IRL: Giaffone passes rookie test

MIAMI, Saturday, Jan. 20, 2001 - With gusty winds and threatening skies adding to his pressure, Felipe Giaffone of Brazil passed his Indy Racing rookie test Jan. 20 at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Giaffone is now cleared to race for...

MIAMI, Saturday, Jan. 20, 2001 - With gusty winds and threatening skies adding to his pressure, Felipe Giaffone of Brazil passed his Indy Racing rookie test Jan. 20 at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

Giaffone is now cleared to race for Treadway-Hubbard Racing in the full 2001 Indy Racing Northern Light Series schedule with major sponsorship from Hollywood brand cigarettes.

Indy Racing League Vice President of Operations Brian Barnhart and Director of Operations John Lewis supervised the test. Fellow Treadway-Hubbard driver and Indy Racing veteran Davey Hamilton also observed.

Giaffone ran more than 100 miles before rain ended the test around 1 p.m. (EST). Barnhart was impressed.

"Felipe was all business," said Barnhart. "He knew what he had to do. It was obvious right away that he was comfortable in the car. Though rain shortened his test, Felipe impressed us all."

Giaffone, 26, from Sao Paulo, Brazil, has competed in the Dayton Indy Lights series the past three seasons, finishing in the top six in points each season. He was excellent on ovals, winning from the pole at Michigan Speedway and capturing the pole at California Speedway in 2000. Giaffone recorded four additional top-three finishes and nine top-10 finishes in 12 Indy Lights series races in 2000.

"He will be an asset to the series," said Barnhart. Giaffone drove the 2000 G Force/Oldsmobile/Firestone car that Hamilton tested Jan. 19. The car is the first G Force to be equipped with the new 2001 update kit.

"With the conditions we had here and knowing that he was being tested, Felipe proved he is a driver," said Lewis. "He ran a good, consistent line and was smooth the entire session." Giaffone is the second member of his extended family to compete in Indy Racing. His cousin Affonso made eight Indy Racing League starts in the 1996-97 season. The Infiniti Grand Prix of Miami, the debut Indy Racing Northern Light Series event in South Florida, is scheduled for April 8 at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

-IRNLS/IMS-

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Felipe Giaffone , Davey Hamilton , John Lewis , Brian Barnhart