IRL: Milwaukee: Friday practice report

CASTRONEVES, WHELDON LEAD PRACTICE AT MILWAUKEE WEST ALLIS, Wis., Friday, July 22, 2005 -- Two-time Indianapolis 500 winner Helio Castroneves paced the opening day of practice at The Milwaukee Mile as IRL IndyCar® Series teams began...


WEST ALLIS, Wis., Friday, July 22, 2005 -- Two-time Indianapolis 500 winner Helio Castroneves paced the opening day of practice at The Milwaukee Mile as IRL IndyCar® Series teams began preparations for the ABC Supply Co./A.J. Foyt 225.

Castroneves recorded a lap of 21.9732 seconds, 166.293 mph, in the No. 3 Marlboro Team Penske Dallara/Toyota/Firestone during the afternoon session. He was the only driver to record a lap of less than 22 seconds. 2005 Indianapolis 500 winner Dan Wheldon led the morning session with a lap of 22.0645 seconds, 165.605 mph in the No. 26 Klein Tools/Jim Beam Dallara/Honda/Firestone. Tomas Scheckter was third-fastest with a lap of 22.0933 seconds, 165.390 mph in the No. 4 Pennzoil Panther Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone.


HELIO CASTRONEVES (No. 3 Marlboro Team Penske Dallara/Toyota/Firestone): "We struggled this morning and seemed to struggle a little bit this afternoon, but suddenly we found some stuff that was wrong with the car. We kept working on the race car. Obviously, tomorrow we're going to have a qualifying practice. We were just going to keep working the race pace. Its seems a little bit fast right now. I don't think we're going to go that fast. We're very confident. Again, its a very hard place because there is no banking, so its makes the car very difficult. Sometimes you find yourself in a good position in (Turn) 1 and (Turn) 2, and then suddenly, (Turn) 3 and (Turn) 4 go away from you. Then, the next lap is the opposite."

TOMAS SCHECKTER (No. 4 Pennzoil Panther Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone): "The first session I was completely out of it. I don't think I was in the top 10. The good thing we did in the first session, we tested a lot of things with the car back and forth to see which direction we wanted to go in the second session, and we really didn't care about times. I think that's really what helped us in the second session. We sat down and tested, 'OK this doesn't work, and this doesn't work so let's try this.' Certainly it helped. I still think we can go much quicker tomorrow."

DAN WHELDON (No. 26 Klein Tools/Jim Beam Dallara/Honda/Firestone): "We tried qualifying simulation in the second session. The track, right now, is extra slippery for the Andretti Green Racing boys. We're just trying to get work towards the front. I think we'll be OK. I think we'll have a good qualifying car, and I'm hoping that can carry over to the race. We working on getting quicker, but the conditions, right now, are very slippery. This can be a difficult place to drive. People always say that about Milwaukee, but if you have a good car, you can get right up to the front."

DANICA PATRICK (No. 16 Rahal Letterman Racing Argent Pioneer Panoz/Honda/Firestone): "I feel pretty good about where we are with the Argent/Pioneer Honda. We were pretty quick this morning so this afternoon we decided to focus on race setup, and we ran the entire session with full tanks. I really like the balance of the car. I had to make a couple of adjustments with the weight jacker, but overall we were pretty much spot on. We sure have come a long way since our first day at Richmond. It is a good sign that we are making progress as a team on the short ovals, because that has been our weakness this season. With Milwaukee being a short oval, it is tougher to pass here than at the bigger tracks so it will be vital to start up front. I don't know if we can win the pole, but at least we will be in the hunt, which is amazing considering how far we were off a few weeks ago in Richmond."

PATRICK CARPENTIER (No. 83 Red Bull Cheever Racing Dallara/Toyota/Firestone): "I'm pretty happy with the work we got in today. We struggled a bit early in the second session, but we got it figured out and put up our best lap of the day. The car is decent, but it needs some work. We were pushing at times and a little bit loose right now, but we've got some time tomorrow to make the final changes before qualifying. We're definitely going in the right direction, but we just need to keep going."

ALEX BARRON (No. 51 Red Bull Cheever Racing Dallara/Toyota/Firestone): "It was a really good day for us. The track changed a lot from the first practice session to the second, so that posed some challenges. However, all of the adjustments we made on the car between the sessions made us quicker. I think we have a pretty good car for qualifying as well as the race. With a three-day event, you get a lot of track time, and everything is going very smoothly right now."

SAM HORNISH JR. (No. 6 Marlboro Team Penske Dallara/Toyota/Firestone): "We worked on our race setup all day, and overall I'm happy with the Marlboro Team Penske car. It handles well in and out of traffic, which is key for the race. Tomorrow we'll focus on our qualifying setup. It's always nice to be up front to avoid any problems on the start, but you can win this race from anywhere on the grid. I'm looking forward to the rest of the weekend if things continue to go this well."

The 10th season of IndyCar Series competition continues with the ABC Supply A.J. Foyt 225 at 2:30 p.m. (EDT) July 24 at The Milwaukee Mile. The race will be broadcast live on ESPN and the IMS Radio Network. The race also will be available on XM Satellite Radio channel 152, "XM Extreme." The next Menards Infiniti Pro Series event is the Milwaukee 100 on July 24 at The Milwaukee Mile. The race will be broadcast by ESPN2 on a tape-delayed basis at 3 p.m. (EDT) on July 28. The next episode of "The Fast Life," ESPN2's behind-the-scenes series about the IndyCar Series, airs at noon (EDT) on July 24.


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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Tomas Scheckter , Helio Castroneves , Dan Wheldon , A.J. Foyt , Jim Beam
Teams Team Penske