Andretti Green Racing Teammates Close Out Pre-Season Testing with Two Days at Phoenix HOMESTEAD, Fla. (Feb. 12, 2004) - Andretti Green RacingÂ® (AGR) continued to prep for the 2004 Indy Racing League (IRL) IndyCarÂ® Series season this week at...
Andretti Green Racing Teammates Close Out Pre-Season Testing with Two Days at Phoenix
HOMESTEAD, Fla. (Feb. 12, 2004) - Andretti Green Racing® (AGR) continued to prep for the 2004 Indy Racing League (IRL) IndyCar® Series season this week at Phoenix International Raceway as it put all four of its cars through a two-day test session on the one-mile Arizona oval.
Drivers Dario Franchitti, Bryan Herta, Tony Kanaan and Dan Wheldon made numerous test runs over the course of the two days and covered qualifying setups, race setups and a few mock pit stops. The four combined for a total of 1,015 testing miles in the second of two pre-season tests.
Franchitti, who drives the #27 Archipelago Exchange (ArcaEx) Dallara/Honda/Firestone, led the way for Andretti Green with a quick lap of 176.889 miles per hour, posted during Wednesday afternoon's practice session. Franchitti's speed ranked fourth best among all IndyCar Series competitors who saw track time during the Phoenix test.
Wheldon, who pilots the #26 Klein Tools/Jim Beam Dallara/Honda/Firestone, was next on the chart for AGR with a fast lap of 176.369 miles per hour. Wheldon's lap, which came during Thursday afternoon's three-hour practice session, slotted in fifth overall.
Herta logged a best lap of 176.265 miles per hour on Thursday afternoon, as well, while driving the #7 Honda-powered Dallara, which was good enough for sixth on the combined speed rankings at the end of the test Thursday.
Team 7-Eleven driver Tony Kanaan, who won last year's IndyCar Series event at Phoenix, was next on the chart for AGR with a fast lap of 176.192 miles per hour. Kanaan, who also won the pole at Phoenix in 2003, recorded his best lap of the test Thursday afternoon.
The 2004 IndyCar Series schedule, which features 16 events, kicks off on Feb. 29 with a 300-mile event at Homestead-Miami Speedway and then heads back to Phoenix for Round 2 on March 23.
KYLE MOYER, GENERAL MANAGER, ANDRETTI GREEN RACING:
"Overall, I would say things were pretty good for us this week. Having Dario post one of the fastest times the first day was really good, but the other three guys seemed to be right on par, too. We spent most of the time going through race stuff, but it's hard because the temperatures are probably going to be a lot warmer when we come back in March. That makes it a bit of a 'hit and miss' situation for everybody when we come back, but hopefully we'll get it right when we get back out here.
"Testing four cars has really been a piece of cake so far this year because of the personnel we have here. It just shows you how good the people are that work at AGR when you see all four cars running all the time and running up front."
DARIO FRANCHITTI, #27 ARCHIPELAGO EXCHANGE (ArcaEx) DALLARA/HONDA/FIRESTONE:
"It was an interesting couple of days because the track changed a lot; not just from one day to the next but from one hour to the next, so we spent some time chasing the track. But, we got a good bit of work covered. Hopefully what we've discovered will work for us when we come back here to race in March.
"I think we're getting there overall. Both of our tests have been very beneficial, but I'm sure the practice days for any of our races are going to be pretty busy no matter how much running we've done there."
BRYAN HERTA, #7 DALLARA/HONDA/FIRESTONE:
"We've made some improvements on the car throughout the test especially on the race setup. I would like to have more speed for a qualifying run though. I think with the new rules you're going to have to qualify at the front because it is going to be difficult to pass. When we ran with all four of the AGR cars together we gained a lot of data. All of us were running different setups so we were able to find a lot of positives and negatives. It was an interesting exercise for us and I think you'll see a lot of that from us this year."
TONY KANAAN, #11 TEAM 7-ELEVEN DALLARA/HONDA/FIRESTONE:
"It's been a good week. We're learning and it's still early. We struggled a little bit with the setup at the beginning of the test, but it's a new (track) configuration and a new aero package. We just need to get used to it. We might not have looked as fast as we wanted to, but we're working towards the race setup. That's the most important.
"The changes to the race track are very positive. They put in a tunnel, they've got 'soft walls' all around and the exit of turn two is wider. It's a big improvement. It's great to see people put so much effort into making a place better. I can only congratulate the staff at PIR for the work they've done."
DAN WHELDON, #26 KLEIN TOOLS/JIM BEAM DALLARA/HONDA/FIRESTONE:
"It is nice to be back on a short oval. The Klein Tools/Jim Beam car is improving with every run. One thing that you learn on these short ovals is how important the race setup is. My teammates and engineers have helped me to improve on these tracks and we are trying to find the best possible setup for race. When we come back here next month, we have a very limited amount of track time so everything we learned here these past two days will help us."
- AGR -