IRL: Indy Racing testing continues

Indy Racing testing continues during busy off-season. INDIANAPOLIS, Friday, Oct. 18, 2002 -- Drivers from the Indy Racing League, the Indy Racing Infiniti Pro Series and drivers hoping to someday compete in Indy Racing tested Oct. 17-18 in Indy...

Indy Racing testing continues during busy off-season.

INDIANAPOLIS, Friday, Oct. 18, 2002 -- Drivers from the Indy Racing League, the Indy Racing Infiniti Pro Series and drivers hoping to someday compete in Indy Racing tested Oct. 17-18 in Indy Racing League cars at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and Kentucky Speedway.

Tony Ave, 30, from Indianapolis, passed the speed phase of his Indy Racing League rookie test Oct. 17 at Kentucky Speedway in a car prepared by Hemelgarn Racing. Ave, who has competed in the Toyota Atlantic Series and Trans-Am series, completed 150 laps at the 1.5-mile oval with a top speed of 219.2 mph, according to Mark Bridges, technical manager for the Indy Racing League, who oversaw the test.

"He did really, really well," Bridges said. "He felt very comfortable and relaxed in the car and had good feedback on the car and what it does."

Cory Witherill, who drives for Hemelgarn Racing in the Infiniti Pro Series and won in July at Nashville, also tested Hemelgarn's Indy Racing car at Kentucky. Witherill, who tested Oct. 18, has started in two IRL events including the 85th Indianapolis 500 in May of 2001.

"He made a smooth transition from the Pro Series car back to the IRL car," Bridges said. "He took to it like a duck to water."

Witherill completed 72 laps with a top speed of 219.4 mph.

"This is my first time back in an IRL car since Indy last year, so I'm just getting some laps and am getting to work with the guys to see what we can do," Witherill said.

A.J. Fike, whose brother Aaron drove for Hemelgarn Racing in the Infiniti Pro Series, also tested the Hemelgarn car at Kentucky. Fike, who has already passed his Indy Racing League rookie test, completed 104 laps with a top speed of 218.8 mph.

"We started off a little slow but got going pretty good," Fike said. "The track is nice and wide, and both corners are a little different. I'd love to get out there and race two or three wide. Hopefully I get an opportunity to do that with Hemelgarn or another team and maybe drive the Pro Series next year and move on from there."

Testing was also taking place at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway where Tomas Scheckter completed the second and final day of testing with Target/Chip Ganassi Racing and the new Indy Racing League Toyota engine, which will make its debut in 2003.

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Tomas Scheckter , Cory Witherill , Tony Ave , Chip Ganassi , A.J. Fike
Teams Chip Ganassi Racing