IRL: CHAMPCAR/CART: Juan Montoya starts Indy preparations with Vegas test

LAS VEGAS, Thursday, March 29, 2000 - The road to Indianapolis went through Las Vegas Thursday for defending CART champion Juan Pablo Montoya, as he tested for the first time in an Indy Racing car. Montoya turned laps in his ...

LAS VEGAS, Thursday, March 29, 2000 - The road to Indianapolis went through Las Vegas Thursday for defending CART champion Juan Pablo Montoya, as he tested for the first time in an Indy Racing car. Montoya turned laps in his Target/Chip Ganassi Racing G Force/Oldsmobile/Firestone in windy conditions on the 1.5-mile oval at Las Vegas Motor Speedway as he prepares for his Indianapolis 500 debut. His teammate, four-time Indianapolis 500 starter Jimmy Vasser, turned his first laps in an Indy Racing Northern Light Series car Wednesday at Las Vegas. Ganassi Racing is the only full-time, CART-only team to have entered the "Greatest Spectacle in Racing" this year. The 84th Indianapolis 500 is May 28. "I think the race, running 500 miles, is going to be very interesting," Montoya said. "When we get there, I'm sure it's going to be a lot of fun." While Vasser found many similarities between the Indy Racing and CART cars during testing of his G Force on Wednesday, Montoya encountered more contrasts. The biggest change was the Oldsmobile engine, Montoya said. Indy Racing cars are powered by 3.5-liter normally aspirated engines, while smaller, turbocharged engines propel CART cars. "It's completely different from what I expected," Montoya said. "Running an aspirated engine makes a big difference. "They are just two different engines, you know. They are different from what we run. It's a completely different car, and there's no point of comparing one or the other." Montoya and Vasser plan to participate in the Indianapolis 500 Open Test April 7-11. The two-day test session at Las Vegas will help Ganassi Racing prepare for the Open Test and the race in May. "We'll make some distance runs there," Montoya said of the Open Test. "We won't do too much fine-tuning until qualifying. I will have my engineer there. "Right now, I'm working with Jimmy's engineer, and I've never worked with him before. So, that's a little strange."

-IRL/IMS-

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Jimmy Vasser , Chip Ganassi
Teams Chip Ganassi Racing , Chip Ganassi Racing