IRL: Notebook 2003-07-31

INDY RACING LEAGUE TESTING NOTEBOOK Rice Tests Gen IV at Gateway; Carpenter Passes Rookie Test INDIANAPOLIS, Thursday, July 31, 2003 -- Buddy Rice and the Red Bull Cheever Racing team tested the new Gen IV Chevy Indy V-8 engine July 30-31 at...


Rice Tests Gen IV at Gateway; Carpenter Passes Rookie Test

INDIANAPOLIS, Thursday, July 31, 2003 -- Buddy Rice and the Red Bull Cheever Racing team tested the new Gen IV Chevy Indy V-8 engine July 30-31 at Gateway International Raceway.

The engine made its debut in the Firestone Indy 400 July 27 with Sam Hornish Jr. Hornish led 126 laps and finished second, .0121 of a second behind Alex Barron.

Per the IRL ruling on July 19, Hornish and Panther Racing will use the Gen III engine at Gateway, while Red Bull Cheever Racing, the Chevy team with the second most points, will use the new engine during the Emerson Indy 250 Aug. 10 at GIR.

"The test at Gateway went really well," Rice said. "We learned enough information about the Gen IV Chevy Indy V8 to use for the upcoming race. We also worked on our setup and made small changes since everything is a little bit different now with the new engine."

Team officials indicated it took about 200 man hours over two day to install the Gen IV in Rice's No. 52 Red Bull Cheever Racing Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone.

"The Red Bull Cheever Racing team worked really hard the past few days to install the new engine," Rice said. "We're going to continue to work on the details, and we're confident that we're going to be competitive and able to run in the front of the pack."

The team turned approximately 90 miles on the 1.25-mile track, according to Max Jones, team manager for Red Bull Cheever Racing.

"We had a good test these past two days and were able to obtain a lot of useful information about the Gen IV Chevy Indy V-8," Jones said. "Buddy turned a lot of competitive lap times, so we're optimistic that he will continue this performance at Gateway next weekend. With the performance at the test, it's even more apparent that Chevy has been working hard on developing this new engine, and thanks to the hard work of the Red Bull Cheever Racing crew, we were able to install the engine in time for the test."

All Chevy teams are scheduled to have the Gen IV for the Belterra Casino Indy 300 Aug. 17 at Kentucky Speedway.

In addition to Rice, several IRL IndyCar Series teams tested July 30 at Gateway including Marlboro Team Penske teammates Gil de Ferran and Helio Castroneves. De Ferran, driver of the No. 6 Marlboro Team Penske Dallara/Toyota/Firestone, is the defending champion of the event.

"We had a really good test," de Ferran said. "We are very comfortable with the car, and we feel like we're ready. We came in here with a good baseline."

Tony Kanaan, who is second in points, just one point behind Scott Dixon, tested his No. 11 Team 7-Eleven Dallara/Honda/Firestone at Gateway, along with Andretti Green Racing teammate Dan Wheldon. Wheldon, driver of the No. 26 Klein Tools/Jim Beam Dallara/Honda/Firestone, won an Indy Lights event at the track in 2001.

"The track was as I remembered it, so I felt pretty comfortable right away," Wheldon said. "We had a good day, and we think we're set to run a good race."

Two-time IRL IndyCar Series champion Sam Hornish Jr., who finished a season-best second July 27 at Michigan, tested his No. 4 Pennzoil Panther Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone. "Every track is a horsepower track at some point, but this isn't as much about horsepower as Michigan," Hornish said. "We've done well here, but today we weren't as sharp as we wanted to be."

Kenny Brack, driver of the No. 15 Pioneer/Miller Lite Dallara/Honda/Firestone, tested on July 30 only.

"I last raced here in 2000, so it took a bit to get my bearings, but this was a good test for us," Brack said. "It's a fun track, and it should be a fun race with this group of drivers."

A.J. Foyt IV, the 2002 Infiniti Pro Series champion and driver of the No. 14 Conseco/A.J. Foyt Racing Dallara/Toyota/Firestone, will attempt to make his first IndyCar Series start at Gateway.

"We didn't work on specific setups or qualifying or that stuff," Foyt said. "We went with the idea of getting a lot of laps and getting comfortable. Once you do that, it's a pretty fun track with the shifting and braking you do."

Mo Nunn Racing driver Tora Takagi tested a Dallara chassis at Gateway, although the team has used the Panoz G Force chassis in every race this season. Alex Barron, Takagi's teammate, tested a Panoz G Force.

"Since we went to Gateway for the test with both of our teams, we took the opportunity to test a Dallara chassis that we had on the Pioneer side," Takagi said. "It was our first time running the Dallara, and it seems that it has its good points. Judging by the data we gathered on the Hollywood side with Alex driving, it seems the (Panoz) G Force has its good points on the track, too."

The only accident of the test came near the end of the day July 30 when Barron, driver of the No. 21 Hollywood Mo Nunn Racing Panoz G Force/Toyota/Firestone, made contact with the outside retaining wall in Turn 4. He was uninjured.

"The car just turned on me," Barron said. "Nothing more. Until then we'd been having a pretty good test, and we're looking forward to next week."


Carpenter passes rookie test: Infiniti Pro Series standout Ed Carpenter passed the speed phase of his Indy Racing League IndyCar Series rookie test July 30 at Kentucky Speedway.

Carpenter, 22, from Indianapolis, turned 99 laps in a PDM Racing car with a fast lap of 214.2 mph, according to Brian Barnhart, senior vice president of racing operations for the Indy Racing League.

"Ed showed amazing consistency with the IndyCar Series car," Barnhart said. "It was a very impressive test, and he was extremely focused. He was able to use his experience racing USAC Silver Crown cars, which have a lot of horsepower, as well as his experience racing Infiniti Pro Series cars, which have aerodynamics.

"Obviously, the IndyCar Series cars have a lot of horsepower and utilize aerodynamics. Ed's ability to get up to speed quickly and turn consistent times and speeds, as well as drive a consistent line, demonstrated how his experience in both the Silver Crown and Infiniti Pro Series cars is paying off. He drove 10-12 consecutive laps at one point within a tenth of a second of each other"

Carpenter, driver of the No. 14 Futaba/Delphi/A.J. Foyt Racing Dallara/Infiniti/Firestone, won the inaugural Freedom 100 Infiniti Pro Series race May 17 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and is fourth in Infiniti Pro Series points standings after seven of 12 races. He finished third in the 2002 points standings.

He is a veteran of USAC racing having competed in Midgets, Sprint Cars and Silver Crown cars and scored feature victories in a midget in 1999 at Louisville Motor Speedway and a Silver Crown victory in 2001 at Salem Speedway.


More Kentucky Testing: IndyCar Series points leader Scott Dixon tested July 30 at Kentucky Speedway, along with his Target Chip Ganassi Racing teammate Tomas Scheckter.

Dixon, driver of the No. 9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Panoz G Force/Toyota/Firestone, will compete for the first time at Kentucky on Aug. 17 for the Belterra Casino Indy 300.

"The test went very well for us down in Kentucky," Dixon said. "We put a bunch of laps on the car, and we learned a lot about what we'll need to do when we come back here for the race. It's definitely improved from the last time that we were here. It should really help the racing when we come back here next month. I'm impressed with that facility and how they are always trying to make things better for us."

Scheckter, driver of the No. 10 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Panoz G Force/Toyota/ Firestone, finished 22nd in 2002 at Kentucky. He was involved in an accident after 89 laps.

"These guys have done a tremendous job with the track here," Scheckter said. "Like Scott said, the track has improved from the last time that we were here. We had a great test as well. Things went along as planned, and we're learning what we'll need to do when the race weekend comes. It's a two-day weekend, so it's important that we get as much data as possible as we will be limited with track time. We were quick in Texas and in Kansas, so I think that we'll be pretty good here also."

Infiniti Pro Series standouts Aaron Fike and Mark Taylor also tested at Kentucky Speedway on evening of July 30.

"We ran more than 120 laps," Fike said. "We figured out a lot of different stuff, what changes worked and what made us go slow. We definitely made a few changes to improve the car and found more speed. We were quite a bit faster than when we ran there last year. Overall, it was a good test."


Panther Racing expanding: Two-time IndyCar Series championship team Panther Racing announced that it will submit an entry for driver Dane Carter in the USAC Weld Racing Silver Crown J.D. Byrider 100 July 31 at Indianapolis Raceway Park.

"Each of the partners here at Panther Racing have a significant interest in USAC racing, and we just felt having the race in Indianapolis was a great opportunity to get involved with the series," said Panther Racing co-owner John Barnes. "I have been around racing for 35 years and really enjoy the atmosphere and passion for racing that can be found in the Silver Crown division." Carter, 24, has competed in USAC competition since he was 18. Carter is the son of 1985

Indianapolis 500 polesitter Pancho Carter, who serves as spotter for Panther Racing drivers Sam Hornish Jr. in the IndyCar Series and Mark Taylor in the Infiniti Pro Series.

"The opportunity to drive for a two-time IndyCar series championship team is something I am very excited about," Carter said. "I have grown up around racing and USAC has an important part in my family's history. I want to excel here, and the opportunity to work with Panther Racing helps me as I look toward an opportunity to move into the IndyCar (Series) ranks in the future."

In addition to Thursday's event at IRP, Panther Racing intends to enter the USAC Silver Crown event Aug. 24 at Nazareth Speedway. That race will be in conjunction with the Firestone Indy 225 IndyCar Series race on the same weekend.


Brack's busy: Kenny Brack will not be racing this weekend, but that doesn't mean he won't be busy. Brack, driver of the No. 15 Pioneer Miller Lite Dallara/Honda/Firestone, will be at "The Lodge," a recording studio in Indianapolis on Aug. 1.

Brack and his band, Pioneer presents Kenny Brack and Subwoofers, will be putting the finishing touches on an album. The live album was recorded when the band played prior to the Firestone Indy 200 July 19 at Nashville Superspeedway.

The album includes cover songs of hits like the Rolling Stones' "Start Me Up," and AC/DC's "Rocker." Lynard Skynard's "Sweet Home Alabama" is also on the album, and Ed Pink, who wrote the song, played with the band for the recording.

Pioneer is planning to release the album in mid-August. All proceeds from the album will go to CARA Charities. The album will be available to fans at the remaining IRL races, as well as selected websites to be announced at a later date.


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Series IndyCar
Drivers Tomas Scheckter , Mark Taylor , Helio Castroneves , Gil de Ferran , A.J. Foyt IV , Scott Dixon , Tony Kanaan , Tora Takagi , Kenny Brack , Alex Barron , Dan Wheldon , Buddy Rice , Aaron Fike , Chip Ganassi , Pancho Carter , Max Jones , John Barnes , A.J. Foyt , Brian Barnhart , Jim Beam , Sam Hornish Jr. , Ed Carpenter , Mo Nunn
Teams Panther Racing , Team Penske , Chip Ganassi Racing