IPS: IRL: Test in the West preview

IndyCar Series: Eighth annual Test in the West Infiniti Pro Series: Inaugural Test in the West SCHEDULE (all times local): Monday, Feb. 3 (California Speedway) 9-11:30 a.m. Infiniti Pro Series testing 1:30-4:30 p.m. Infiniti Pro Series ...

IndyCar Series: Eighth annual Test in the West
Infiniti Pro Series: Inaugural Test in the West

SCHEDULE (all times local):
Monday, Feb. 3 (California Speedway)
9-11:30 a.m. Infiniti Pro Series testing
1:30-4:30 p.m. Infiniti Pro Series testing

Tuesday, Feb. 4 (California Speedway)
9 a.m.-noon IndyCar Series testing
1-4:30 p.m. IndyCar Series testing
4:30 p.m. Autograph session

Thursday, Feb. 6 (Phoenix International Raceway)
9 a.m.-noon Infiniti Pro Series testing
1-4:30 p.m. Infiniti Pro Series testing

Friday, Feb. 7 (Phoenix International Raceway)
9 a.m.-noon IndyCar Series testing
1-4:30 p.m. IndyCar Series testing

Saturday, Feb. 8 (Phoenix International Raceway)
9-11:30 a.m. IndyCar Series testing
Noon-12:30 p.m. Autograph session
1-4 p.m. IndyCar Series testing

THE TRACKS:
California Speedway
2-mile D-shaped asphalt oval; 75 feet wide
Front straightaway: 3,100 feet
Back straightaway: 2,500 feet
Banking: Frontstraight: 11 degrees; Backstraight: 3 degrees; Turns: 14 degrees
-- California Speedway opened in 1997 and has a seating capacity of 92,109. One of the most modern tracks in the country, the Speedway has on-site Metrolink train service during race weekends. The facility also includes 28 skyboxes and 71 pit lane deluxe corporate suites. Along the main straightaway, there is a four-sided, 146-foot scoring pylon. Thirteen message boards are also located throughout the grounds. The track also includes a 1.3-mile infield road course. In addition to the IndyCar Series and Infiniti Pro Series, the speedway also plays host to NASCAR, CART and AMA events.

Phoenix International Raceway
1-mile paved oval; 56-71 feet wide
Front straightaway: 1,179 feet
Back straightaway: 1,551 feet
Banking: Turns 1-2, 11 degrees; Turn 3-4, 9 degrees
-- Phoenix International Raceway, opened in 1964, is owned and operated by International Speedway Corp. The facility features a unique "dogleg" bend on the backstraight. 76,812 permanent seats plus the hillside surround the oval that has been the site of 58 Indy-style races. In addition to the IndyCar Series and the Infiniti Pro Series, PIR plays host to events sanctioned by NASCAR, USAC and Grand American Sports Car Series.

TEST IN THE WEST NOTES:

IndyCar Series:

Five Indianapolis 500 champions are scheduled to participate in the Test in the West: Al Unser Jr. (1992, 1994), Buddy Lazier (1996), Eddie Cheever Jr. (1998), Kenny Brack (1999) and Helio Castroneves (2001, 2002).

Four IRL IndyCar Series champions are scheduled to participate in the Test in the West: Scott Sharp (1996 co-champion), Kenny Brack (1998), Buddy Lazier (2000) and Sam Hornish Jr. (2001, 2002). A.J. Foyt IV, the 2002 Infiniti Pro Series champion and grandson of four-time Indianapolis 500 winner A.J. Foyt, will also participate in the IndyCar Series test as he prepares for his first IndyCar Series season.

The 2003 Test in the West marks the eighth time the Indy Racing League has sanctioned an Open Test in February. Phoenix International Raceway has played host to all or a portion of the Test in the West since the first event in 1996. Las Vegas Motor Speedway was part of the 2000 Test in the West, and California Speedway was part of the test in 2002 and will be again in 2003.

Every IndyCar Series champion and all but one Indianapolis 500 winner since 1996 has participated in the Test in the West prior to winning the "500" or the championship later that year. Juan Pablo Montoya did not participate in the 2000 Test in the West but won the Indianapolis 500 that May.

Five IndyCar Series drivers who have won at Phoenix will participate at the PIR portion of the Test in the West: Michael Andretti (CART, 1986), Scott Sharp (1998), Buddy Lazier (2000), Sam Hornish Jr. (2001) and Helio Castroneves (2002). Hornish also won the inaugural IndyCar Series event at California Speedway in 2002, and he will participate in that portion of the test.

Infiniti Pro Series:

The 2003 Test in the West marks the first time that the Infiniti Pro Series will be part of the annual Open Test.

Phoenix International Raceway and California Speedway will play host to Infiniti Pro Series events for the first time in 2003.

Aaron Fike and Cory Witherill, who won Infiniti Pro Series races at Chicagoland Speedway and Nashville Superspeedway, respectively, are scheduled to participate in the "Test in the West." Arie Luyendyk Jr., who finished second in the 2002 championship, and Ed Carpenter, who finished third, are scheduled to participate.

SERIES NOTES:

IndyCar Series:

Sam Hornish Jr. defeated Helio Castroneves, 531-511, in the 2002 points standings to claim his second consecutive IndyCar Series championship and become the first driver to win two IndyCar Series titles. In 2003, Hornish will look to become only the second driver in history to win three Indy-style championships in a row. Ted Horn won three consecutive titles from 1946-48.

Kenny Brack, who won the 1998 IndyCar Series title and the 1999 Indianapolis 500, returns to the IndyCar Series full time for the first time since 1999. He will drive the No. 15 Miller/Pioneer Dallara/Honda/Firestone for Team Rahal in the team's first full season of IndyCar Series competition.

The average margin of victory for the 15 IndyCar Series events in 2002 (excluding Miami and Indianapolis, which finished under caution) was .8045 of a second. There were margins of victory of less than a second in eight races, including the closest finish in IndyCar Series history, which took place Sept. 8, 2002, at Chicagoland Speedway when Sam Hornish Jr. and Al Unser Jr. battled side by side for 21 laps with Hornish winning by just .0024 of a second.

Andretti Green Racing will compete exclusively in the IndyCar Series for the first time in 2003, fielding cars for Dario Franchitti, Tony Kanaan and co-owner Michael Andretti.

Infiniti Pro Series:

The second season of Infiniti Pro Series competition will consist of 12 races that will take place at the same track and on the same weekend as IRL IndyCar Series events except for the Indianapolis race, which is tentatively scheduled to take place May 24 at Indianapolis Raceway Park, the night before the 87th Indianapolis 500 on May 25 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

A.J. Foyt IV, the 2002 Infiniti Pro Series champion and grandson of four-time Indianapolis 500 winner A.J. Foyt, has moved to the IndyCar Series for 2003 (Ed Carpenter, who finished third in the 2002 points standings, has taken over Foyt's ride with A.J. Foyt Racing.

Arie Luyendyk Jr., who finished second in the 2002 point standings, has moved to Sinden Racing Service for 2003.

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About this article
Series IndyCar , Indy Lights
Drivers Juan Pablo Montoya