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Seven drivers to test at Barber Motorsports Park
Dan Wheldon has been anxiously awaiting the IndyCar Series Open Test at Barber Motorsports Park. Not only is it the IndyCar Series' first test on the 2.38-mile, 16-turn road course at in Birmingham, Ala., it's also one of the few opportunities he will have to drive the car before the winter. It's all part of the off-season planning for the 16-race IndyCar Series season.

"It's great to get back in the Target car and test so soon after the end of the season," the 2005 IndyCar Series champion said. "It might not seem like it's been that long since the last race, but to a driver, it's an eternity because that's where we love to be. Any time that we can get on track to test is a chance for us to improve, and it's really important to drivers and teams to push forward with development in order to raise the level of competition for the next season of racing."

Wheldon will join six other drivers from four IndyCar Series teams at the test, which will allow IndyCar Series officials to further evaluate technical changes for the upcoming season.

"The test will help us further access the variable ratio steering racks that a few teams will have and it will be phase two of the paddle shifting installation program," said Les Mactaggart, senior technical director for the IndyCar Series. "One of the Ganassi cars will have that system, and this test is a chance to have more miles put on the system."

Wheldon or his Target Chip Ganassi Racing teammate Scott Dixon will use the paddle-shifting system during the one-day test.

"It's always exciting to take part in the evaluation of a new venues and possible additions to the IndyCar Series schedule," Wheldon said. "I've heard a lot about the track and can't wait to drive it first hand."

Other drivers scheduled to test are: Andretti Green Racing drivers Marco Andretti, Tony Kanaan and Danica Patrick, Team Penske's Helio Castroneves and Panther Racing's Vitor Meira.

IndyCar Series Open Test

Barber Motorsports Park, 16-turn, 2.38-mile circuit

9 a.m. - 5 p.m. Oct. 12

Dallara chassis; Honda Indy V-8; Firestone tires; 100 percent fuel-grade ethanol

SCHEDULE (All times local; subject to change):
9a.m. - Noon IndyCar Series testing
Noon - 1 p.m. Lunch Break
1 - 5 p.m. IndyCar Series testing

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