IRL: Luyendyk Firestone Testing at Indy

Indianapolis, IN - Arie Luyendyk in the ...

Indianapolis, IN - Arie Luyendyk in the #5 Sprint PCS/Radioshack/Qualcomm entry of Treadway Racing suffered a bittersweet test session today at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. After running several blazing laps of 220 MPH, Luyendyk's test session was ended early when an oil leak forced the Treadway entry into the wall in turn four. Luyendyk was uninjured in the accident which unfortunately caused rather extensive damage to the G-Force/Aurora/Firestone package and ended the team's testing for the week.

The session, which was a private/closed tire test governed by Firestone, was the first attempt Luyendyk and the Treadway team had to shake down their set-ups and prepare for the upcoming Indianapolis 500 held on May 24th. Yesterday morning (April 1st) brought the first day of track time, however, unpredictable and inclement weather forced teams to wait out the morning session until the wind and rain died down mid-afternoon. Luyendyk was able to run approximately 50 laps before the session was halted for the day, and ran with speeds consistent between 200 and 206 MPH.

Today's weather was another matter and sunny skies and optimum temperatures set the stage for Luyendyk and gave him the green light to begin concentrating on speed. The Indianapolis Motor Speedway has been playing host to several test sessions over the course of the past two weeks, and this test falls hard on the heels of the Goodyear tire test which was conducted early last week. Luyendyk's experience and skill once again proved formidable as he clocked several laps in the 220 MPH range, which has made him the front runner not only for the Firestone test, but the Goodyear test as well.

"The car was working great," said Luyendyk. "Things were going good and the car was running well. We actually had quite a bit left in it (speed). When I was coming out of turn 3, I smelled oil and I knew it could be trouble, so I got out of the throttle and intended to head into the pits. However I was still carrying a lot of speed heading into four and when I lifted it was too late. The car had oil on the tires and was already spinning. We hit the wall with the left side of the car, and unfortunately, caused quite a bit of damage. But the car held up well and I was able to walk away from the accident!"

The Treadway team will begin work on the damaged car immediately in preparation for the next tire test which is scheduled to run next week at the Texas Motor Speedway. The next stop at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway is an open test conducted by the IRL on April 16-18 which will include rookie orientation and veteran practice for the 82nd running of the Indianapolis 500.

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Series IndyCar
Drivers Arie Luyendyk