CHAMPCAR/CART: New Target drivers test at Nazareth

Nazareth, Pa. -- Team Target's new drivers, Bruno Junqueira and Nicolas Minassian, were introduced to their first oval today at Nazareth Speedway. The test (delayed yesterday due to weather) began this morning under less than ideal...

Nazareth, Pa. -- Team Target's new drivers, Bruno Junqueira and Nicolas Minassian, were introduced to their first oval today at Nazareth Speedway. The test (delayed yesterday due to weather) began this morning under less than ideal weather conditions, with temperatures hovering around the low 40s and a brisk wind gusting up to 30 miles per hour. Despite the conditions, Junqueira and Minassian ran most of the day and turned a combined total of approximately 200 miles, sharing driving duties in one car. Weather is unpredictable in Nazareth in November, but a few certainties exist, according to Team Target owner Chip Ganassi. "Nazareth is a tough track no matter what the conditions are, but man, what a great place for these guys to learn -- and they're doing great so far," said Ganassi, who announced on Oct. 27 that Junqueira and Minassian would take over driving duties from 1996 CART champion Jimmy Vasser and 1999 CART champion/2000 Indy 500 winner Juan Montoya. The drivers progressed through stages to build up speed and get comfortable on the oval, ending the day with lap times in the mid-20s. Between runs, they spent time walking and driving the track with Team Target engineers, Bill Pappas and Julian Robertson, rather than using track maps. Junqueira, this year's FIA F3000 series champion, was pleased with his first oval outing. "Being on an oval was very different, but very good," Junqueria said. "It was exciting. I appreciate the feedback I get from the team. It is only going to help me learn." Minassian, runner up to his new teammate in the 2000 FIA F3000 series, also was upbeat following his first oval test. "Being out here today was a great start," Minassian said. "It's a different kind of track -- very challenging. I look forward to getting back out there and learning more." The team will continue their test tomorrow, weather permitting, running the same format with both drivers alternating seat time in one car.

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Jimmy Vasser , Bruno Junqueira , Nicolas Minassian , Chip Ganassi