Wheldon tops IRL oval test
2005 IndyCar Series champion Dan Wheldon paced the IndyCar Series Open Test on the oval at Homestead-Miami Speedway for the second consecutive day, but this time without incident.
Wheldon, who was fastest during testing on Day 1 at the variably banked 1.5-mile oval, recorded a lap of 24.9405 seconds, 214.350 mph in the No. 10 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Honda-powered Dallara.
"It was a very good test in terms of outright speed, but I did destroy a car the first day," Wheldon said. "That was my first crash since 2003. I'm performing well, but there are still some improvements that we can make. I know (Tony) Kanaan is quicker than he's letting on, and Sam (Hornish Jr.) is always quick. Scott (Dixon) had a little bit of trouble with his car, but it will be fixed and he'll be up with us for the race.
"It was a productive two days other than the fact that I did $300,000 worth of damage. Chip (Ganassi) was nice about it. I have a good relationship with Chip. I made a mistake yesterday. I was working in traffic, and I just lost too much of the car too soon. You're going to make mistakes. I never said that I was perfect. But when you race on ovals and you make a mistake, it can be expensive. Chip understands that, and I think he respects that fact that if I make a mistake I'll tell him.
Wheldon's lap was faster than 2006 IndyCar Series champion Sam Hornish Jr. in the No. 6 Team Penske Honda-powered Dallara, who recorded a best lap of 24.9606, 214.178 mph. Tony Kanaan (214.119 mph) Marco Andretti (213.944 mph) and Helio Castroneves (213.869 mph) rounded out the day's fast five.
"We're not exactly where we want to be yet, but we're in a lot better shape than where we were last night," Hornish said. "We're going to continue to analyze the data to see if we can continue to move forward. Hopefully, we'll have everything straightened out when we come back for the race."
Pos Driver Diff Best Time Best Speed
1 Dan Wheldon (10) ... 24.9405 214.350
2 Sam Hornish Jr (6) 0.0201 24.9606 214.178
3 Tony Kanaan (11) 0.0269 24.9674 214.119
4 Marco Andretti (26) 0.0474 24.9879 213.944
5 Helio Castroneves (3) 0.0561 24.9966 213.869
6 Scott Dixon (9) 0.1127 25.0532 213.386
7 Dario Franchitti (27) 0.1349 25.0754 213.197
8 Buddy Rice (15) 0.1616 25.1021 212.970
9 Vitor Meira (4) 0.1913 25.1318 212.719
10 Tomas Scheckter (2) 0.1914 25.1319 212.718
11 Scott Sharp (8) 0.2352 25.1757 212.348
12 Kosuke Matsuura (55) 0.2504 25.1909 212.219
13 Danica Patrick (7) 0.2533 25.1938 212.195
14 Jeff Simmons (17) 0.2913 25.2318 211.875
15 Ed Carpenter (20) 0.2972 25.2377 211.826
16 Sarah Fisher (5) 0.3140 25.2545 211.685
17 Darren Manning (14) 0.3622 25.3027 211.282
18 A J Foyt IV (22) 0.4353 25.3758 210.673
19 Marty Roth (25) 0.5233 25.4638 209.945
DAY 2 TESTING QUOTEBOOK:
TONY KANAAN (No. 11 Team 7-Eleven Dallara/Honda/Firestone): "This was really a one-day test for Team 7-Eleven. We had some issues yesterday and didn't get much time on the track. We had the speed today for sure but I'm not happy with my race car. It was productive because we learned what to do and what not to do but we don't have any test days left to get ready for the first race so we'll see what happens."
MARCO ANDRETTI (No. 26 NYSE Group Dallara/Honda/Firestone): "I have to hand it to the NYSE team. They did an awesome job getting the car ready and finding exactly what we need. There's still work to do but now we're in it. I didn't always look forward to coming to one-and-a-half mile ovals last year but if this test is any indication, I think we'll be in good shape this year."
HELIO CASTRONEVES (No. 3 Team Penske Dallara/Honda/Firestone): "Things seem to be a little different for us this year with the changes in the rear wing and a new tire compound, so we've been searching for the right combination that will allow us to get to the top of the speed charts. I think that there are a lot of teams like us who aren't exactly where they want to be at this point. We've made progress, though, so we're optimistic that when the engineers get back to the race shop and have a chance to analyze the data we've collected that we'll be able to come back here in a couple of weeks and contend for the win."