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DATE News (chronologically)
04/29/08
irl
All eyes on Indy for IndyCar teams  Many of the teams that came over to IndyCar as a result of unification with Champ Car this year had all eyes on Kansas.

For them, the last weekend provided a final opportunity to work on oval-racing skills and packages before getting to Indy.

It also gave them a barometric reading on just how far their programs have come since their very first oval race, which was the season opener at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

In that race, the former Champ Car teams took a severe beating. At Kansas, they upgraded to only a minor beating.

“I am very happy with finishing 11th and getting some points after starting 23rd,” said driver Oriol Servia of KV Racing Technology. “The most important thing was the car was much better than Homestead, much better balanced.”

Garages at Indy opened Monday. On Saturday, technical inspections begin on the cars. On Sunday, the rookie orientation program begins. And on Tuesday, practice begins for all teams and drivers.

On May 10, the qualifying process for the 500 begins with pole day.

Practice at Indy this year will be more important than ever. Many of the drivers who have come into the IndyCar series by way of unification with Champ Car have never been there. Most will be considered rookies.

Wheldon expects that with the experience the newcomers got at Homestead and Kansas, and with a couple of full weeks of practice at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, this year’s 500 could be a gem.

“I think you saw Newman/Haas when they were there back in 2005 and they had a month or so to work on their cars, they were very, very strong in the race with (drivers Sebastien) Bourdais and (Bruno) Junqueira,” Wheldon said. “I would certainly expect them and KV Racing and some others to show strong.” KansasCity.com

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