Champ Car Rookies Get First Taste of Oval Track Life MILWAUKEE (April 26, 2006) -- The diverse worldwide racing series that spawned the members of the 2006 Champ Car rookie class took them to some of the world's great tracks, but rarely ...
Champ Car Rookies Get First Taste of Oval Track Life
MILWAUKEE (April 26, 2006) -- The diverse worldwide racing series that spawned the members of the 2006 Champ Car rookie class took them to some of the world's great tracks, but rarely included racing on any ovals.
But in the Bridgestone Presents The Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford, drivers must master a number of different circuit types if they are to challenge for titles. This year's lineup includes one of the country's oldest and trickiest oval tracks in the Milwaukee Mile, where the Champ Cars will do battle on June 4, and today most of the rookie class got a chance to experience life in a circle for the first time.
"It was pretty impressive," said reigning Champ Car Atlantic titleholder Charles Zwolsman. "After today, I have a lot more respect for the guys that race on ovals, it's definitely not as easy at it looks. I took it easy at first to get used to the track and the more laps I put in, the more confident and comfortable I felt. We accomplished everything we wanted to do today and now I am ready for the real test in June. With more traffic on the track, it will be a whole new experience, but I am looking forward to it."
Mi-Jack/Conquest Racing's Zwolsman joined Team Australia rookie Will Power, CTE Racing -- HVM's newbie Dan Clarke and new Rocketsports signee Nicky Pastorelli in their first oval testing sessions, running on the mile oval on the grounds of Wisconsin State Fair Park.
"This was my first time on an oval so it definitely was a different feel." said Power. "We came here to learn how to do well on an oval. This morning was more of a test to get a feel for the track; I got a better grip on the speed and of how to drive smoothly on an oval course. After lunch I was able to push harder, and make changes to the car to make drive it more consistently. We ran on 2 sets of tires, so it wasn't a massive test, but enough to get a good start for the race in June. It was a very good worthwhile test, and now I know."
No official times were available from the test, but the day's mission was more about getting accustomed to life in circles than it was about topping time charts. Pastorelli, who tested two weeks ago with Rocketsports at Portland International Raceway, made his first oval runs as well, running more than 100 laps in his first outing.
"It was good that we had an opportunity to test here," Pastorelli said. "I think it went well. I was able to get an idea of what it feels like to run on an oval. The Rocketsports team did a nice job of helping me get comfortable and I think it will help me when we come back here in June."
The entire 18-car field will have a chance to test the venerable Mile on Friday, June 1, running the day prior to the opening of the Champ Car race weekend, which culminates with a 225-mile event on Sunday, June 4. The event can be seen live on CBS Sports beginning at 1 p.m. Eastern time.