Kentucky Open Test washed out by weepers
Competition is so close in the IZOD IndyCar Series through five races - five drivers representing four teams separated by 38 points in the top five of the standings -- that 14 drivers assembled at Kentucky Speedway May 4 to get a jump on the five remaining 1.5-mile ovals on the schedule (including Kentucky on Sept. 4) even though the next race on the 2010 schedule is the Indianapolis 500 at the 2.5-mile Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
"Most importantly for all of us it's track time," said Scott Dixon, who extended his IZOD IndyCar Series record to 22 victories May 1 in the Road Runner Turbo Indy 300 at the 1.5-mile Kansas Speedway. "We get so little of it so any time you get a free session on a track that is very useful."
Persistent weepers, however, at Kentucky Speedway, caused in part by more than 6 inches of rain over the weekend and overnight May 4, forced cancellation of the IZOD IndyCar Series test the 1.5-mile oval.
"It's a difficult decision to cancel the test," Indy Racing League president of competition and racing operations Brian Barnhart said. "You have a beautiful day and it's a shame we can't be on track. It's not worth the risk right now. There's no upside to it at all. The (track) conditions aren't what they need to be to go out and run the race cars and learn what the teams here need to learn."
Seven Firestone Indy Lights rookies were on the track May 3 for an oval orientation/test, but that session was delayed more than five hours because of track conditions.
"It's disappointing to not be able to drive the Verizon Team Penske car, but if you can't run safely it's not worth running," IZOD IndyCar Series points leader Will Power said. "I don't think the running we would have done here would have translated to Indy, but it would have been more experience for me and it would have been good to get some oval testing in."
Added Target Chip Ganassi Racing's Dario Franchitti, the reigning IZOD IndyCar Series champion: "It is disappointing, but you have to think safety first. The track is wet in a lot of places and you can't run the normal line, so you're not going to learn much. Hopefully (the IRL) will give us an alternative, either some tires to get private testing some place or another chance to come back here before the race."
The Indianapolis Motor Speedway opens May 15 for practice, with the run for the PEAK Performance Pole Award and the first 24 starting positions in the Indianapolis 500 on May 22.