IPS: Series first car completes successful Texas test

Infiniti Pro Series car shows flawless speed at Texas test. FORT WORTH, Texas, Wednesday, April 24, 2002 -- Indy Racing League driver Robby McGehee completed more than 300 miles in challenging, changing conditions during the first superspeedway...

Infiniti Pro Series car shows flawless speed at Texas test.

FORT WORTH, Texas, Wednesday, April 24, 2002 -- Indy Racing League driver Robby McGehee completed more than 300 miles in challenging, changing conditions during the first superspeedway test of the new Infiniti Pro Series car April 24 at Texas Motor Speedway.

McGehee was pleased with the performance of the Infiniti-powered Dallara on Firestone tires on the 1.5-mile, high-banked Texas oval.

"I think we have a great race car here," said McGehee, the 1999 Indianapolis 500 Bank One Rookie of the Year. "It was real consistent. This is going to be a car that feels the same after 100 miles of racing. It says a lot for the Dallara chassis, the Firestone tires and the Infiniti motor. It pushed along very well."

McGehee recorded 151 laps during the one-day test, including a 66-lap, 100-mile nonstop run to close the day. The final session simulated the race distance for Infiniti Pro Series events and included a five-degree temperature drop in the weather and a significant wind shift midway through the run.

"We had a changing wind condition during the last session, and it still felt very solid," said McGehee, who performed the initial shakedown of the Infiniti Pro Series car April 8 at Walt Disney World Speedway. "It takes a fast race car to be challenged at this track. The IRL cars are almost flat out here. I think these Infiniti Pro Series cars will put on a great race like the Indy Racing League does."

Roger Bailey, executive director of the Infiniti Pro Series, was equally optimistic following the day's activities.

"We are extremely pleased with the test, especially the last run when we did 66 laps nonstop," Bailey said. "Many times in tests like this, you get 10-lap runs, and everything is fine. Then you put it all together in a long run with the gradual heat buildup, the wheel bearings start to get hot, and the gearbox starts to malfunction. To get a 100-mile race distance out of the way was well worth the test.

"It was almost the most extreme conditions we could find with the temperature and the wind change, but we are very happy with it. We have some fine tuning to do, some bits and pieces that we think we can improve on, but the basic car -- the uprights, drive shafts and everything -- ran flawlessly. I don't think we can ask any more of it."

Eddie Gossage, executive vice president and general manager of Texas Motor Speedway, was trackside at the test and liked what he saw.

"The Infiniti Pro Series car is impressive, both to look at and hear," Gossage said. "The series will give a wide variety of drivers the opportunity to display their skills. The Dallas Morning News Pole Day will be even better for the fans with the addition of the Infiniti Pro Series championship race."

The inaugural season of the Infiniti Pro Series will begin July 7 at Kansas Speedway and culminate with the Sept. 14 season finale at Texas Motor Speedway. Nashville Superspeedway, Michigan International Speedway, Kentucky Speedway, Gateway International Raceway and Chicagoland Speedway also will play host to Infiniti Pro Series events in 2002.

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 take place the day before the IRL's season-ending Chevy 500.

Infiniti Q45 engines will power new Dallara Automobili chassis built for the series, with Firestone Firehawk tires used exclusively on all cars. The V8 engines will produce approximately 450 horsepower for the single-seat winged chassis, providing an ideal training ground for the 650-horsepower, single-seat winged cars of the Indy Racing League.

-irl/ips-

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Series Indy Lights
Drivers Robby McGehee , Roger Bailey