IPS: Madison open test preview

Drivers eager for experience at Infiniti Pro Series tests. INDIANAPOLIS, Thursday, June 20, 2002 -- Ten drivers will turn their first official laps in an Indy Racing Infiniti Pro Series car at Open Tests scheduled for June 22 and 24 at Gateway...

Drivers eager for experience at Infiniti Pro Series tests.

INDIANAPOLIS, Thursday, June 20, 2002 -- Ten drivers will turn their first official laps in an Indy Racing Infiniti Pro Series car at Open Tests scheduled for June 22 and 24 at Gateway International Raceway and Chicagoland Speedway, respectively.

Arie Luyendyk Jr., Jason Priestley, Mike Koss, Marty Roth, Ed Carpenter, Aaron Fike and Cory Witherill will test their new Dallara chassis powered by 450-horsepower Infiniti V8 engines on Firestone tires at both the 1.25-mile Gateway oval and the 1.5-mile Chicagoland oval.

"I'm excited for everyone testing this weekend, including myself, to go out and see what the car is really going to be like," said Carpenter, driver of the No. 2 Menards/Johns Manville Sinden Racing Service Dallara. "All the racing I've done has been front-engine and with zero downforce in sprint cars. Having other cars at this test is going to help us understand what it will need to run well in clean air and dirty air.

"This type of racing is new for me, so it's going to help me work with downforce and get a feel for a rear-engine car and my ultimate goal of running in the IRL."

Hemelgarn 91/Johnson Motorsports driver Aaron Fike, fresh from his feature win in the USAC National Midget Car Series at the Buckeye Nationals on June 19 in Attica, Ohio, echoed Carpenter's enthusiasm.

"The tests should be a good deal," said Fike, 19. "I'm with a good team. I haven't been in the car yet, so I don't really know what to expect. I'm looking forward to it and am a little anxious to get in the car."

Kelley Racing test driver Tony Renna and Infiniti Pro Series hopefuls Matthew Halliday and G.J. Mennen also will take part in the tests. Halliday, a 23-year-old New Zealander who finished sixth last season in Indy Lights competition, will test for Bowes Seal Fast Racing. Mennen, from Austin, Texas, most recently competed in the NASCAR Winston West Series. He will test for Sam Schmidt Motorsports, which expects to field an Infiniti Pro Series team in addition to its Indy Racing League effort.

The inaugural, seven-race season of the new development series will begin July 7 at Kansas Speedway and culminate with the season finale Sept. 14 at Texas Motor Speedway.

The 100-mile Infiniti Pro Series "sprints" will take place at the same track and on the same day as Indy Racing League events except for the Texas race, which will be conducted the day before the IRL's season-ending Chevy 500.

Drivers will compete for a $100,000 purse at each Infiniti Pro Series race, and all events will be broadcast by ESPN2 and distributed worldwide via ESPN International.

-irl/ips-

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About this article
Series Indy Lights
Drivers Cory Witherill , Matthew Halliday , Sam Schmidt , Tony Renna , Marty Roth , Aaron Fike , Jason Priestley , Mike Koss , G.J. Mennen , Ed Carpenter , Arie Luyendyk Jr.