IRL: Indy testing notes 2001-10-19

INDIANAPOLIS, Friday, Oct. 19, 2001 - Former Formula One driver Johnny Herbert continued to adapt to the oval version of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Friday, turning the fastest lap of the day at 222.366 mph in the No. 35 Heritage ...

INDIANAPOLIS, Friday, Oct. 19, 2001 - Former Formula One driver Johnny Herbert continued to adapt to the oval version of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Friday, turning the fastest lap of the day at 222.366 mph in the No. 35 Heritage Motorsports Firestone Menards G Force/Infiniti/Firestone. Herbert raced on the 2.606-mile road course at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway during the 2000 SAP United States Grand Prix. "It's just good being able to get on the Speedway like this, driving the right way around it for a start," said Herbert. "Secondly, getting the real feeling for what it's all about, what the 500 is all about and what the 500 is all about and Indianapolis Speedway. "Today we're just getting a bit more mileage but trying a few new things on the car for next year. We're just trying to loosen it a little bit, take the wickers off and get a bit more speed." 2001 Indianapolis 500 winner Helio Castroneves posted a speed of 220.883 in his No. 68 Penske Racing Dallara/Oldsmobile/Firestone. "Yesterday was a little windy," Castroneves said. "Today was a little bit better. We're still just making progress. We're making sure we keep up to date with any changes for next year. So far we're just doing aero tests. It's looking good, we are in good shape." Rookie Brandon Erwin turned laps early in the morning in the No. 99 Sam Schmidt Motorsports Racing Special and posted a top lap of 217.060 before engine problems ended his third day of testing for Sam Schmidt Motorsports. "Overall, it went perfect," said Erwin about the three-day test. "Sam (Schmidt) was very happy with me, and I gained a ton of confidence back." In three days of Firestone and private team testing, 11 drivers and 10 teams turned 1,280 laps at the Speedway - equivalent to 3,200 miles. Jaques Lazier posted the top speed at 225.006 mph in the No. 2 Johns Manville/Menards Dallara/Oldsmobile/Firestone on Wednesday. Lazier's older brother, 1996 Indianapolis 500 winner Buddy Lazier, turned the most laps of any driver during the test, circling the historic, 2.5-mile oval 231 times Wednesday and Thursday. The 86th Indianapolis 500 takes place at 11 a.m. (EST) May 26, 2002.

<pre> INDY RACING NORTHERN LIGHT SERIES TOP TESTING SPEEDS BY DRIVER, INDIANAPOLIS MOTOR SPEEDWAY, OCT. 18 PosCar Driver Car Name C/E/T Time Speed 1. 35 Johnny Herbert Heritage Motorsports Firestone Menards G/I/F 40.4738 222.366 2. 68 Helio Castroneves Penske Racing D/O/F 40.7456 220.883 3. 99 Brandon Erwin Sam Schmidt Motorsports Racing Special D/O/F 41.4632 217.060

</pre> HELIO CASTRONEVES: "Yesterday was a little windy. Today was a little bit better. We're still just making progress. We're making sure we keep up to date with any changes for next year. So far we're just doing aero tests. It's looking good, we are in good shape. It's very nice to return again. Every time I go out there and pass into the corners it's like, 'Wow.'"

About winning this year at Indy: "It's great, it's a great, great memory, but we have to turn the page and start working already because I'm pretty sure next year it's going to be even tougher."

JOHNNY HERBERT: "Today we just getting a bit more mileage but trying a few new things on the car for next year. We're just trying to loosen it a little bit, take the wickers off and get a bit more speed."

About the differences between Formula One circuits and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway's oval: "For us, we don't corner anywhere near this speed, so I think the speed is one thing. Turn 1, because you can't see it too well, is like going in a tunnel. So that's a little unnerving, especially to start with, but you get a bit used to it. Turns 2 and 4 are very similar, they're sort of the easiest of the four and probably (Turn) 1 is the most difficult. I think probably even (Turn) 3 is the second most difficult. It's just good being able to get on the Speedway like this, driving the right way around it for a start. Secondly, getting the real feeling for what it's all about, what the 500 is all about and Indianapolis Speedway. It's been very interesting, for one, but very enjoyable at the same time. I'm looking forward to getting it together for next year. It's one of the those things that when I was a kid I wanted to do Formula One, which I've done, I won three races in that. I wanted to do Le Mans, and I've won Le Mans. It's the 500. It's a different type of challenge. It's like nothing else I've done before, and because that challenge is there, I want to attack it, but I want to attack it in a way that I do a season of it, not just the 500 itself, do a season so, one I get the races before I get here, and, second, I get a series that the 500 is part of that series, and it's good. It's something completely different than I've ever done before and a big, big challenge. And that's what important as a driver, to have a challenge. And this, for sure, gives you a big challenge."

BRANDON ERWIN: "We went out with a setup that was a little more downforce to get me more acclimated to the track, and we went out and we weren't as fast, which didn't make sense since we were pulling a higher gear. We took downforce out of the car, which should have been getting us past 219. We just went out, 215, 216 and the motor just kept dropping off. We came in and they looked at everything, and everything looked OK, and then we went and started it up again, and it was pouring smoke out of it, so it was done."

About three-day test: "Overall, it went perfect. Sam (Schmidt) was very happy with me, and I gained a ton of confidence back. Here at Indy, the confidence level is a huge deal. I needed it. Everything that happened here when I left here, a lot of stones unturned and a lot of doubts in my head, but it definitely boosted my confidence. Even when I go back and race my sprint car this weekend, I think I'm going to have another level of confidence."

-IRNLS/IMS-

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Johnny Herbert , Buddy Lazier , Helio Castroneves , Jaques Lazier  , Brandon Erwin , Sam Schmidt
Teams Team Penske