IRL: Texas test notes 2003-04-29

Castroneves, Hornish, Ray get to work at Texas. FORT WORTH, Texas, Tuesday, April 29, 2003 -- Three of the biggest names in the IRL IndyCar Series -- Helio Castroneves, Sam Hornish Jr. and Greg Ray -- tested April 28 at Texas Motor Speedway,...

Castroneves, Hornish, Ray get to work at Texas.

FORT WORTH, Texas, Tuesday, April 29, 2003 -- Three of the biggest names in the IRL IndyCar Series -- Helio Castroneves, Sam Hornish Jr. and Greg Ray -- tested April 28 at Texas Motor Speedway, site of the Bombardier 500 on June 7 and the season-ending Chevy 500 on Oct. 12.

Two-time defending Indianapolis 500 winner Castroneves tested his No. 3 Marlboro Team Penske Panoz G Force/Toyota/Firestone on the 1.5-mile oval. Castroneves tested tires for Firestone, the exclusive tire of the Indy Racing League and the only tire to compete in all 74 IndyCar Series events since the series' inception in 1996. Weather for the test was cloudy with temperatures reaching 75 degrees.

"They (Firestone) want to see the conditions with hot weather," Castroneves said. "Firestone is always working with the drivers, trying improve their tires."

Firestone officials indicated that the tires used in the test were being developed for the Bombardier 500 on June 7, the race after the Indianapolis 500.

Two-time defending series champion Hornish tested the No. 98 Pedigo Chevrolet Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone rather than his normal No. 4 Pennzoil Panther Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone. Former Texas winner Billy Boat will drive the No. 98 at the Indianapolis 500, where he will serve as Hornish's teammate.

"Our team hasn't been to test at any high-banked mile-and-half tracks with the new chassis and engine," Hornish said. "We want to see what we have to work with."

Hornish has won the last two fall races at Texas. In September 2002, he defeated Castroneves by .0096 of second, the second closest finish in series history.

1999 IndyCar Series champion Greg Ray, a native of nearby Plano, Texas, tested the No. 13 TrimSpa Special Panoz G Force/Honda/Firestone for the new Access Motorsports team, which he co-owns.

"For us, we are using this as our first real test," Ray said. "When we went to Kentucky, we just made sure everything was bolted on tight. Now we get to work on shocks, springs and the aero package. The rules and the aero package here (at Texas) are the same as at Nashville, Michigan, California and Kansas. We can take a lot of the information we get here for those races later this season."

Tickets for the Bombardier 500 are available by calling (817) 215-8500, online at www.texasmotorspeedway.com or at Ticketmaster locations.

-irl-

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Greg Ray , Helio Castroneves , Sam Hornish Jr.
Teams Team Penske