IRL: Phoenix open test, final day report

Andretti Green Racing drivers lead final day of Phoenix test AVONDALE, Ariz., Thursday, Feb. 10, 2005 -- Dario Franchitti, Dan Wheldon and Tony Kanaan each took advantage of ideal conditions to post fast laps on the final day of the IRL...

Andretti Green Racing drivers lead final day of Phoenix test

AVONDALE, Ariz., Thursday, Feb. 10, 2005 -- Dario Franchitti, Dan Wheldon and Tony Kanaan each took advantage of ideal conditions to post fast laps on the final day of the IRL IndyCar® Series Open Test at Phoenix International Raceway.

Franchitti recorded the fastest lap, 20.5042 seconds, 175.574 mph, in the No. 27 ArcaEx Dallara/Honda/Firestone during the morning session. Wheldon's fastest lap in the No. 26 Klein Tools/Jim Beam Dallara/Honda/Firestone was 20.5601 seconds, 175.096 mph, and came in the afternoon session. Kanaan's best lap, 20.5673 seconds, 175.035 mph was recorded in the morning.

Franchitti, Wheldon and Kanaan each recorded laps faster than Wheldon's 2004 pole-winning speed of 174.779 mph.

In all, 20 drivers turned 5,532 laps of testing without incident. The test was the final preseason activity before the season-opening Toyota Indy 300 on March 6.

POST PRACTICE QUOTES:

DARIO FRANCHITTI (No. 27 ArcaEx Dallara/Honda/Firestone): "We learned a lot. The fast lap was nice, but we're more interested about what we're doing in long runs. We were very happy with the balance of the car. We made some changes to the car and improved it. We think we have enough information to come back for the race. We think the conditions will change substantially, but all in all, the ArcaEx car was very good and all four (AGR) drivers were very happy. We still have a lot of work to do for all four cars. (About performance of the team in the test): "The team has got things right here, and we work well together. We share the information and that's what enabled us to get the cars up there."

DAN WHELDON (No. 26 Klein Tools/Jim Beam Dallara/Honda/Firestone): "I think it was a pretty positive test. My car is, for race conditions, really pretty good. In qualifying and racing, I think it needs to be better for the race. It's difficult to get a read, because obviously the temperature is nothing like what it's going to be come the race. I think the race is going to be difficult. All in all, a positive test. I really enjoyed my time back here in Phoenix. I do think it's one of the more difficult tracks, and it's always nice when you go well here. (About three cars surpassing last year's pole speed): "That's what you've got to expect from the league this year. It's so competitive. I keep saying you look at the teams that are here, you've got a lot of very good drivers in the series right now. To stay ahead, you've got to keep developing. I think Dallara has a done a very good job with that with the chassis, and Honda is always improving. I've been part of that family for a while now, and know their dedication to winning. Everything that I've seen here, I've expected. I think we'll keep getting quicker and quicker."

TONY KANAAN (No. 11 Team 7-Eleven Dallara/Honda/Firestone): "We're not looking for a fast lap, we're looking to get a good car. We worked together last night, the four of us, and we came up with a good balance on the car. We tried different things, and amazingly, you look at the lap times and they're so close. It's unbelievable. I have a good setup and I'm pleased with what we accomplished. Unfortunately, it rained and it cut our day short, but I think we're looking good." (About running faster than last year's pole speed): "It's hard to tell. The cars have gotten better and the conditions were perfect. So it was just a perfect day."

HELIO CASTRONEVES (No. 3 Marlboro Team Penske Dallara/Toyota/Firestone): "We improved from yesterday and we were very consistent. If you remember last year, it was very hot and very different conditions from what we have today. I think the conditions will be more like they were last year. Hopefully when we come back, we have a good baseline, or starting position. Hopefully, we'll find something so we can climb the fence."

SCOTT SHARP (No. 8 Delphi Panoz/Honda/Firestone): "We're real pleased with the Delphi Fernandez team. A great couple of days and we really worked through a lot of stuff today. We haven't concentrated on qualifying speed as much as the others. We're just trying to concentrate on things we can learn to help us here and at other tracks. Some improve the car, some don't, but you learn. We got a little bit of race running in, so it was a good test."

***

The IRL IndyCar Series opens its 10th season of competition with the Toyota Indy 300 at 2 p.m. (EST) on March 6, 2005 at Homestead-Miami Speedway. The race will be televised live on ESPN and the IMS Radio Network. The 2005 Menards Infiniti Pro Series season also opens on March 6 at Homestead-Miami Speedway. The race will be televised by ESPN2 at 4 p.m. (EST) on March 17.

<pre> FASTEST SPEEDS OF DAY Pos. Car Name C/E/T Speed 1. 27 Dario Franchitti D/H/F 175.574 mph 2. 26 Dan Wheldon D/H/F 175.096 mph 3. 11 Tony Kanaan D/H/F 174.911 mph 4. 3 Helio Castroneves D/T/F 174.394 mph 5. 8 Scott Sharp P/H/F 174.271 mph

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Scott Sharp , Helio Castroneves , Dario Franchitti , Tony Kanaan , Dan Wheldon , Jim Beam
Teams Team Penske