IRL: Homestead road course open test day two report

Franchitti Leads Final Day of Road Course Testing HOMESTEAD, Fla.. -- Thursday, Jan 20, 2005 -- Dario Franchitti led a dominating performance by Andretti Green Racing as IRL IndyCar Series teams wrapped up two days of road course testing at ...

Franchitti Leads Final Day of Road Course Testing

HOMESTEAD, Fla.. -- Thursday, Jan 20, 2005 -- Dario Franchitti led a dominating performance by Andretti Green Racing as IRL IndyCar Series teams wrapped up two days of road course testing at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

Franchitti recorded a lap of 1 minute, 10.1748 seconds, 113.374 mph, on the 2.21-mile road course in his No. 27 ArcaEx Honda-powered Dallara, slightly faster than teammate Dan Wheldon (1:10.4223, 112.976 mph). Marlboro Team Penske's Helio Castroneves was third (1:10.4905, 112.866 mph).

Two other AGR drivers rouded out the top five. Reigning IndyCar Series champion Tony Kanaan (1:10.5745, 112.732 mph) and Bryan Herta (1:10.5829, 112.719) were fourth and fifth respectively. Teams switch to the variably banked 1.5-mile oval on Jan. 22.

POST-PRACTICE QUOTES: (Note: Dario Franchitti quotes moved in a separate e-mail)

DAN WHELDON (No. 26 Klein Tools/Jim Beam Dallara/Honda/Firestone): "The Klein Tools/Jim Beam crew has done a very good job testing on the road course. Everybody has chipped in and we had a really productive first IndyCar Series test. It's really good to be part of the league that is now running on road courses. I think they're great fun."

HELIO CASTRONEVES (No. 3 Marlboro Team Penske Dallara/Toyota/Firestone): "We made a lot improvements from yesterday, so it was a good day. I can sum up the road course test like this. It's not the best day, but it's not the worst day. We're definitely heading in the right direction."

BRYAN HERTA (No. 7 XM Satellite Radio Dallara/Honda/Firestone): "The XM Satellite Radio team had a pretty productive day. We definitely learned some things at this test that we will be able to make some improvements on for when we go to St. Petersburg. It felt great to be on a road course again. I was probably looking forward to this as much as anyone in the series."

PATRICK CARPENTIER (No. 83 Red Bull Cheever Racing Dallara/Toyota/Firestone): "Although we wanted to get farther ahead today we made some great strides. Later in the day, the track kept getting hotter and greasier, leaving us with some uncertainty about how far we could push the car. Overall this test was really great. I am getting used the car and each test is getting better and better. Red Bull Cheever Racing plans on giving everyone a great run towards the winner's circle." (About completing first IRL Open Test): "I really enjoyed racing with the other drivers. They were well behaved on the track today. But I will like it even better when I beat them."

TOMAS ENGE (No. 2 Panther Racing Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone): "We are pretty happy with the way the day went, and 90 percent of our job went according to the plan. It's a big shame that I couldn't have done more testing before Christmas while our competitors were testing at that time, but on the other hand we have only three road course races, so my main focus has to be on ovals anyway. I'm looking forward to Saturday's first outing on the oval."

RYAN BRISCOE (No. 33 Chip Ganassi Racing Panoz/Toyota/Firestone): "I'm having a great time. It's great working with the team. It's our first test of the year, and we've been changing the car a lot over the last couple of days. It's been great getting track time in an IndyCar (Series) car." (About driving an IndyCar Series car): "These cars are good. They're a good car to drive. For a car that's never raced on a road course, I'm surprised at how good it is. There is a really good balance around the track with these cars."

KOSUKE MATSUURA (No. 55 Panasonic/Autobacs/ARTA Panoz/Honda/Firestone): "This was our first road course test, and this was my first time to drive since last year. I think the team did a great job over these two days. We added Simon Hodgson as team manager, and he is working out very well and I feel very good with him. The first day, we had a few problems to fix, but the second day we did a lot of runs and I was seventh in the afternoon session. I am not worried about the time right now. The car feels much better than yesterday and we have a lot of data. This will be helpful for the first race, and I have a lot of confidence to race on the road courses."

TONY KANAAN (No. 11 Team 7-Eleven Dallara/Honda/Firestone): "This was a very positive test for us; Team 7-Eleven accomplished a lot of things. We made big changes; changes that take a long time to make happen, but we ended up making the right decisions. I think all four Andretti Green Racing cars were in the top six today and that's a very good accomplishment. So, I'm very happy. We don't race on the road course at Homestead, but we are here to learn. It was just a great job from all the guys at Team 7-Eleven and they have been simply unbelievable. It's a very good start to the season."

SATURDAY'S SCHEDULE (all times local):
9 a.m. to noon: IndyCar Series Practice
Noon to 1 p.m.: Lunch break
1 p.m. to 4 p.m.: IndyCar Series Practice

The IRL IndyCar Series opens its 10th season of competition with the Toyota Indy 300 at 2 p.m. (EST) on March 6, 2005 at Homestead-Miami Speedway. The race will be televised live on ESPN and the IMS Radio Network. The 2005 Menards Infiniti Pro Series season also opens on March 6 at Homestead-Miami Speedway. The race will be televised by ESPN2 at 4 p.m. (EST) on March 17.

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Helio Castroneves , Dario Franchitti , Tony Kanaan , Bryan Herta , Dan Wheldon , Chip Ganassi , Jim Beam
Teams Panther Racing , Team Penske , Chip Ganassi Racing