IRL: Test in the West Phoenix Friday report

De Ferran, Castroneves Lead Penske Speed Assault At Phoenix AVONDALE, Ariz., Friday, Feb. 8, 2002 - Marlboro Team Penske drivers Gil de Ferran and Helio Castroneves topped the speed charts Friday at Phoenix International Raceway, the second day...

De Ferran, Castroneves Lead Penske Speed Assault At Phoenix

AVONDALE, Ariz., Friday, Feb. 8, 2002 - Marlboro Team Penske drivers Gil de Ferran and Helio Castroneves topped the speed charts Friday at Phoenix International Raceway, the second day of practice during the Indy Racing League's Test in the West.

Driving the No. 6 Marlboro Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone, de Ferran turned a best lap of 20.0407 seconds, 179.634 mph around the 1-mile Phoenix oval. Castroneves backed up de Ferran's run with his top lap of 20.0752, 179.326 in the No. 3 Marlboro Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone. Both top laps were run in the afternoon session.

"Marlboro Team Penske is having a good test here in Phoenix," de Ferran said. "We're building on our experience from previous tests and spent the day working on general handling characteristics. We're going through our preparation routine and doing our homework.

"We're trying really hard to understand what we need to be fast right out of the box. We've got another day to go, so we'll see where we stand at the end of the day tomorrow."

Tomas Scheckter, a test driver for Red Bull Cheever Racing, continued his successful test by producing the third-fastest lap of the day. Scheckter turned a lap of 20.2575, 177.712 driving the No. 52 Red Bull Cheever Racing Dallara/Infiniti/Firestone.

"Everybody warned me beforehand about this circuit and that it would take two days to learn, but I think I got back into it very quickly," Scheckter said. "The thing is, the car is very good, and the Red Bull Cheever Racing team is working well."

Friday was the second day of on-track activity during the seventh Indy Racing League Test in the West. Twenty drivers turned a total of 2,141 laps Friday.

Jon Herb, driving the No. 17 Racing Professionals G Force/Chevrolet/Firestone, made light contact with the Turn 2 wall late in the afternoon session. Herb drove the car around to his pit, and he was uninjured.

"We just bottomed out, which we hadn't done really any of to that point," Herb said. "It bottomed in the middle of the corner, the car nosed up, and it headed up to the wall. We cracked a motor, so we'll see what we got for tomorrow."

The Test in the West will conclude Saturday at Phoenix International Raceway. The last day of the Test in the West is free to spectators. Fans may enter PIR through Gate 5 beginning at 8:30 a.m. (MST).

The Copper World Indy 200 is scheduled for March 17 at Phoenix. The Indy Racing season opener is March 2 at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

-irl-

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Tomas Scheckter , Jon Herb , Helio Castroneves , Gil de Ferran
Teams Team Penske