Barber Motorsports Park, Leeds (Birmingham), Alabama - Image Credit: Google Earth via aimsports.com
A Transition Player Places P1 In Final ICS Test
Will Power, a CCWS/IRL sophomore who now drives, at least temporarlly, for the primier established IRL team, Penske Racing, posted the fastest track time among the sixteen drivers working out the pre season kinks in the final test session held at Barber Motorsports Park, Leeds, Alabama.
In 2008, Power began his IndyCar Series career driving for KV Racing Technology; where he earned his third Indy car victory in Long Beach and scored five top-ten finishes. In addition, the Australian started from the pole in the post-season exhibition event at Surfers Paradise and led the first 16 laps before an accident forced him out of the race.
Here is what the five Transition Players who participated in this final test session had to say:
WILL POWER, who currently replaces Helio Castroneves in the No. 3 Team Penske Dallara, effused, "It was good. I haven't spent much time with this team, so I spent the two days gelling with my engineer. We're really working well together now. We found some good things in the car, and we found a car that suits me.
We're happy and we'll be pretty confident going into St. Pete. This is a great track to get fit on because you never stop working. We won't use this much energy getting around St. Pete, so it was a good workout. I was just happy to get back in the car on a road course."
Graham Rahal, driving the No. 02 Newman/Haas/Lanigan Racing Dallara logged in at P5 said, "The car is pretty good. We're learning quite a lot, which is important. I think at the end of the day we're competitive here, but that's not what matters most. What matters most to us is to make sure that when we go to all the road races we've got a good shot at winning, and that's what we're trying to do right now - learn as much as we can. I think we're doing that. We've got a lot more knowledge and understanding than we did before, and that's what we need. We're trying things that we hope we can adapt to other tracks. That's been our focus."
Robert Doornbos - "Bobby D", who drives the No. 06 Newman/Haas/Lanigan Racing Dallara and ended the sessions at P6, commented on his sessions with, “I was very happy to drive on a circuit that I am familiar with, where I can use my experience in setting the car up to my liking and getting to know the team better, because it’s a whole new adventure for me.
This morning we did only 10 laps and the gearbox broke, so we had to wait a couple of hours to get it fixed. We just had to stay focused for the afternoon and make the most of it. We had a good setup and we got the car to my liking and did a quick lap time. I think it’s very important to make a good first impression, because the team gave me this chance. They know what I can do. They know that I can win races, and I just need to prove it.”
Justin Wilson, driving the No. 18 Dale Coyne Racing Dallara, who finished ninth overall felt, “We had our ups and downs today trying to shave off time. We started out with a bit of oversteer and brought the setup closer to where I was comfortable. Unfortunately, we ran out of time just as we were making great progress.”
Mario Moraes, who now will be driving for KV Racing Technology, missed most of the afternoon after the No. 5 KV Racing Technology car sustained damage after contact with the tire barrier shortly before the lunch break. Moraes returned to the track for the final 20 minutes.
(Quotes - ht: autoracingdaily.com)
This excerpted and edited from autosport.com -
Power leads final IndyCar winter test
By Matt Beer
The Australian's long-term future with Penske remains unclear, as he has been signed as a substitute for Helio Castroneves while the former Indianapolis 500 winner is on trial for tax evasion charges. Castroneves' trial began in Miami three weeks ago.
But Power showed that he has already settled into the Penske Dallara-Honda by lapping in 1m09.4557s today, beating second-placed Dario Franchitti (Ganassi) by 0.3 seconds.
Newman/Haas/Lanigan duo Graham Rahal and Robert Doornbos completed the top six, while Marco Andretti was Andretti Green Racing's leading representative in seventh. His team-mate Tony Kanaan, who was next up in eighth, played down AGR's low-key performance.
"The great thing about a test is not having the pressure of lap times and who is the fastest," he said. "We are only concerned about figuring out what to do to make the car better overall. We need to understand the changes that we make and learn what or what not to do to in order to make the car better."
KV Racing's Mario Moraes had starred in the previous test at Homestead last month, but crashed today and missed most of the afternoon session, leaving him 14th. Panther Racing driver Dan Wheldon and Luczo Dragon's rookie Raphael Matos were among the other drivers to have small incidents during the test.
Pos - Driver - Team - Time - Gap (* denotes a Transition Player)
1. *Will Power Penske 1m09.4557s
2. Dario Franchitti Ganassi 1m09.7776s + 0.3219s
3. Ryan Briscoe Penske 1m09.8401s + 0.3844s
4. Scott Dixon Ganassi 1m09.8904s + 0.4347s
5. *Graham Rahal Newman/Haas/Lanigan 1m09.9176s + 0.4619s
6. *Robert Doornbos Newman/Haas/Lanigan 1m10.0229s + 0.5672s
7. Marco Andretti Andretti Green 1m10.0908s + 0.6351s
8. Tony Kanaan Andretti Green 1m10.3072s + 0.8515s
9. *Justin Wilson Dale Coyne 1m10.3177s + 0.8620s
10. Hideki Mutoh Andretti Green 1m10.3573s + 0.9017s
11. Dan Wheldon Panther 1m10.5267s + 1.0710s
12. Mike Conway Dreyer & Reinbold 1m10.6965s + 1.2408s
13. Raphael Matos Luczo Dragon 1m10.7051s + 1.2494s
14. *Mario Moraes KV 1m10.7207s + 1.2650s
15. Danica Patrick Andretti Green 1m10.8411s + 1.3854s
16. Ed Carpenter Vision 1m11.5245s + 2.0688s
IRL Timing & Scoring
The test was the second and final official ICS Open Test before the 2009 season begins April 5 with the Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg. Several teams still plan to fit in private tests before the championship gets underway.
... notes from The EDJE