IRL: Hamilton and Giaffone test 2001 chassis update

David Reininger - Motorsport.com Treadway-Hubbard Racing tested at the Homestead Speedway near Miami, FL last week with drivers Davey Hamilton and Felipe Giaffone . The five day test allowed Hamilton his first chance to drive a 2000 car ...

David Reininger - Motorsport.com

Treadway-Hubbard Racing tested at the Homestead Speedway near Miami, FL last week with drivers Davey Hamilton and Felipe Giaffone . The five day test allowed Hamilton his first chance to drive a 2000 car equipped with the 2001 update kit.

"They did very, very little," said Hamilton, regarding changes to the 2000 car. "The top of the sidepod, from the driver's cockpit forward, is extended probably eight to ten inches. And then there's one small change on the underwing. Visually there's not a lot of difference."

"As for driving, without doing a back-to-back with a 2000 and a 2001 update kit, it was very difficult to tell any difference. I don't think it's going to be a major speed difference or a car characteristic difference."

Hamilton ran 420 miles during the test while his teammate, Felipe Giaffone, logged 300 miles. Giaffone passed his IRL rookie exam during his first day in the car.

"For me, it was great," said Giaffone. "It was my first time that I drove those cars. It wasn't a new track for me, I was there in the Indy Lights series before. I really like the cars. We'll see, I have two days in the car so far. On the 7th or 8th, I'll be at the open test at Phoenix."

"I'm happy to say we had no mechanical problems or no problems due to the new update kit," Hamilton reported.

Although Giaffone had raced at Homestead before, it was Hamilton's first time at the south Florida track.

"The track is quite a bit different," said Hamilton. "It's a mile and a half, very flat race track, something that's new for the Indy Racing Northern Light Series cars. It's going to be interesting when it comes race time."

"In the other forms of cars, there's a lot of follow the leader, but there's a chance that with the downforce program and package that we have, we'll be able to do a lot more passing. We should put on great race down there. But it's going to be different for all the drivers and it's going to be different for all the fans watching us on a track, where we're going 200 mph on a track that's so flat."

Hamilton starts his sixth season of Indy Racing Northern Light competition at the Pennzoil Copper Classic at Phoenix International Raceway in March. He's the only driver to have competed in every Indy Racing League event, a streak that now stands at 43 races.

"I've been fortunate enough to run at every race in the Northern Light Series and I hope to continue that on for a long, long time."

"I worked hard at making sure I made all the races. But I want to win some races. I've been second too many times. I've been second in the championship twice. I'd rather win races and win championships than keep the streak alive. I feel very confident that I can do both with this Treadway Hubbard team."

Hamilton, who cut his teeth driving sprints and super modifieds on short tracks around the country, is no stranger to the Copper Classic.

"The Copper Classic has been my stepping stone into Indy Cars," Hamilton said. "It's the biggest race for short track race cars, the midgets, the super modifieds and the Silver Crown cars. That was where all my exposure came from, winning the race four times and sitting on the pole seven times. It's just a fantastic weekend."

"Joining up with Indy cars is really a neat concept. I think all the fans and all the team owners from Indy cars and all the drivers can enjoy that weekend just because you see such a variety of race cars."

In the past, Hamilton has competed in all four divisions at the Copper Classic. While he won't run in all four divisions this year, he'll still plans to stay very busy. "I plan on running a midget and super modified on Saturday. I don't see that conflicting with Indy cars too much. I do have a Silver Crown ride there as well. The (Silver Crown) race is actually right before the Indy car race so I doubt I would gamble and run that race right before an Indy race. So I'll probably run three out of the four classes. I have to really focus on the Indy car deal."

The Pennzoil Copper World Indy 200 will be held March 16-18 at the Phoenix International Raceway. The Indy Racing Northern Light Series will take to the track with the USAC Silver Bullet Series, MCI WorldCom Midgets and the SRL Super Modifieds. The SCRA Sprint cars will compete at Manzanita Speedway the same weekend with races on Friday and Saturday night.

Also of interest to motorsports fans in the Phoenix area is the Automotive Motorsports Foundation's (AMF) temporary exhibit at the Arizona Historical Society Museum. The exhibit features one of Arie Luyendyk's Dominos Pizza Indy cars from 1990. The museum is located at 1300 N. College Ave in Tempe, Arizona.

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Felipe Giaffone , Davey Hamilton , Arie Luyendyk