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DATE News (chronologically)
05/03/12
irl
Eleven drivers scheduled to test on Texas oval
A two-car test in February established the aerodynamic baseline for the new Dallara car to run in competition on the 1.5-mile, high-banked Texas Motor Speedway oval in June. On May 7, a larger sampling will take to the track in preparation for the June 8-9 Firestone 550.

Eleven car/driver combinations will participate in the 8:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m. (local) Open Test that's five days before the opening of practice for the Indianapolis 500. The event is open to the public and free, with entrance through Gate 4.

"We're going to Texas to confirm that the aero spec that we laid down is correct," INDYCAR vice president of technology Will Phillips said. "We made a commitment that we would run cars at Texas in a small number and go back to run the cars in as big a group as possible prior to racing there. It will also give us an insight into Indianapolis."

Participants:

• A.J. Foyt Racing's Mike Conway, Wade Cunningham

• Ed Carpenter Racing's Ed Carpenter

• KV Racing Technology's Rubens Barrichello

• Novo Nordisk Chip Ganassi Racing's Charlie Kimball

• Service Central Chip Ganassi Racing's Graham Rahal

• Target Chip Ganassi Racing's Scott Dixon, Dario Franchitti

• Team Penske's Ryan Briscoe, Helio Castroneves, Will Power

For the February test, Dallara-provided aero pieces for the production cars of Tony Kanaan and Briscoe that were tested in the full-scale wind tunnel a month earlier. The production cars were slightly different from the prototype that was evaluated on the Homestead-Miami Speedway, Auto Club Speedway, Iowa Speedway and Indianapolis Motor Speedway ovals in autumn (different mirrors, different rear wheel fairings, subtle differences in chassis construction and better integration of the Zylon side intrusion panels).

From data and driver feedback from the February test -- along with Open Tests at Sebring International Raceway and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and the four road/street course races -- Dallara has made refinements that has produced qualifying event records at all four race venues and exciting racing.

"We were able to work on the balance of the car while we were there and got it to where it felt really solid," said Briscoe, the 2010 winner of the Firestone 550 at Texas, of the February test. "We've had very limited oval track time in general, so it will be a good pre-Indy test as well. It's a good chance to run together and see what we've got."

Cunningham, the 2005 Firestone Indy Lights champion who competed in the twin races at Texas Motor Speedway last June, will split time in the No. 14 ABC Supply car with full-time driver Conway while his No. 41 ECat/ABC Supply car is prepped for his first Indy 500.

"We haven't been on a mile and a half yet so we want to experience that and get on an oval before Indy starts up," team director Larry Foyt said. "We'll give Wade sometime in the new car to get comfortable and familiar with it before he starts ROP (May 10)."

The Open Test will be preceded May 6 by Barrichello taking his IZOD IndyCar Series oval test. The former Formula One driver, who has registered three consecutive top-10 finishes, also will participate in the Rookie Orientation Program.

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