IRL: Indy Racing League News and Notes 2005-01-24

Indy Racing League News and Notes -- Jan. 24, 2005 Today's IRL headlines 1. Newcomers Make Grand Opening At Open Test 2. Panther Racing To Compete In Copper World Classic 1. Newcomers Make Grand Opening At Open Test: Rookies Ryan Briscoe and...

Indy Racing League News and Notes -- Jan. 24, 2005

Today's IRL headlines
1. Newcomers Make Grand Opening At Open Test
2. Panther Racing To Compete In Copper World Classic

1. Newcomers Make Grand Opening At Open Test: Rookies Ryan Briscoe and Danica Patrick made a big splash in their first Open Test as IRL IndyCar® Series drivers.

Briscoe, who will drive a Toyota-powered Panoz as part of Chip Ganassi Racing's three-car team, posted the top time on the opening day of road course testing at Homestead-Miami Speedway. He also turned the most laps of any driver during the oval portion of the test, recording 208 laps on the 1.5-mile oval.

"I've had a great test here," Briscoe said. "I seem to be adapting quite well to the car on the road course. It's not so difficult to adapt to. It's a good car to drive. It's really responsive to setup changes. We've been able to get through our entire program and make some good improvements. That's been really good."

Patrick, who will be the third female driver to compete in the IndyCar Series, recorded the fifth-fastest lap during the oval portion of the test in her Honda-powered Panoz. She recorded more than 200 miles of testing on both the road course and oval at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

"We have a fast car, but I am inexperienced at running in the pack and with pit stops," she said. "That will holds us back right now. The day went really well for our crew. I wanted to get up to speed and learn the different grooves. I know I have a lot to learn with the Indy car but the Rahal Letterman team is a great organization and work well together."

Patrick and Briscoe will compete with fellow rookies Tomas Enge and Paul Dana for the 2005 Bombardier Rookie of the Year Award. Patrick said her performance in the preseason tests will help her confidence for her first season.

"Overall, it was a very good start for me with the team," she said. "I have been with the operation for several years, and that helps me in knowing the crews. Now, we will go back to the shop and look over all of the data. Then we'll get ready for the test in Phoenix. I hope the next test goes as well as today."

2. Panther Racing To Compete In Copper World Classic: Panther Racing team members will be in Phoenix this week, but not because they're heading to the IndyCar Series' Phoenix Open Test.

Instead, Panther's USAC Weld Racing Silver Crown team will field a car for Tyler Walker in the Copper World Classic at Phoenix International Raceway on Jan. 29-30.

"I'm really excited to work with Panther Racing and Davey Jones," Walker said. "They are such an amazing organization, and I'm thrilled to be a part of that."

Walker, a 23-year-old from Los Angeles, Calif., recently signed with Akins Motorsports for the 2005 NASCAR Busch Series. Walker will share duties with NASCAR Nextel Cup standout Kasey Kahne, who Walker drove for in selected USAC events.

"I'm really, really excited about running Tyler this weekend," said chief mechanic Davey Jones, who also serves as a mechanic on the No. 2 Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone entry driven by Tomas Enge in the IndyCar Series. "He and I go way back, and Tyler's as good as any driver out there in a Silver Crown car. The first time he ran with me in a Sprint Car was back in the late 1990s at Eldora and we finished fourth, so we know we're working with a helluva driver. We're both looking forward to some good things at Phoenix this weekend."

***

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 Tomas Enge , Kasey Kahne , Ryan Briscoe , Davy Jones , Paul Dana , Chip Ganassi , Tyler Walker , Danica Patrick
Teams Panther Racing , Chip Ganassi Racing