FONTANA, Calif. (February 5, 2003)--Kelley Racing wrapped up their first phase of testing at the annual Indy Racing League Test in the West at California Speedway yesterday. Drivers Scott Sharp and Al Unser Jr. combined for a total of 260 miles...
FONTANA, Calif. (February 5, 2003)--Kelley Racing wrapped up their first phase of testing at the annual Indy Racing League Test in the West at California Speedway yesterday. Drivers Scott Sharp and Al Unser Jr. combined for a total of 260 miles of IndyCar testing on the 2-mile oval.
Vice president of racing operations Steve Newey oversaw the test and felt that despite some mechanical issues with the No. 8 entry the day was productive. "Today was very good race preparation for the Kelley team. Al had a good day and we were able to learn a lot from his test plan and I think we have a good car for race set-up. There will be a lot more development work done between now and the race in September, but I think we will have a good starting point. Unfortunately Scott (Sharp) had some mechanical gremlins that kept him from running the total test that we had planned for the No. 8 Delphi team but while he was in the car I think he was reasonably happy. Now we're looking forward to the second phase of the Test in the West at Phoenix where we have some serious work to do on our short oval set-up to prepare for the race in March. But hopefully we have all of the gremlins behind us and we'll be able to put in a full two days of testing with both drivers at Phoenix."
Despite the mechanical problems with the No. 8 Delphi entry, driver Scott Sharp was upbeat about the initial set-up on the racecar and with what they did accomplish in their limited on-track time. "We had some different issues that kept us in the garage most of the morning but we did get on the track in the afternoon session and we ran some reasonable lap times. Then we ran into a second problem early in the afternoon that ended our test early. But in the few laps I did run, the car was comfortable to drive so now I'm looking forward to coming back to Fontana before the race and putting in some more test days." Sharp ran a total of 40 laps (80 miles) with a best time of 32.9059 seconds/218.806 mph, 17th fastest overall.
Driver Al Unser Jr. had better luck with his testing plan on Tuesday, completing 90 laps (180 miles) with a best time of 32.574 seconds/221.030 mph, eighth fastest overall. Unser Jr., driving the No. 31 Corteco entry was pleased with the day and felt they were able to get a good baseline for the racecar. "The test went really well. It was good to get the new Dallara/Toyota/Firestone package on a superspeedway and see where we measured up and overall; I think we were pretty competitive. The test ran very smooth and I am happy with the way both Scott and I are working together and also how the engineers are working together and sharing information. I'm looking forward to Phoenix because it will give us another opportunity to see where we stand with the competition and if things work as well for us as they did in Fontana I think we will be in good shape."
The Kelley Racing team will now travel to Phoenix for the second phase of the IRL's Test in the West where testing will be held on the 1-mile oval at Phoenix International Raceway on February 7 and 8.
The season-opening Toyota Indy 300 will take place March 2 at Homestead-Miami Speedway. The race will be broadcast live on ABC and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Radio Network. For Toyota Indy 300 ticket information, call (305) 230-RACE or log onto www.homesteadmiamispeedway.com.