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Armstrong gets first taste of IndyCar ovals in Texas test

Chip Ganassi Racing’s Marcus Armstrong took in his first-ever test on an oval on Wednesday at Texas Motor Speedway.

#11: Marcus Armstrong, Chip Ganassi Racing Honda, Blair Julian

The 23-year-old New Zealander was crowned the IndyCar Series’ Rookie of the Year in the season finale last Sunday at Laguna Seca, despite running a partial campaign on only road and street circuits.

Last week, he was confirmed for a return to CGR as a full-time entrant in 2024.

Although weather played a factor in the early morning of the oval test debut, the rain cleared out and Armstrong was able to complete 180 laps around the high-banked 1.5-mile oval.

Team-mate and fellow Kiwi Scott Dixon provided an initial five-lap shakedown to set the car up ahead of Armstrong taking over.

“It was quite fast,” Armstrong said. “It was an awesome experience and I really enjoyed it.

“The first proper run in the morning was great. I was just smiling after that first run and even on the in-lap I had a different reaction to what I was expecting. It was a lot more natural than I anticipated and I felt at one with the car later in the day.

“I found that it was a lot easier to trust the car and the banking. Overall, it was a very positive experience and I’m very grateful that Dario [Franchitti], Scott, Eric [Cowdin] and Blair [Julian] could help me out throughout the day.”

Armstrong’s next oval test will be on the fabled 2.5-mile superspeedway known as Indianapolis Motor Speedway on October 11.

Kyle Larson, Arrow McLaren livery unveil

Kyle Larson, Arrow McLaren livery unveil

Photo by: IndyCar

Armstrong won’t be the only driver seeking to pass Indy’s rookie orientation process that month, as NASCAR star Kyle Larson will be making his IndyCar debut for Arrow McLaren.

He will become the first driver since Kurt Busch in 2014 to attempt the 1,100-mile Memorial Weekend double, as he’ll be racing in NASCAR’s Coca-Cola 600 later in the day at Charlotte.

“I definitely, obviously, look forward to October and getting to do the rookie orientation,” said Larson when he attended the unveiling of his car in May. “I have thought about that a little bit, so I am nervous when I do think about that.

“But I think once I get in the car, a lot of those nerves will hopefully go away after a few laps, and it will feel like home, just like all the other race cars I drive.”

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