Andretti Green Racing takes steps toward Chicagoland success with two-day test session

JOLIET, Ill. (Aug. 28, 2003) -- The next event on the Indy Racing League (IRL) IndyCar^Ù Series schedule is still 10 days away, but all three Andretti Green Racing teams took steps toward a successful race weekend by working through a two-day test session in preparation for the September 7th running of the Delphi Indy 300 at Chicagoland Speedway.

Team 7-Eleven driver Tony Kanaan and Archipelago/Motorola driver Bryan Herta worked out yesterday on the 1.5-mile tri-oval, logging close to 500 miles collectively. Dan Wheldon, who has used two top-five and four top-10 finishes in his last five starts to position himself for a run at rookie-of-the-year honors, climbed behind the wheel on Thursday and completed about 250 miles of testing in the #26 Klein Tools/Jim Beam Honda-powered Dallara.

"Today was very productive for us," said Wheldon. "There were several things that we wanted to try. We worked through those things and did it kind of in a meticulous way that turned out to be very beneficial.

"I really enjoy the track itself. I've been around here before and that really is a nice feeling. In my rookie year I've been to a lot of tracks where I just had to head straight into the race weekend. Having experienced a race here, having experienced the track and testing here is all going to help me significantly when we had back in a week or so."

Team manager Kyle Moyer helped oversee testing activities on Wednesday before returning to the race shop and felt the team's opening day was challenging, but still productive.

"By no means was our first day an easy day, but that doesn't mean it was a bad day," said Moyer. "There is never a bad test. You may have a bad performance at a test, but there is never a bad test because even the things that don't go well are actually positives because you don't waste your time on it during the race weekend. Anything we learn -- good or bad -- will help us figure out which direction we're going to be headed next week."

Andretti Green Racing president Kim Green was at Chicagoland for both days of testing.

"All three drivers ran through a bunch of stuff. We did a lot of testing," said Green. "Overall, there were a lot of pieces tested and I think it was a very, very productive test. I don't think we were necessarily the fastest, but we tried a lot of different things over the two days and I think many of them will be beneficial on race weekend."

The Delphi Indy 300 -- round 14 of the 2003 IRL IndyCar^Ù Series -- is set for Sept. 7 at 2 p.m. (EDT) and will air live on ABC.

- AGR -