Briscoe moves to top in Homestead
Team Penske's Ryan Briscoe moved to the top of the time charts midway through the second of two days of IndyCar Series "Spring Training", Wednesday at Homestead-Miami Speedway, to lead a 21-car field of Honda-powered IndyCars as drivers and teams began official preparations for the 2009 season.
Defending series champion Scott Dixon ran quickest on the opening day, and second overall, for Target Chip Ganassi Racing. Dixon was followed by Andretti Green Racing teammates Marco Andretti and Tony Kanaan in third and fourth, respectively. Returning to IndyCar competition after a one-year absence, Dario Franchitti was ranked fifth, tied to the fourth decimal place by Mario Moraes, the second-year driver making an impressive debut with the KV Racing Technology team after a season with Dale Coyne Racing in 2008.
Pre-season testing continues on the road course at Barber Motorsports Park near Birmingham, Alabama, March 22-23. The 18-race 2009 IndyCar Series season commences on with the Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg on April 5.
Ryan Briscoe (#6 Team Penske Honda) fastest in IndyCar Spring Training pre-season testing: "It was great to get back into the Team Penske car once again. We had a lot of time over the two days to try new things, and get to know some of the new guys on the team. I think we were able to learn a lot, and we made some big gains over the two days."
MARCO ANDRETTI (No. 26 Andretti Green Racing, third): "I'm really happy. We were able to test different setups that are going to benefit the Meijer car and the entire AGR team. It definitely has been a productive couple of days. I'm so confident in the setup we found that I wish we were racing tonight or tomorrow. We had a decent time, but that aside, I think we are strong overall. I'm looking forward to Barber in a few weeks and a great start to the season."
TONY KANAAN (No. 11 Andretti Green Racing, fourth): "Today was another productive day. We found some good things during this test. We never really worry about speed during a test like this; it's mainly about getting the motions down and getting the team back together. After five months of not driving, it is really important just to get everybody back to work. It was a positive test. We ran all four cars both days and had no problems. Now it's time to go back to the shop and sort out so we can be ready for Kansas."
MARIO MORAES (No. 5 KV Racing Technology, fifth): "My second day with KV Racing Technology was pretty good. We finished fifth. Like yesterday, we were not worrying about the speed but the setup of the No. 5 KV Racing Technology Votorantim car for the race, which we think we may have found. I am pleased with what we have achieved with the two days of testing and look forward to the road course test in March."
WILL POWER (No. 3 Team Penske, sixth): "We took a lot of data from yesterday and worked away at it. We were really comfortable with the Team Penske car at the end. It was good to get some miles under my belt. We worked on a number of different setups and learned as much as we could about the car. It's good for me to have a couple of days like this where you get to know everyone on the team."
MIKE CONWAY (No. 24 Dreyer & Reinbold Racing, eighth): "It's all about learning each time I go out - learning about running with traffic, how the tires come in, just things with setup like aero changes, mechanical changes. They all feel quite different. I've really got a feel as to what the car is doing and how it's reacting to each change. I've been learning how to run in different lines and how to react in traffic. Lots learned throughout the test. Each day was another positive step. It was a good test overall. I have to thank the Dreyer & Reinbold guys for the hard work and great job they've done in getting me acclimated to everything. I can't wait to get back on the track again."
HIDEKI MUTOH (No. 27 Andretti Green Racing, 10th): "We struggled a bit in the first half of the session, but after the break I think we found a really good race car. I'm very happy with everything we learned this weekend and I feel good moving forward. Overall I think the team is very happy as well. We are ready for Kansas in April."
RAPHAEL MATOS (No. 12 Luczo Dragon Racing): "It was a tough day, but we learned a lot. We sat down last night and made changes to the car but the changes didn't work. The good thing is we know what we need in the car and we know what we need to do to make it faster. We just need to regroup. Overall the tests were good. This is the most competitive place with all the top drivers. We didn't expect to come in and beat everyone in the first test. We're a young team, and I'm a rookie. I think we worked really well together and we are all committed to improving."
E.J. VISO (No. 13 HVM Racing): "The two days have been very productive. It's been a while since we have been on an oval, and I think we learned a lot of good things. I am very happy to be back with the team. I think it's a very promising season, this being our second year together, and I'm looking forward to it."
JUSTIN WILSON (No. 18 Dale Coyne Racing): "We made a great deal of progress today getting the setup closer to where I'm comfortable. I think we made great strides coming together as a team. I definitely feel we have laid a solid foundation to build on for the season."
VITOR MEIRA (No. 14 A.J. Foyt Racing): "It was a very good first general test for us - not only for speed but also our ability to recover from the first day when we weren't very good. It shows we were communicating and we were making priorities of things we need to do. We are thinking alike, which is important. This is a very hard oval so if you run good here it gives you a good baseline for the other ovals."
DANICA PATRICK (No. 7 Andretti Green Racing): "I was pleasantly surprised these past two days. Since we have had five months off, I think I acclimated faster and better than in the past years at the Open Test. Of course I wish I would have had some more speed, but we really wanted to use these two days to work on different setups. I feel really good about going into the season and look forward to Kansas to see if we were able to make the appropriate changes so we can have a great race and a strong finish for the Motorola car."
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