IRL: Homestead-Miami test day one report

Giaffone Quickest In First Day Of Miami Test HOMESTEAD, Fla., Thursday, Dec. 13, 2001 - After one of the most impressive rookie seasons in Indy Racing history, Felipe Giaffone is showing no signs of slowing down. 2001 Chevy Rookie of the...

Giaffone Quickest In First Day Of Miami Test

HOMESTEAD, Fla., Thursday, Dec. 13, 2001 - After one of the most impressive rookie seasons in Indy Racing history, Felipe Giaffone is showing no signs of slowing down.

2001 Chevy Rookie of the Year Giaffone was the quickest among five Indy Racing League drivers testing Dec. 12 at Homestead-Miami Speedway in preparation for the 2002 season opener March 2 at the 1.5-mile oval in South Florida. His quickest time was 27.87 seconds in the Hollywood entry fielded by Mo Nunn Racing.

Marlboro Team Penske teammates Helio Castroneves and Gil de Ferran were second and third quickest, respectively, at 28.00 and 28.13. Penske Racing officials announced last week that the team would compete exclusively in the Indy Racing League in 2002 with Castroneves and de Ferran.

"We had a very good day today," de Ferran said. "Because we haven't had the opportunity to run this car on any of these tracks, the more experience we can get, the better off we'll be in the long run. It almost feels like my first year in America because everything is so new to me."

Said 2001 Indianapolis 500 winner Castroneves: "Everything is new for us, so we spent today just trying to learn how the cars handle at this track. Marlboro Team Penske made some good progress today, but we still have work to do. Hopefully we can accomplish all of our objectives tomorrow."

1996 Indy Racing League co-champion Buzz Calkins was fourth at 28.50 in the Bradley Motorsports entry.

"We're primarily working on a new engine combination that we have and working on getting that tuned in," Calkins said. "So we had some issues with that in the morning, and it seemed to go better this afternoon." 1998 Indianapolis 500 winner Eddie Cheever Jr. was fifth at 28.81 in the Red Bull Cheever Indy Racing entry. Cheever could only be both philosophical and humorous after a tough day at the track.

"Last time we were here was for the race, and we didn't have a good setup then," Cheever said. "I'm pleased to announce that we're very consistent and still have a poor setup.

"We don't have a consistent aerodynamic balance or a lot of grip, and coming off the corner so slow makes it slow on the straightaway, too. So we have to reassess everything and just try to go in a new direction. All we learned today is what not to do tomorrow."

Testing continues Dec. 13 at the track.

-IRL-

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Series INDYCAR