IRL: Kanaan, Andretti Test in the West notes 2003-02-08

Kanaan and Team 7-Eleven quickest at Phoenix. AVONDALE, Arizona (February 8, 2003) -- Rain may have delayed the start of the last day of on-track testing at the Indy Racing League's Test in the West, but it did little to dampen Andretti Green...

Kanaan and Team 7-Eleven quickest at Phoenix.

AVONDALE, Arizona (February 8, 2003) -- Rain may have delayed the start of the last day of on-track testing at the Indy Racing League's Test in the West, but it did little to dampen Andretti Green Racing and Team 7-Eleven's spirit and effort at Phoenix International Raceway. After posting the ninth quickest lap in the time-shortened morning practice session, Team 7-Eleven's Tony Kanaan kicked into high gear after the lunch break. The Brazilian driver, who was announced as part of the Andretti Green Racing stable this past fall, marked the fastest time of the day and the quickest over the two-day Test in the West testing period in Phoenix. Driving the #11 Dallara/Honda/Firestone Kanaan raced around the one-mile oval track at a speed of 176.783 mph (20.3639 seconds) knocking a tenth of a second off of the time posted by Helio Castroneves in yesterday's practice session.

Kanaan's teammate at 7-Eleven, and Andretti Green Racing team-owner, Michael Andretti, saw his luck shift in a different direction. After sorting out a set-up issue in the morning session, Andretti headed back to the track in high spirits. His optimism was short-lived however when his #7 Dallara/Honda/Firestone suffered a broken header on the first run, and he was forced to abandon the car and sat out the remainder of the session.

Scott Dixon was the second quickest in today's test session posting a fast lap of 176.245 mph (20.421 seconds) and Kenny Brack was third with a best lap of 175.279 mph (20.5387 seconds). Team 7-Eleven's technical partner, Dario Franchitti was eleventh with a best lap of 172.698 mph (20.8456 seconds).

Following today's action, Andretti Green Racing and Team 7-Eleven will head home to Indianapolis. The team's next on-track activity will be at Homestead-Miami Speedway on February 17 and 18. Both Team 7- Eleven drivers and Dario Franchitti are expected to test on the 1.5-mile oval.

The 2003 Indy Racing League IndyCar Series season kicks off on March 2 at Homestead. The race will be broadcast live on ABC at 1 p.m. eastern.

Tony Kanaan, Team 7-Eleven
"We have a really good car in both qualifying and race trim, and I'm very happy with the way everything went today. Michael (Andretti) would have been quick out there too. When he had the problem, he began working with me and I can say that it really helped. Team 7-Eleven is a great team, they put a great car together for me. I think that working with my engineer Eric (Cowdin), over all these years (Cowdin and Kanaan spent five years together) also helps speed things up a bit. It's been a very good day."

Kim Green, President -- Andretti Green Racing
"Tony had a frustrating day yesterday and it's great to see how we've been able to work through it and deliver a race car that was equally good in qualifying and race trim. He did a great job out there today, in fact the whole team did. We'll have to see how the temperatures change once we get back here to race in March, it could get a whole lot warmer, but we are very happy with where we are right now. Overall for the entire Test in the West, I must say that we've learned a lot and we've seen how well our team members and drivers are working together. The type of teamwork that they've shown has been really great and I think we'll be in good shape heading into the season."

Michael Andretti, Team 7-Eleven
"The car felt really good and after lunch I was going to put on a new set of tires and then go out and put in a time. I thought that I was going to be quick, but then the header broke and it ended that. I'm really happy about how well Tony ran, and I think that Dario, Tony and I really worked well together over these test days. We may have had our teething problems along the way, but I'm very satisfied with what we've accomplished."

Tony Cotman -- Team 7-Eleven Team Manager
"After the rain this morning we were dealing with a different race track and it didn't suit our setup. We tuned the car in and Michael said that it was feeling very good just before we went for the lunch break. Following the break we went out, and on our first run, a header broke. It's disappointing, because I think we could have run well and run quick this afternoon. The past week has been a bit of a roller coaster, but all in all I do think that we've learned a lot. There is an advantage to having a three-car team out here."

- AGR -

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Michael Andretti , Dario Franchitti , Tony Kanaan , Kenny Brack , Kim Green