HOWARD QUICKEST ON FINAL DAY OF PRESEASON TESTING
HOMESTEAD, Fla., Monday, March 6, 2006 -- The Indy Racing League concluded its only pre-season Open Test March 6 with 17 Indy Pro Series drivers turning 1,966 laps on the 1.5-mile, variably banked oval at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
Teams from the IndyCar® Series and Indy Pro Series tested at the facility March 2-6 on the oval and the 2.21-mile road course in preparation for the season's first races at the track on March 26.
Rookie Jay Howard, driving the No. 7 Sam Schmidt Motorsports entry, topped the time chart with a quick lap of 28.4738 seconds, 187.752 mph. Andretti Green Racing teammates Jaime Camara and Jonathan Klein were second and fifth quick. Camara was just five-hundredths of a second behind Howard.
Wade Cunningham, the Indy Pro Series defending champion, turned the third-quickest lap of the day in the No. 1 Brian Stewart Racing car. Marty Roth was fourth quick.
JAY HOWARD (No. 7 Sam Schmidt Motorsports, quickest time): "It was pretty good, can't complain. The track's changed a little bit throughout the day, which was quite a surprise in my rear window. After lunch the car was really, really good. Just after lunch I had taken off quite a bit of understeer. The boys made some changes, we put some tires on and went quicker again. Pretty good day. We were on it right out of the box. I'm real happy, and they're real happy, so that's the main thing. It's nice to end the day just like we did. To come here with all the other cars with experience, for them to come in and look at us and use us as their marker, that's a good start to the year."
JAIME CAMARA (No. 11 Andretti Green Racing, 2nd quickest): "We tried a lot of setups today for the race and for qualifying, and most of them worked. I think we have to make little changes for the race year at the end of the month, but it was really positive. I think it could be better, but during the day we had some problems that kept us from being faster, but it's OK. I'm going to do my best to be on the front at qualifying at every race."
WADE CUNNINGHAM (No. 1 Brian Stewart Racing, 3rd quickest): "It wasn't too bad. We had a list of things to get through, and we did most of them. We didn't want to be as far off the pace as we were. The two Schmidt/Andretti Green cars were in front of us today, and we couldn't really bridge that gap. We'll have to look at what we learned today and apply it to the race in a few weeks."
MARTY ROTH (No. 4 Roth Racing, 4th quickest): "We accomplished a lot, and I can't wait to get to the race at the end of March. It's one thing to be out here testing, but it will be another thing when everybody is out here racing."
JONATHAN KLEIN (No. 27 Andretti Green Racing, fifth quickest): "It's a good way to start off the season. Driving with most of the rest of the field here, it's good that we're top five. The road course was good. We kept at it and we found speed at the end of the day. Today, we struggled a bit more. My teammates were a bit faster than me. That's why it's a test day. We're just here to learn. It's not a race weekend, so we're not too worried about it. We'll take what we learn here today and apply it to the Klein Tools/Turn Key Forging and Design car for the race weekend. Everything should work out."