IRL: Richmond open test report 2003-05-30

Dixon leads Richmond open test again Friday. RICHMOND, Va., Friday, May 30, 2003 -- For the second consecutive day, Scott Dixon turned the fastest lap at the Indy Racing League IndyCar Series' Richmond Open Test at Richmond International Raceway.

Dixon leads Richmond open test again Friday.

RICHMOND, Va., Friday, May 30, 2003 -- For the second consecutive day, Scott Dixon turned the fastest lap at the Indy Racing League IndyCar Series' Richmond Open Test at Richmond International Raceway. Dixon, driver of the No. 9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Panoz G Force/Toyota/Firestone, turned a lap of 16.2511 seconds, 166.143 mph. "It's been pretty good," Dixon said. "The car was good right off the trailer. We didn't have to do much. We're just fine-tuning it, making sure that different things that we try, we're ending in the right direction. The guys have been doing a good job." The Richmond Open Test was extended to 9 a.m.-3 p.m. May 30 after rain cut short the scheduled May 29 session after less than 2.5 hours of track time. Two-time Indianapolis 500 winner Helio Castroneves, driver of the No. 3 Marlboro Team Penske Dallara/Toyota/Firestone, was second fastest with a lap of 16.3635, 165.001, while Dixon's teammate, Tomas Scheckter, driver of the No. 10 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Panoz G Force/Toyota/Firestone, was third quick at 16.4405, 164.229.

There were two accidents during the second day of the Richmond Open Test. At approximately 11:25 a.m., Scheckter made contact with the outside retaining wall between Turns 3 and 4 with the right rear of the car. The car then slid to a rest at the bottom of the racetrack near the start/finish line. The car suffered moderate damage to the right rear of the car. Scheckter was uninjured.

"I don't really know what happened," Scheckter said. "I wasn't fully up to speed yet and when I turned into Turn 3, the back end just came around. I'm fine, but the car needs a little bit of work." At approximately 2:45 p.m., there was an accident involving Castroneves and Tony Kanaan in Turn 4. Neither driver was injured, and the accident closed the track for the day as only 15 minutes remained in the Open Test.

Castroneves' car hit the left rear of Kanaan's car and briefly became airborne before ending upside down at the start/finish line. There was a fire in the car when it came to a stop, but Indy Racing League and Richmond International Raceway safety teams quickly extinguished the flames.

"We were both running full tanks," Kanaan said. "In talking to Helio, what happened was I was warming my tires, and he was obviously going much quicker. I went wide in Turn 3 and 4. I was going a slower speed than him, and he was in a blind spot. He hit me from behind. Fortunately, he's OK and I'm OK, so we're going to go back home."

"I was just behind Tony, and we were running together," Castroneves said. "All of sudden, Tony went high. He was in a situation where he couldn't see my hands. When he slowed down, my car hit his left-rear wheel. I noticed I was upside down. I smelled the methanol, and I was just worried about it getting on fire. All of a sudden, the fire caught. It (the crash) was a good one. I wasn't very happy, because the car was very good. I'm fine. I'm ready to go." The SunTrust Indy Challenge on June 28 at Richmond International Raceway will be the second of three night races on the 2003 IndyCar Series schedule. The ¾-mile oval is the shortest track the series competes on all year.

The 250 lap/187.5-mile race will be broadcast live at 8 p.m. (EDT) on ESPN and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Radio Network. Tickets are available by calling 804-345-RACE or logging onto www.rir.com.

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Tomas Scheckter , Helio Castroneves , Scott Dixon , Tony Kanaan , Chip Ganassi
Teams Team Penske , Chip Ganassi Racing