Contenders Kanaan, Castroneves test at Texas FORT WORTH, Texas, Tuesday, Sept. 26, 2003 -- Two of the five IRL IndyCarTM Series Championship contenders tested Sept. 25 and 26 at Texas Motor Speedway, site of the season-ending Chevy 500 on Oct.
Contenders Kanaan, Castroneves test at Texas
FORT WORTH, Texas, Tuesday, Sept. 26, 2003 -- Two of the five IRL IndyCarTM Series Championship contenders tested Sept. 25 and 26 at Texas Motor Speedway, site of the season-ending Chevy 500 on Oct. 12.
Helio Castroneves, who is tied for the championship lead with Scott Dixon with 467 points, tested on the 1.5-mile oval along with third-place Tony Kanaan who is seven points behind the leaders with 460 points. Sam Hornish Jr. is fourth with 448, while Gil de Ferran is fifth with 437.
"We are very excited," said Castroneves, driver of the No. 3 Marlboro Team Penske Dallara/Toyota/Firestone. "We are trying to find speed, race setup, we are trying to find everything. Obviously, we are focusing in on our job. The Marlboro Team Penske crew is doing a phenomenal job."
Castroneves finished second in the championship in 2002 and lost the season-finale at Texas to series champion Hornish by just .0096 of a second, the second closest finish in IRL IndyCar Series history.
"Obviously, we don't want what happened last year," Castroneves said. "We are working twice as much to make sure we can leave here with the right result."
Kanaan tested the No. 11 Team 7-Eleven Dallara/Honda/Firestone, while his teammate, Bryan Herta, tested the No. 27 Archipelago/Motorola Dallara/Honda/Firestone.
"We are doing a lot of different work, so when you have two cars, it makes it much easier," Kanaan said. "I try aerodynamics, Bryan tries setups. Then we will try something else. It is a big help."
Kanaan said the team worked on all facets of a race weekend during the two-day test.
"We divide each test in two," Kanaan said. "We work qualifying in the morning and race setup in the afternoon. We try to accomplish everything. Conditions are going to change. To say we found the best setup for here, we would only find the best setup for today. Then it will be a matter of fine tuning."
A.J. Foyt IV, the 2002 Infiniti Pro Series champion and driver of the No. 14 Conseco Toyota/Firestone, also tested both days at TMS. The team tested both Dallara and Panoz G Force chassis in its stable.
"We are going to compare the Dallara and G Force then determine which car we are going to run in the race here," Foyt said.
While the mood of testing was serious because the championship is on the line, there was some time for a little fun.
During a break in testing on Thursday, Castroneves hung a horseshoe, a sign of good luck, above the garage bay he will be using during the weekend of the Chevy 500.
The season-ending Chevy 500 at Texas Motor Speedway is Oct. 12 and will be broadcast live at 3:30 p.m. (EDT) by ESPN and the IMS Radio Network. For tickets, log on to www.texasmotorspeedway, call (817) 215-8500 or go to any Ticketmaster location.