California Speedway test day one notes

JONATHAN BOMARITO SETS PACE IN FIRST DAY OF ATLANTIC OPEN TEST AT CALIFORNIA SPEEDWAY FONTANA, California (March 21, 2006) -- There were two common themes shared by all participants in the first of two open test days for the Yokohama Presents...


FONTANA, California (March 21, 2006) -- There were two common themes shared by all participants in the first of two open test days for the Yokohama Presents the Champ Car Atlantic Championship Powered by Mazda at California Speedway. The first was, "Wow, this is cold for California," and the second was "Wow, this new Atlantic car runs awesome."

Out of the 29 entries at the two-day test session, 24 drivers ran under cloudy skies and cold and windy conditions Tuesday at the 1.49-mile infield road circuit at California Speedway. But while the temperatures were in 50s, the spirits were bright and feedback was positive in the first test session for all 2006 Atlantic competitors with the new-generation Mazda-Cosworth/Swift 016.a/Yokohama cars. Teams turned mainly trouble-free laps throughout the course of the day and times began to drop as the teams started to figure out the setups on their new machines, which were delivered on March 8.

Jonathan Bomarito of PR1 Motorsports got off to a quick start in the new Atlantic, topping both the morning and afternoon sessions on the timing charts. Bomarito clocked a top lap of 58.666 (91.740 mph) late in the afternoon to lead all series testers.

"First off all I have to thank everyone at PR1 for their hard work," said Bomarito, a native of Monterey, California who earned one podium result among seven Atlantic starts in 2004. "(Team owner) Bobby Oergel and the whole team worked so hard over the past two weeks to put this car together and they did a fantastic job. Being quickest on the first test day doesn't really mean a whole lot in the big picture, but it means a lot mentally for the team and our confidence and it shows what a great job they've done. I hope this is the beginning of a big year for us."

Rookie Simon Pagenaud of Team Australia emerged with the second-fastest lap of the day at 58.694 (91.696 mph). The French racer, who excelled in European competition before joining the Atlantic Championship earlier this month, was impressed with the new car. "I was really surprised how good the car was right away," said the native of Montmorillon, France. "The power was good and the braking was incredible. I think the team did a fantastic job getting it ready for the test."

Canadian first-year driver James Hinchcliffe completed the top-three test times of the day with a lap of 58.893 (91.386 mph) as 12 cars were separated by less than a second in the deep and talented Atlantic field. "All in all it was a very good day," said Hinchcliffe, one four Forsythe Championship Racing drivers that performed well on the first day with the new Atlantic. "Between all four of us we ran a lot of laps with virtually no problems. Thanks to everyone at Forsythe who made us all look good out there. These cars are ready to go racing right now."

With the 2006 season opener at the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach just over two weeks away (April 7-9), Champ Car Atlantic teams want to take advantage of every single lap to get a feel for their new cars. Another full day of testing is scheduled for Wednesday on the 17-turn course as warmer temperatures are expected to greet competitors on Wednesday.

<pre> Combined lap times from Tuesday's testing at California Speedway

Jonathan Bomarito       PR1 Motorsports                 58.666 sec      91.740 mph
Simon Pagenaud          Team Australia                  58.694 sec      91.696 mph
James Hinchcliffe       Forsythe Championship Racing    58.893 sec      91.386 mph
Andreas Wirth           Forsythe Championship Racing    58.985 sec      91.244 mph
Graham Rahal            Mi-Jack Conquest Racing         59.037 sec      91.163 mph
Alex Barron             Polestar Racing Group           59.139 sec      91.006 mph
Richard Philippe        Forsythe Championship Racing    59.252 sec      90.832 mph
Raphael Matos           Sierra Sierra Enterprises       59.324 sec      90.722 mph
David Martinez          US RaceTronics                  59.340 sec      90.698 mph
Leonardo Maia           Forsythe Championship Racing    59.481 sec      90.483 mph
Charles Hall            Transnet Racing                 59.515 sec      90.431 mph
Norbert Siedler         Brooks Associates Racing        59.597 sec      90.307 mph
Stephen Simpson         Gelles Racing                   59.744 sec      90.084 mph
Robbie Pecorari         Gelles Racing                   59.805 sec      89.992 mph
Tim Bridgman            Jensen Motorsport               59.846 sec      89.931 mph
Danilo Dirani           Condor Motorsports              59.854 sec      89.919 mph
Mike Forest             PR1 Motorsports                 59.856 sec      89.916 mph
Joe D'Agostino          Newman/Wachs Racing             59.964 sec      89.754 mph
Luis Schiavo            Brooks Associates Racing        1:00.079 sec    89.582 mph
Alan Sciuto             Polestar Racing Group           1:00.702 sec    88.663 mph
Nick Jones              Jensen Motorsport               1:01.991 sec    86.819 mph
Tonis Kasemets          Transnet Racing                 1:03.284 sec    85.045 mph
Dan Selznick            The Room Store                  1:03.757 sec    84.414 mph
Justin Sofio            Mathiasen Motorsports           1:05.557 sec    82.096 mph

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Series Atlantic
Drivers Graham Rahal , Alex Barron , Leonardo Maia , Charles Hall , David Martinez , Jonathan Bomarito , Luis Schiavo , Tonis Kasemets , Robbie Pecorari , Norbert Siedler , Daniel Selznick , Danilo Dirani , Justin Sofio , Stephen Simpson , Nick Jones , Andreas Wirth , Richard Philippe , Simon Pagenaud , Alan Sciuto , James Hinchcliffe , Joe D'Agostino , Mike Forest
Teams Conquest Racing