IRL: Luis Diaz passes ROP for Indy 500

Luis Diaz Passes First IndyCar Test at Indianapolis Motor Speedway with Flying Colors Indianapolis, Indiana, April 26th , 2004 --Accepting an invitation from Target Chip Ganassi Racing, Mexican driver Luis Diaz 's took part in Monday's Rookie...

Luis Diaz Passes First IndyCar Test at Indianapolis Motor Speedway with Flying Colors

Indianapolis, Indiana, April 26th , 2004 --Accepting an invitation from Target Chip Ganassi Racing, Mexican driver Luis Diaz 's took part in Monday's Rookie Orientation program at Indianapolis Motor Speedway in advance of the team's preparations for the 88th running of the Indianapolis 500.

It was Diaz's first ever test of an IndyCar on board one of the Target team's Toyota/ G-Force fitted with the new 3.0 litre engine and his first on track experience at the famous 2.5 mile Indianapolis Motor Speedway. He was among six other rookies (Ed Carpenter, Kosuke Matsuura, Mark Taylor, Jeff Simmons, Marty Roth, Larry Foyt) taking part in the rookie orientation program designed to provide first-year drivers an informal opportunity to get acquainted with the 2.5-mile oval.

Drivers had to complete four 10-lap speed phases, which were set by IRL Senior Vice President of Racing Operations Brian Barnhart based on the weather and track conditions. They were: Phase 1: 195-200 mph; Phase 2: 200-205 mph; Phase 3: 205-210 mph; and Phase 4: 210 mph-plus. Luis Diaz not only quickly passed the four required speed phases during morning session of the program but put in 118 laps and set a fast unofficial lap speed of 210.498 mph.

"It's a great feeling to be here at this great track," said Diaz of his first visit to the track. "I think it's the most important track in the world. It is so very different than any track I have ever driven. It is just so huge and very fast and it demands a lot of focus from a driver. The team gave me a great car to work with and you could feel every change that was made right away. It didn't take long to build up my confidence but with the windy conditions I was not going to be taking any chances. This was a great opportunity and invaluable experience for me and I appreciate Target Chip Ganassi Racing and Telemex's support. I learned a lot today and hopefully I helped the team out as well. It was a one day deal and I am very happy with the way that it went."

Luis Diaz comes directly from Chip Ganassi Racing's stable of talented drivers, currently sharing driving duties for one of two Daytona Prototype racecars being fielded by the CompUSA Chip Ganassi Racing team in the Rolex Grand American Sports Car series. In 2003, Diaz ran his second full season in the Toyota Atlantic series and one race in the CART series.

There are no plans at this time, to field a third car for Target Chip Ganassi Racing's quest for the coveted Indy 500 crown.

Target Chip Ganassi Racing will continue their preparations for the 88th Indianapolis 500 with 2003 IndyCar series Champion Scott Dixon and teammate Darren Manning at the Open Test at the 2.5 mile Indianapolis Motor Speedway, rescheduled for April 28-29th due to forecasted cold temperatures. It was originally scheduled for Tuesday and Wednesday, April 27-28.

Throughout 2004 season, Target Chip Ganassi Racing fans are invited to follow the team's progress in their quest for a second consecutive championship season by logging onto their official website at www.target.com/racing for news, features, photos and much more.

-cgr-

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Mark Taylor , Darren Manning , Scott Dixon , Larry Foyt , Luis Diaz , Marty Roth , Jeff Simmons , Chip Ganassi , Brian Barnhart , Ed Carpenter
Teams Chip Ganassi Racing , Chip Ganassi Racing