, Airton Dare, passed his four phase Rookie Orientation Program (ROP) today at the Texas Motor Speedway in the Pennzoil Panther # 4 back-up car. The Pennzoil Panther Racing Team, with primary driver Scott Goodyear, had been at the speedway to participate in the Mall.com 500 on Sunday. Dare took advantage of the opportunity by getting in Goodyear's back-up #4 Pennzoil Panther G-Force/Aurora/Goodyear and completing his four phase Indy Racing League Rookie Orientation Program (ROP). "For me, this is fantastic to be in a car like this. I've dreamed my whole life of getting a chance like today's." Said Dare at the conclusion of his test. "I was a little disappointed in myself that I didn't get fully on the throttle but it takes time getting used to a new car and I've got plenty of time to do that."
Dare turned a total of 195 laps during the ROP with a top speed of 209.1 miles per hour. The ROP consists of four phases of on-track testing. Drivers must complete 10 laps at each of these speed phases while showing control of the car under the eye of veteran observers and IRL Officials.
* Phase 1: 190-195 mph * Phase 2: 195-200 mph * Phase 3: 200-205 mph * Phase 4: More than 205 mph
Team Co-owner and Manager John Barnes was enthused after the young Brazilians test. "Airton did a great job today. He was very consistent; in fact his lap times were within .1 of each other in each phase. Airton ran quick enough to have made the middle of the field for the Mall.com 500 and pretty impressive on his first time out in this car. " Barnes said. Dare's has spent a lot of time in an Indy Lights seat over the past 3 years, earning his 2nd career victory this year at Nazareth Speedway in the Forsythe Championship Racing Team car. Dare, a native Brazilian, began racing Indy Lights in 1997 and has established an impressive streak of consistently finishing races and finishing in the points. Dare completed every race in his rookie season, 1997, while competing for Brian Stewart racing. Dare will be competing at the Indy Lights season finale in Fontana on October 31st. Dare said, "It will be strange getting back into my Indy Lights car, I will want more horsepower and things go so much faster in the IRL car."