Mix of "500" winners, rookies and favorites test at IMS INDIANAPOLIS, Monday, April 15, 2002 - Three former Indianapolis 500 champions turned laps along with 10 other Indy Racing drivers Monday at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway as preparations...
Mix of "500" winners, rookies and favorites test at IMS
INDIANAPOLIS, Monday, April 15, 2002 - Three former Indianapolis 500 champions turned laps along with 10 other Indy Racing drivers Monday at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway as preparations continued for the 86th Indianapolis 500.
No speeds were available.
Defending Indianapolis 500 champion Helio Castroneves, 1999 "500" winner Kenny Brack and two-time winner Al Unser Jr. all tested for the first time this spring at the Speedway.
"It's awesome to be back, with all the memories of last time," said Castroneves. "The new change that they did with the track, you can feel it. It's much faster and also smoother and for me, I love it. I think it's going to have more lines."
Brack, who tested for Target/Chip Ganassi Racing, turned his first laps at the Speedway in an open-wheel car since winning in 1999 for A.J. Foyt Racing.
"I've been back here sneaking and looking and being in the Paddock," said Brack. "I did the IROC race here last year, but it's great to be back in a open-wheel car for sure. It's going to be fun no matter what because this is the home of racing. This is the biggest race in the world. I live 15 minutes down the road here now, so it's easy to get here in the morning."
Kelley Racing tested teammates Scott Sharp, the 2001 Indianapolis 500 pole sitter, and Unser, who went to victory lane in 1992 and 1994. He did his first Indianapolis test for Kelley Racing Monday.
"It's the first time I've run since they shaved the track," said Unser. "It's very, very nice, very smooth. Really I felt pretty good. It's (race day) going to be real, real tight. That's the formula of the IRL and that's what it's meant to do.
2001 Indy Racing League Rookie of the Year Felipe Giaffone tested with Mo Nunn Racing along with Tony Kanaan, who will be his teammate in the race. Kanaan, who has one career CART victory, turned his first laps at the famous 2.5-mile oval.
"I did around 40 laps," said Kanaan. "It's amazing the first time here. It's almost a dream come true. They gave me a decent car to get out and feel the racetrack. I wasn't worried about the speed, I wasn't worried about going fast, I was just worried about learning the tough spots of the racetrack. This place you have to have a lot of respect. You can't just jump in the car and try to do a 227 or something like that."
The only incident of the day involved defending Indy Racing League champion Sam Hornish Jr., who was uninjured this morning when his No. 4 Pennzoil Panther Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone spun exiting Turn 2 and slid down to the inside apron of the track. The car made light contact with the inside retaining wall, causing minimal left-side damage.
"The back end got out from under me in (Turn) 2," said Hornish. "(It's a) tough track. We're going to come back in May and change some things around."
Jaques Lazier tested for Team Menard, while A.J. Foyt drivers Elieso Salazar and Airton Dare also turned laps. Castroneves' Marlboro Team Penske teammate Gil de Ferran and Target/Chip Ganassi drivers Jeff Ward and Bruno Junquira rounded out today's testing line-up.
The 13 drivers turned a total of 844 laps for 2,110 miles. Private testing is scheduled to continue Tuesday.