IRL: Nashville: AGR/Kanaan preview

Kanaan leads the way in Nashville testing; Herta and Wheldon also quick LEBANON, Tenn., (July 10, 2003) -- Team 7-Eleven driver Tony Kanaan continued to impress Wednesday as he turned the fastest lap during the Indy Racing League Open Test ...

Kanaan leads the way in Nashville testing;
Herta and Wheldon also quick

LEBANON, Tenn., (July 10, 2003) -- Team 7-Eleven driver Tony Kanaan continued to impress Wednesday as he turned the fastest lap during the Indy Racing League Open Test at Nashville Superspeedway.

Kanaan was one of four drivers to top 205 miles per hour and was the fastest of the three Andretti Green Racing drivers -- all of whom ranked in the top five on the speed chart. Archipelago/Motorola driver and Kansas winner Bryan Herta slotted in third, while rookie Dan Wheldon put his Klein Tools/Jim Beam machine in the fifth spot.

Kanaan's best lap around the 1.33-mile concrete oval was clocked at 205.452 miles per hour (22.7789 seconds), while Herta charted a lap at 205.132 (22.8146). Wheldon's best lap came in at 204.757 miles per hour (22.8564 seconds).

Drivers began testing in the afternoon and then continued under the lights in preparation for Nashville's Firestone Indy 200, which is set for July 19. A total of fifteen drivers participated in the session.

"We had a pretty good car right out of the box," said Kanaan. "We're pleased with what we have. The track is fun. Concrete is different to drive than asphalt, but I'm pretty pleased. I have good engineers. I haven't done anything. We had a pretty good idea. My engineer, Eric, was in this series last year with Felipe Giaffone. So they had a pretty good base setup to start with, and with some work that we've done in the past at other tracks, we guessed what we need, and it was good right out of the box."

Herta, who won at Kansas last Sunday without the benefit of any test laps, welcomed yesterday's seat-time at Nashville.

"I think it was a big help for us to come and test here because it's another new track for me," said Herta. "Most of the new tracks I've done so far I haven't had a chance to test at, so it's nice to get a feel for this track. It's a lot different than any of the ones I've been to. It's kind of its own unique oval, so I think it was very valuable for us to come here and get a little experience on it before the race."

Wheldon felt that all three Andretti Green Racing entries benefited from one another's work during Wednesday's test.

"I wouldn't call this three separate teams; we're one unit," said Wheldon. "The good thing about having three cars is that you can have three different setups on each car, and if one seems to be working better than another you can go down that route. You can try stuff, and if Tony is quick, we can always revert back to his baseline. At the Kentucky Open Test, we established a good baseline, so everybody came our way. It works all three ways, really. It's good because you can build up a bunch of data that can be used during the race weekend."

Andretti Green Racing president Kim Green was on-hand for the test and also felt good about the three-car effort.

"Overall, we had three cars in the top five most of the day," said Green. "I think we unloaded quite well. We've certainly still got some things to learn, but I think it was a very, very good outing by everybody on the team for our first attempt at Nashville."

The Firestone Indy 200 is the last of three night races on the 2003 IRL IndyCar™ Series schedule. The race will be broadcast live at 8 p.m. (EDT) on ESPN2.

- AGR -

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Felipe Giaffone , Tony Kanaan , Bryan Herta , Kim Green , Jim Beam