INDIANAPOLIS, Monday, May 26, 2002 -- Indianapolis 500 winner Helio Castroneves and Felipe Giaffone finished a two-day test at Richmond International Raceway May 30, while Indy 500 Bank One Co-Rookie of the Year Alex Barron tested at Kentucky ...
INDIANAPOLIS, Monday, May 26, 2002 -- Indianapolis 500 winner Helio Castroneves and Felipe Giaffone finished a two-day test at Richmond International Raceway May 30, while Indy 500 Bank One Co-Rookie of the Year Alex Barron tested at Kentucky Speedway.
Castroneves and Giaffone completed 190 laps of testing at Richmond International Raceway May 29-30 in preparation for the SunTrust Indy Challenge on June 28-29.
Castroneves, driver of the No. 3 Marlboro Team Penske/Dallara/Chevrolet, stopped in Richmond in the middle of the Indianapolis 500 Winner's media tour, which also included stops in New York City and Dallas.
"It's been quite an exciting and interesting experience," Castroneves said of his first laps around the ¾-mile D-shaped oval. "I'm amazed because Indy is so big; it's two and a half miles, and you have time to eat an ice cream. But here, oh boy, things happen so fast. I tried to watch some NASCAR races here last year and of course, we go much faster through the corners here. The banking is not as high as I heard it was, but we are still pulling four or five G's.
"It's a very tough track. The sudden turns can be a real challenge, and it's going to be a real handling racetrack. It's going to be very interesting and exciting, and I will watch (the 2001) race before I return."
Giaffone, who finished third in the Indianapolis 500, finished 11th in the 2001 SunTrust Indy Challenge. According to Hollywood Mo Nunn team members, Giaffone posted a best lap of 16.7 seconds, 161.677 mph to top Jaques Lazier's 2001 pole time of 16.8311 seconds, 160.417 mph.
"There's no rest for the weary in this business, is there?" said Giaffone, driver of the No. 21 Hollywood/Mo Nunn Racing G Force/Chevrolet/Firestone. "We haven't even been able to recover from our Indy 500 run, and we're back on the track to test. We came to Richmond not expecting a whole lot, and we pleasantly surprised ourselves with a very fast lap."
"All we really wanted to do was get some decent lap times and get a feel for the car around the track at Richmond. It turns out we were right on with our setup as soon as we took the Hollywood car off the transporter. We're very pleased with the test. Richmond can be a really tough track when your car is not right, so we're very much looking forward to coming back to do it for real at the end of next month."
At Kentucky Speedway, Barron concluded a one-day test May 30 with estimated lap speeds of 220.408 mph. The test was in preparation for the Belterra Casino Indy 300 August 10-11.
Barron's top speed in his No. 44 Rayovac Blair Racing Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone was faster than the track record of 219.191 mph, which was set in 2000 by Scott Goodyear.
Barron arrived at Kentucky with momentum after finishing a career-best fourth in the Indianapolis 500 May 26. Barron shared Indy 500 Bank One Rookie of the Year honors with Tomas Scheckter, who led the most laps in the race. Barron moved from ninth to fifth in the Indy Racing League point standings as a result of the performance.
"To jump from ninth to fifth at the Indy 500 is a really good deal for the team; there's a lot of confidence flowing and that goes a long way," said Barron, 32. "We are looking to improve our package and increase the speed of the car even more than we have. We've been progressively doing that week in and week out, but we're still trying to find a little bit of speed."