Wheldon Starts Title Defense at Phoenix Test A new era dawned in Indy Racing League competition this week at Phoenix International Raceway as IRL pre-season testing began with Honda supplying the entire IndyCar Series field. Sixteen cars, the...
Wheldon Starts Title Defense at Phoenix Test
A new era dawned in Indy Racing League competition this week at Phoenix International Raceway as IRL pre-season testing began with Honda supplying the entire IndyCar Series field.
Sixteen cars, the majority of the expected starting grid when the series opens March 26 at Homestead Miami Speedway in Florida, ran more than 3,000 miles at Phoenix without incident. Defending series and Indy 500 champion Dan Wheldon was quickest over the two days with a best lap average of 178.483 mph, almost two miles per hour quicker than the pole qualifying speed of 176.612 mph set by Bryan Herta in 2005.
All 16 drivers posted times within one second of Wheldon's benchmark, with third-generation racer Marco Andretti the quickest rookie at 173.614 mph, 14th overall on the speed chart.
The IndyCars will have one additional multi-day test prior to the start of the 2006 season, on both the road course and oval at Homestead March 2-5.
Dan Wheldon (#10 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Honda) quickest at the Phoenix test: "It was a pretty strong debut, don't you think? Really, the guys on the Ganassi team are awesome. To make a chassis switch in the off-season and still come out strong like this, with both cars, is a fantastic start to the year. We're still getting to know one another, and there's a lot to learn, but it has been an encouraging start."
Marco Andretti (#27 Arca/Ex Andretti Green Racing Honda) fastest rookie driver: "I think things went about as expected for my first time on a short oval. It took a lot of adjusting. It's going to take some time for Eddie (Jones, team engineer) to learn what I need in a race car. We were able to work a lot with setups that we felt would be comfortable for this week and now we just need to keep working for what will be ideal for me in the car."