CHAMPCAR/CART: Phoenix tests 98-01-23

CART Drivers Test at Phoenix Bryan Herta turned the fastest lap among a group of FedEx Championship Series drivers participating in a Firestone tire test at Phoenix International Raceway. Herta (Shell Reynard Ford) averaged 181 miles per...

CART Drivers Test at Phoenix

Bryan Herta turned the fastest lap among a group of FedEx Championship Series drivers participating in a Firestone tire test at Phoenix International Raceway.

Herta (Shell Reynard Ford) averaged 181 miles per hour at Phoenix, where he was joined by Scott Pruett (Patrick Racing Reynard Ford) and Richie Hearn (Ralphs-Food 4 Less/Budweiser Swift Ford). As of early Wednesday, Pruett had completed over 500 miles during the two-day test, and had joined Herta over the 180 mph mark. Hearn was in the high 170mph range after a shakedown day Tuesday.

All three drivers and FedEx Championship Series rivals will have a further opportunity to test their 1998 race packages at the third annual Championship Auto Racing Teams Spring Training, Feb. 3-5 on the reconfigured oval at the Miami-Dade Homestead Motorsports Complex in Homestead, Fla.

Tuesday's performance added to Herta's enthusiasm about the coming campaign.

"Reynard made some very subtle changes to the '98 car," he said Wednesday morning. "They work well. The Firestone tires are great. They will be a real advantage for us this season. We ran some laps in the low 180's (mph) yesterday and the car was very comfortable. I'm really looking forward to starting the season."

Hearn, likewise, is optimistic as the new season approaches. "The new Swift chassis is very stable," he said. "I like the car a lot. We've still got a lot of work in from of us, but we're on the right path. Yesterday, we did a shakedown, and hopefully, we'll get in some good test mileage today."

"I'm actually more nervous about the Denver Broncos playing in the Super Bowl than I am about driving season," added Hearn, a devoted Broncos fan. "It doesn't matter how they win or by how much they win, I just want them to win."

Prior to this week's test at Phoenix, Pruett and Patrick Racing teammate Adrian Fernandez (Tecate/Quaker State Reynard Ford) completed two days of testing at Sebring International Raceway last Wednesday and Thursday. Pruett was testing tires for Firestone, while Fernandez continued to acquaint himself with Patrick Racing's new Reynard 98I chassis.

"Firestone continues to improve the tires during the preseason testing," Pruett said of the Sebring test. "I was again able to set a track record which clearly shows that Firestone is continually making improvements to the tires. It also shows Firestone's commitment to the FedEx Championship Series and to Patrick Racing."

"This was a good test," commented Fernandez. "We completed the whole list of things we wanted to do with the chassis and made some good progress. On the same tires, Scott's and my times were very close and we were faster than anyone else."

Source: CART Online

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Adrian Fernandez , Bryan Herta , Scott Pruett