Menards Infiniti Pro Series Set To Test At Indianapolis INDIANAPOLIS, Thursday, April 22, 2004 -- Menards Infiniti Pro Series teams and drivers will participate in an Open Test at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on April 23 as they prepare for the...
Menards Infiniti Pro Series Set To Test At Indianapolis
INDIANAPOLIS, Thursday, April 22, 2004 -- Menards Infiniti Pro Series teams and drivers will participate in an Open Test at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on April 23 as they prepare for the Futaba Freedom 100 on May 22.
The testing will be conducted in two sessions. The cars will be on track from 9 a.m. until noon, and from 1-4 p.m.
Series points leader Thiago Medeiros will be behind the wheel of one of an expected 18 cars at the test.
"Indianapolis is different than any other track we race on," said Medeiros, who finished second in the Homestead-Miami 100 and earned the victory in the Phoenix 100. "It's the top speeds of the year. You can really feel the speed here. There are very long straightaways and then you turn left 90 degrees. It's important to test here so you can develop the car, play with the aerodynamics and so many things."
Translating what they learn at the Open Test and turning that into a good set-up on race day could lead a team to a win in the marquee event of the 12-race season.
"It's a dream for everyone to race in Indy, the capital of auto racing," Medeiros said. "A strong performance in front of the many fans and media here would mean a very nice chance of moving up to the IndyCar Series in the future."
One driver who did just that is Ed Carpenter, who won the inaugural Freedom 100 last year driving for A.J. Foyt Enterprises. This year he drives the No. 52 Red Bull Cheever Racing Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone in the IndyCar® Series. While Carpenter won't be back to defend his title, the Foyt team will.
A.J. Foyt Enterprises, which also won the Menards Infiniti Pro Series championship in 2002, will enter the Futaba Freedom 100 with Jeff Simmons behind the wheel. Simmons won two races in 2003 and finished second in the overall points race, but has not raced this season.
"I'm glad that we are coming back to race at Indy in the Menards Infiniti Pro Series," said A.J. Foyt, the first four-time winner of the Indianapolis 500. "Winning the inaugural Freedom 100 last year was very special to me. Ed Carpenter drove a great race, winning the pole and leading every lap. Anytime you win at Indy it's special because it is the greatest track in the world. Being the first to do something there makes it even better because they can never take that away from you.
"I'm looking forward to having Jeff Simmons drive for me because he was one of the guys we had to beat last year. He was tough everywhere we went. Even though neither of us has run this year, I think we can put together a winning combination for the Futaba Freedom 100."
The Open Test will give some critical track time to owner-driver Marty Roth. Roth is also entered in the 88th Indianapolis 500 and will look to use the on-track time in his Menards Infiniti Pro Series car as an additional opportunity to familiarize himself with the Indianapolis Motor Speedway for his debut IndyCar Series race.
"It's an opportunity to go out in a car I know and get used to the track in the Pro Series car and then shift over to the IndyCar Series car," Roth said. "The fact that I run a Pro Series car will make it a lot easier. I know the Pro Series cars and will be able to get used to the track."
Roth Racing is the first team that started in the Menards Infiniti Pro Series to climb to the IndyCar Series.
The Futaba Freedom 100 will be broadcast live on ESPN2 at 2 p.m. EDT on May 22.