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Doornbos completes first day on an oval
Newly-announced Newman/Haas/Lanigan Racing (NHLR) driver Robert Doornbos completed his first day of testing on an oval tonight at the 1.5-mile Homestead-Miami Speedway.  Doornbos, 27, who joined three other IndyCar Series rookies at the test, completed 111 laps in the No. 06 Dallara-Honda-Firestone entry. 

“Driving on an oval is definitely different than I expected,” said Doornbos.  “It felt like going to a new school on the first day.  I didn’t really know what to expect but I got a lot of information from the team but you have to do it for yourself.  The first five laps I thought ‘Oh my god, where did I end up?’ But that’s because you have to run at a certain pace and once you reach that pace its actually quite fun so we ended the day on a good note and I can go to bed with a smile.  

"I already got the bug and want to go faster and faster so that’s a good thing.  Today was definitely the fastest I have gone in a race car and I am quite proud.  I have no idea what to expect with traffic.  It must be something like driving in the middle of the night in China, the traffic is quite bad there.  I will just take it as it comes.  It’s a steep learning curve but I enjoy it like this.”

The first open test of the 2009 IndyCar Series season will take place tomorrow from 4 p.m. to 10 p.m. and continue Wednesday night.  After competing in the No. 6 and 06 entry for NHLR the past two years, respectively, Graham Rahal will move to the No. 02 car for the season. 

The 2009 season will begin with the Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg on April 5.  NHLR earned their first ICS victory, and 106th of 107 overall in the event in 2008 when Rahal became the youngest winner in series history in his Indy car racing debut. 

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