IRL: Kelley Racing Test in the West notes 2003-02-08

Kelley Racing completes Test in the West. PHOENIX, Arizona (February 8, 2003)--Kelley Racing completed the Indy Racing League's annual Test in the West Saturday afternoon at Phoenix International Raceway. The No. 8 and No. 31 teams combined for...

Kelley Racing completes Test in the West.

PHOENIX, Arizona (February 8, 2003)--Kelley Racing completed the Indy Racing League's annual Test in the West Saturday afternoon at Phoenix International Raceway. The No. 8 and No. 31 teams combined for a total of 447 miles on the one-mile oval. Driver Scott Sharp posted a best time of 20.6475 seconds/174.355 mph, which was eighth overall, and driver Al Unser Jr. posted a best time of 20.8857 seconds/172.367 mph good for 13th overall. Saturday's test concluded the weeklong Test in the West that began on Tuesday in Fontana, California and then continued in Phoenix on Friday and Saturday.

Vice president of racing operations, Steve Newey, conducted the test for Kelley Racing and was pleased with the overall progress of the Kelley Racing Dallara/Toyota/Firestone entries. "We have certainly learned a lot in the past week," said Newey. "We had a few problems that kept us in the garage at various times during the test, but when we got the cars on track I think both Al and Scott were comfortable with their set-up. Now we need to continue our development and find additional speed before we come back to race. But all in all, we ran quite a few miles and got some very relevant data on our new 2003 package and we're looking forward to getting the season started."

Driver of the No. 31 Corteco entry, Al Unser Jr., felt they accomplished quite a bit during the final testing phase in Phoenix. "It was a shame that it rained this morning (Saturday) because that slowed us down a bit in our test plan but I think we're still doing well with the car. We're certainly putting the Corteco car through its paces and the Toyota engine is running great and Firestone is doing a great job with the tires. I've been enjoying our testing and think we've gotten quite a bit of good information and now I'm looking forward to going racing." Unser Jr. turned a total of 242 laps at Phoenix and posted his best time of 20.8857 seconds/172.367 mph on Saturday.

Scott Sharp, driver of the No. 8 Delphi entry, was also pleased with their testing results. "This week has been very productive for the Delphi team. We are starting to get to know each other, which is big because there are a lot of new people on the team. We have a had a lot of miscellaneous problems that have kept us in the garage a little too much and that has made this test a bit of a challenge for the team. Although I'm pleased with our baseline set-up, we still need to find a little bit of speed and get a little bit happier with our car." Sharp turned his best lap of 20.6475 seconds/ 174.355 mph on Saturday afternoon and completed a total of 205 laps at Phoenix.

Driver Tony Kanaan, in a Dallara/Honda/Firestone entry, set the pace for the Phoenix portion of Test in the West with a fast time of 20.3639 seconds/ 176.783 mph while Scott Dixon was second fastest in a Panoz G-Force/Toyota/Firestone at 20.4261 seconds/176.245 mph. Gil deFerran was third overall with a time of 20.4484 seconds/ 176.053 seconds.

The Kelley Racing team will now return to Indianapolis to prepare for the season-opening Toyota Indy 300, which will take place March 2 at Homestead-Miami Speedway. The race will be broadcast live on ABC and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Radio Network. For Toyota Indy 300 ticket information, call (305) 230-RACE or log onto www.homesteadmiamispeedway.com.

-www.KelleyRacing.com-

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Al Unser Jr. , Scott Sharp , Gil de Ferran , Scott Dixon , Tony Kanaan