IRL: 2004 Open testing summary

IRL open testing by the numbers INDIANAPOLIS, Friday, Feb. 13, 2004 -- It's hard to judge results at test sessions, as teams and drivers concentrate on different aspects of performance besides pure speed. Some teams work on aerodynamics. Some...

IRL open testing by the numbers

INDIANAPOLIS, Friday, Feb. 13, 2004 -- It's hard to judge results at test sessions, as teams and drivers concentrate on different aspects of performance besides pure speed.

Some teams work on aerodynamics. Some focus on race setups and make long runs using full fuel tanks, which in turn, slow the car.

But looking at statistics, defending IndyCar® Series champion Scott Dixon was the top overall driver during four days of Open Testing, Jan. 28-29 at the 1.5-mile Homestead-Miami Speedway and Feb. 11-12 at the 1-mile Phoenix International Raceway.

Rankings were determined by adding each driver's position on the final speed chart each day. The driver with the lowest score prevails.

Six drivers, led by Marlboro Team Penske's Helio Castroneves, ranked in the top-10 on each day of testing, but that list did not include Dixon, who was 11th on the opening day of testing at Homestead.

Andretti Green Racing was the most consistent team in the preseason, with Tony Kanaan, Dan Wheldon, Dario Franchitti and Bryan Herta ranking third, fourth, seventh and eighth, respectively, in their Dallara/Honda/Firestone entries.

The top 10: <pre> Miami Miami Phoenix Phoenix Driver 1/28 1/29 2/11 2/12 Overall 1. Scott Dixon 11 4 2 1 18 2. Helio Castroneves 7 8 1 3 19 3. Tony Kanaan 4 6 4 6 20 4. Dan Wheldon 1 10 6 4 21 5. Alex Barron 2 1 9 10 22 6. Sam Hornish Jr. 9 7 5 2 23 7. Dario Franchitti 8 3 3 11 25 8. Tomas Scheckter 5 9 8 7 29 (tie) Bryan Herta 12 2 10 5 29 10. Tora Takagi 6 5 14 18 43

</pre> Miles and miles: IndyCar Series drivers turned a combined 10,100 laps during the four days of preseason Open Testing, 5,062 at Homestead-Miami Speedway and 5,038 at Phoenix. That equals 12,631 miles, approximately the same distance as flying three roundtrip flights from Homestead-Miami Speedway to Phoenix International Raceway.

Menards Infiniti Pro Series drivers turned a combined 1,335 laps during two days of testing, 240 at the rain-shrotened test at Homestead and 1,095 at Phoenix. That equals 1,455 miles.

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Happy Birthday: IndyCar Series rookie Kosuke Matsuura helped fellow Japanese driver Tora Takagi celebrate his 30th birthday on Feb. 12 by bringing him a cake for Japanese television. The happy event, however, deteriorated into a food fight as both drivers threw pieces of cake at each other.

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Where's My Car?: IndyCar Series driver Scott Sharp had an unexpected visitor at Phoenix International Raceway on Feb. 12.

A Phoenix police officer was in the paddock during the lunch break to return luggage and other items from Sharp's rental car, which was stolen from a hotel earlier that day.

"I was already checked out and I stopped at the front desk to leave a note for a friend, and someone stole the car," Sharp told reporters in Phoenix. "I was only gone three minutes."

Fortunately, for Sharp, the car was found. Sharp said the only missing items were headphones, a radar detector and a heart-rate monitor watch.

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In the swim: This week's Sports Illustrated contains a special treat. The 40th annual swimsuit issue includes an IRL IndyCar® Series schedule advertisement featuring two-time Indianapolis 500 winner Helio Castroneves with the tagline "200+ plus mph topless entertainment."

Veronica Varekova, 26, a model from the Czech Republic, is on the cover of the issue, which hit newsstands Feb. 11.

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IRL meets NBA: A.J. Foyt IV's No. 14 Conseco/A.J. Foyt Racing show car will be on display for "Indy Racing League Night" during the Indiana Pacers/New Orleans Hornets NBA game Feb. 17, at Conseco Fieldhouse in Indianapolis. Foyt IV will appear and sign autographs from 6-6:45 p.m. (EST). Tip-off is at 7 p.m. (EST). The first 10,000 fans attending the game will receive IRL schedule magnets.

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Tomas Scheckter , Scott Sharp , Helio Castroneves , A.J. Foyt IV , Dario Franchitti , Scott Dixon , Tony Kanaan , Tora Takagi , Bryan Herta , Alex Barron , Dan Wheldon , Kosuke Matsuura , A.J. Foyt , Sam Hornish Jr.
Teams Team Penske