Patrick Racing Has Solid Test At Indianapolis Motor Speedway JACKSON, MI - - APRIL 29, 2004 - - Patrick Racing completed two-days of testing at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Open Test in Indianapolis, Indiana April 28-29, having made solid ...
Patrick Racing Has Solid Test At Indianapolis Motor Speedway
JACKSON, MI - - APRIL 29, 2004 - - Patrick Racing completed two-days of testing at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Open Test in Indianapolis, Indiana April 28-29, having made solid progress in preparation for the team's debut at the Indianapolis 500 May 30.
Al Unser Jr., piloting the #20 Patrick Racing Chevrolet/Dallara/Firestone entry, finished 16th (out of 27 cars) on the combined practice report with a quick time of 41.6169 seconds (216.258 mph). He ran a total of 166 laps (415 miles) over the two days, but most importantly showed improvement each session.
The Patrick Racing IRL team, which was announced on March 21 and has only been together for a few weeks, was participating in just their second test. They previously run a "shakedown" test at Nashville Superspeedway in Nashville, TN, April 20-21.
"We went out and ran quite a few miles and learned quite a bit about the car over the last two days," Unser Jr. said. "We're real happy with the Chevrolet engine. It ran flawlessly both days and has plenty of power and we're very happy with the results," he noted.
The first day of testing was delayed due to forecasted cold weather, so things did not get underway until Wednesday morning, April 28. Patrick Racing was 16th on the speed charts following the first practice session with a time of 42.2164 seconds (213.187 mph). In the afternoon session Unser Jr. improved both his time and position turning a quick lap of 42.1067 seconds (213.743) good for 15th on the speed chart for the session and 16th on the combined report.
"Things looked really good for the first day," Unser commented. "I definitely felt at home. The best thing was being out on the track after sitting out the first three races. That was fantastic and I had a lot of fun," he said.
During the second day of practice things started a bit slow in the morning as the team experimented with the setup, but picked up in the afternoon session as Patrick Racing continued to improve. Unser Jr. ran a fast time of 42.0625 seconds (214.005 mph) in the morning session. Then, in the afternoon things really came together as Unser turned his fastest lap of the two days and finished the session 14th on the speed charts. More importantly, he picked up almost two mph on the fastest car over the two days.
"Pat (Patrick) knows what to do to win around here and the team does too. We just have to keep working and improving, but I am looking forward to a great month of May," Unser Jr. concluded.
Patrick Racing enters its 32nd year of competition in 2004, and first in the IRL, as one of the most successful teams in open wheel racing history. Patrick drivers have started 787 races, won two national championships (Gordon Johncock - 1979; Emerson Fittipaldi - 1989) and taken the checkered flag 45 times, including three at the Indianapolis 500 (Johncock - 1973 and1982; Fittipaldi - 1989). Considered one of the premier teams, Patrick Racing is owned and led by one of the most respected names in motor sports, U. E. "Pat" Patrick. Patrick is the "father" of the Indy Lights Championship and the co-founder of CART.
Unser Jr., a native of Albuquerque, New Mexico, is in his fifth season with the IRL and 24th at the premier level of American open wheel competition. He has amassed a total of 34 career wins (31 in CART and three in the IRL) including wins at the Indianapolis 500 in 1992 and 1994 and national championships in 1990 and 1994. The resident of Henderson, Nevada finished an IRL career high sixth in the championship standings last year with 374 points. He finished 15 of the 18 races, more than any other driver, and scored 11 top-10 finishes including a win in June at Texas Motor Speedway.