Medeiros fastest in Phoenix The second and last preseason test session for the Indy Racing League Menards Infiniti Pro Series happened today, February 10, in Phoenix, AZ. Brazilian Thiago Medeiros was again the fastest on track, and set the new...
Medeiros fastest in Phoenix
The second and last preseason test session for the Indy Racing League Menards Infiniti Pro Series happened today, February 10, in Phoenix, AZ. Brazilian Thiago Medeiros was again the fastest on track, and set the new record for the recently modified track.
In the morning session, Thiago was already about a second faster than last year's pole, lapping in 23.054 seconds:"We were fast immediately, in my second outing, and from that point on we started testing a lot of things", said Medeiros.
In the afternoon session, Sam Schmidt Motorsports' team kept on working with shocks and dampers, trying to find mechanical grip, and Thiago bettered his new mark, to 22.971 seconds, the only driver in the day to drop below the 23 seconds mark: "We are still not where we want to go, but we found some good directions. My fastest time was on fairly used tires...we worked a lot on the (mechanical) area which is harder to set during a race weekend".
Second on the day was American Jesse Mason, with 23.278 seconds, before he came in contact with the SAFER wall on turn 4 at the end of practice, without serious consequences. Third was another American, Phil Giebler fresh out of his season in International F3000 with Red Bull, with 23.307 seconds.
Phoenix International Raceway gave drivers a different look than the 1.5-mile Homestead-Miami Speedway they tested on Jan. 27. Construction crews eliminated the opening in the backstretch wall and widened the exit to Turn 2. In addition, a portion of Turn 4 was torn up to build a tunnel, and asphalt in that area was repaved. Turns 1 and 2 have 11 degrees of banking, while Turns 3 and 4 have 9 degrees of banking. Said Medeiros: "The track is about 10 feet wider in the exit to Turn 2. It just makes the track safer, I think. It's also a little bit quicker because you can carry a little bit more speed into the turn and have a little more room on the back straightway."
The 2004 Menards Infiniti Pro Series season-opener, the Homestead 100, is scheduled for Feb. 29 at Homestead-Miami Speedway. ESPN2 will broadcast the event at 4 p.m. on March 4.
THIAGO MEDEIROS (No. 11 Sam Schmidt Motorsports Dallara/Infiniti/ Firestone): "The car ran pretty well. We started to try some things, like make more mechanical changes than aero package because sometimes during a race weekend, we don't have time to set up the car and make those big changes. We're trying to set up the car for qualifying and for the race." (About testing with a teammate for the first time): "Arie (Luyendyk Jr.) is a very good driver and a good guy. It's better because we are testing different things, and now he can see my data, and I can see his data. We can learn from each other, and hopefully, we'll have a nice friendship between us and work together the same way."