INDYCAR SERIES DRIVERS RETURN TO "INCREDIBLY TOUGH" RICHMOND INTERNATIONAL RACEWAY IN PREPARATION FOR SUNTRUST INDY CHALLENGE Richmond, VA (June 10, 2009)--Some of the top names in the IndyCar Series were on track Wednesday at Richmond ...
INDYCAR SERIES DRIVERS RETURN TO "INCREDIBLY TOUGH" RICHMOND INTERNATIONAL RACEWAY IN PREPARATION FOR SUNTRUST INDY CHALLENGE
Richmond, VA (June 10, 2009)--Some of the top names in the IndyCar Series were on track Wednesday at Richmond International Raceway, turning laps during a day-long test session in preparation for the 2009 SunTrust Indy Challenge IndyCar Series race on Saturday, June 27 at America's Premier Short Track.
Team Penske teammates Helio Castroneves and Ryan Briscoe, along with Dan Wheldon, Raphael Matos and E.J. Viso all participated in the test session on the ¾-mile track--the shortest track the series visits. Both Castroneves (2005) and Wheldon (2004) are former winners of the SunTrust Indy Challenge.
"With the IndyCar Series as competitive as it is, I think it's very important to utilize these test days and get as much done as you possibly can," said Wheldon. "Richmond has always been an incredibly tough track to get around and you can certainly see by the races we've had here in the past. It's one of those race tracks where if you have a good race car, it can be incredibly rewarding. This is a fun track and I'm glad to be back here."
"I'm very happy to be back in Richmond," said Viso. "I believe it's one of the most difficult oval tracks in the series. It's such a small place it's basically like being on a bicycle in a bath. That's my description of this place. There's no place for mistakes."
"It's definitely the track that feels the fastest on the circuit. We pull the highest number of lateral g's through the turns on this track. It really is very exciting out there, even on a test day like this. The night racing certainly adds a little something extra to the atmosphere and to the racing. I remember back in 2005. It was one of the most exciting races I've ever experienced--a lot of two-wide action all the way around the track."
"No question that Richmond is a very challenging place. We're talking about under 17 seconds lap time. Even though we don't achieve speeds like 220 miles per hour, inside the cockpit it feels like we are extremely fast because sometimes we don't even have time to look at the lap time we're turning."
Today's test session took place under hot, humid and sunny conditions, but when these same drivers--along with fellow stars Danica Patrick, Scott Dixon, Tony Kanaan and the rest of the IndyCar Series--return to Richmond International Raceway in just a couple weeks, they'll battle for the SunTrust Indy Challenge title "under the lights" on Saturday night, June 27.
Tickets for the SunTrust Indy Challenge are $35 (reserved) and $30 (general admission) and can be purchased by visiting www.rir.com or calling 866-455-RACE (7223). Saturday's ticket includes a seat for the James River Grounds 100 USAC Silver Crown Series race, preceding the SunTrust Indy Challenge. Children 12 and under are admitted free with a ticketed adult in general admission sections.
The weekend begins on Friday, June 26, with NBC12 Pole Qualifying for the SunTrust Indy Challenge and the USAC Sprint Car Series Rotondo Weirich Showdown race "under the lights." Tickets are $15 and include an autograph session with all of the IndyCar Series drivers. Children 12 and under are admitted free with a ticketed adult. For tickets and information, log on to www.rir.com or call 866-455-RACE (7223).