IRL: Productive day of testing at MIS

BROOKLYN, Mich.- Two-time Indianapolis 500 winner Helio Castroneves has always been known for his vibrant personality throughout his racing career. That's why it should come as no surprise that he explained racing at MIS with an analogy as only ...

BROOKLYN, Mich.- Two-time Indianapolis 500 winner Helio Castroneves has always been known for his vibrant personality throughout his racing career. That's why it should come as no surprise that he explained racing at MIS with an analogy as only Helio could put it. "It's like I always say, sometimes you're the windshield and sometimes you're the bug," said Castroneves. "When we come back here next week I hope that we are the windshield."

Castroneves - along the three other drivers -- completed IRL IndyCar Series testing Tuesday at MIS in preparation for next weekend's Firestone Indy 400.

The Marlboro Team Penske driver completed approximately 100 laps in a day-long test that saw changing track conditions and cloud cover during the morning session which gave way to sunny skies for the afternoon session.

Marlboro Team Penske -- with Castroneves behind the wheel - completed everything on their to do list and are satisfied with their setup going into next week's Firestone Indy 400 according to Penske Racing President Tim Cindric.

The driver known as Spiderman for his fence climbing antics after a win, would like nothing more than to break his 18 race winless streak -- dating back to the 2002 Indianapolis 500 -- and climb the fence of a facility that has so much open-wheel history. "You have to run at MIS because it's a part of American racing history," said Castroneves. "The challenge here is if you go low or you go high, you have to figure out how to pass the guy in front of you. It's not only you, but 10 other guys that are trying to do that same thing as you. Sometimes you can be leading the race and lose it in the last corner."

Joining Castroneves in yesterday's test were Target Chip Ganassi Teammates Tomas Scheckter and Scott Dixon along with the IRL's most recent winner, Andretti Green Racing driver and Warren, Michigan native Bryan Herta.

Defending Firestone Indy 400 winner Scheckter drove the morning session and Scott Dixon - already a three-race winner on the IRL IndyCar Series circuit this season -- drove the afternoon session for Target Chip Ganassi Racing. Scheckter and Dixon completed 156 laps combined and ran competitive speeds compared to the other drivers according to Team Manager Mike Hull. "The car feels good out there and we tend to run well at these longer circuits," said Scheckter.

Scheckter won his first IRL IndyCar Series race last year at Michigan, and would like nothing more than to be a part of MIS history and be win the first two IRL IndyCar Series events at MIS. "I'd love to. I just need to keep working hard and it will work out," said Scheckter. "I think the whole combination this year has worked quite well with the Chip Ganassi organization. With Scott and I working so well together, it has produced a pretty good team."

Last year's race featured 25 lead changes and a stirring wheel-to-wheel duel from the lap 174 restart to the end between 11 cars as Scheckter barreled his way from 11th on the restart to win last year's race. He expects much of the same in next week's Firestone Indy 400. "I think it's going to be fierce, I really do. Here with five laps to go, you are as alert as when you starting the race because everybody is around you and you're wheel-to-wheel. I think you're going to see a lot of that.

Andretti Green Racing driver Bryan Herta -- fresh off his first IRL IndyCar Series win last week at Kansas -- completed 106 laps for the day in his Honda car in Tuesday's test and ran laps in the low 220s according to crew chief Kyle Moyer. Herta was pleased with the test overall and gained some additional valuable experience on the two-mile oval. "We got off to a bit of a rocky start, but once we got running, we ran bunch of laps and learned some things," said Herta. "You don't necessarily have to make the car faster in a test, but when you leave the test with more ideas than you started like we did today, then you know it was productive."

Fans can see Castroneves, Scheckter, Dixon and Herta - along with all the stars of the IRL IndyCar Series - in the Firestone Indy 400 on July 27. All seats are just $40, or fans can purchase a combination ticket for both Saturday and Sunday for just $50. The combo ticket includes the Saturday, July 26 Sears 200 along with the IRL IndyCar Series Firestone Indy 400 and the Infiniti Pro Series races on Sunday July 27. Children 12 and under are free all weekend. For ticket information, visit MIS' official website, www.MISpeedway.com, or call the MIS ticket hotline at (800) 354-1010.

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Tomas Scheckter , Helio Castroneves , Scott Dixon , Bryan Herta , Chip Ganassi , Mike Hull
Teams Team Penske , Team Penske , Chip Ganassi Racing