IPS: Indianapolis test preview

TEST WILL PREPARE DRIVERS FOR FUTABA FREEDOM 100 INDIANAPOLIS, Friday, April 29, 2005 -- The Indianapolis Motor Speedway can be a daunting place. At 2.5 miles, it's the biggest track on the Indy Racing League circuit, and with only nine degrees...

TEST WILL PREPARE DRIVERS FOR FUTABA FREEDOM 100

INDIANAPOLIS, Friday, April 29, 2005 -- The Indianapolis Motor Speedway can be a daunting place. At 2.5 miles, it's the biggest track on the Indy Racing League circuit, and with only nine degrees of banking in the turns, it takes a lot of guts to keep the gas pedal pushed to the floor.

Sixteen Menards Infiniti Pro Series drivers are expected to test at the world's most celebrated racing facility on May 2 in preparation for the Futaba Freedom 100 on May 27. For at least nine of those drivers, it will be their first time to drive on the track's historic oval.

"I'm really looking forward to testing on the oval," said series points leader Travis Gregg. "It is going to be very important to get valuable track time for the Freedom 100, which in my opinion is the biggest race of the year. Sam Schmidt Motorsports won the race last year, so I am very confident in the team. It will be very cool crossing the yard of bricks like so many great drivers have done before me."

The test also will mark the first time on the speedway's oval for third-generation drivers Marco Andretti and Al Unser, whose families own 10 Indianapolis 500 titles.

"I'm looking forward to the test," said Andretti, who debuted in the Menards Infiniti Pro Series with a victory April 3 in the Grand Prix of St. Petersburg. "I know Indy is a pretty tough place to get a handle on and get the car right, so we need to get as much information as we can at the test. We won't get much practice time when we come back for the race in May, so we need to get a lot done at the test and figure out what we need to be competitive."

Other first-timers expected for the test are rookies Nick Bussell, Jaime Camara, Wade Cunningham, Chris Festa, Rocky Moran Jr. and Mishael Abbott, the first woman to drive in the series.

Among the drivers expected who have raced on the oval previously are Jay Drake, Marty Roth and Jeff Simmons. Last year, Roth and Simmons competed in both the Futaba Freedom 100 and the Indianapolis 500. Simmons finished second in the support race. Drake, the 2004 USAC National Sprint Car champion, finished fourth in the Futaba Freedom 100, which was his debut in the Menards Infiniti Pro Series.

The 2005 Menards Infiniti Pro Series season continues with the Futaba Freedom 100 on May 27. The race will be telecast on ESPN2 at 2 p.m. EDT on May 27.

-irl-

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Series Indy Lights
Drivers Rocky Moran Jr. , Sam Schmidt , Mishael Abbott , Marty Roth , Marco Andretti , Jeff Simmons , Jay Drake , Nick Bussell , Chris Festa , Travis Gregg , Wade Cunningham , Jaime Camara , Al Unser