IndyCar teams take on tests before off-weekend
Following eight consecutive weekends of on-track activity, there's one more point of business for most IZOD IndyCar Series teams this week before personnel grab a few days off. Manufacturer/private testing is scheduled for three venues - two of which are approaching on the schedule.
"Pocono is our next big challenge; we need to turn our attention to that and try and be as fast as we can there," Graham Rahal, driver of the No. 15 Midas/Big O Tires car for Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing, said about the 2.5-mile oval where he and teammate James Jakes will log laps June 25. "That's the goal right now."
Open Tests during the week leading into races at Pocono Raceway (July 4; race July 7), Mid-Ohio (July 31; race Aug. 4) and Sonoma Raceway (Aug. 21; race Aug. 25) also are scheduled.
The Pocono INDYCAR 400 Fueled by Sunoco (noon ET on ABC) will be the first Indy car race on the triangular oval since 1989, and is the second leg in the Fuzzy's Triple Crown that will award the winner of all three races on the superspeedways $1 million. Tony Kanaan, the Indianapolis 500 winner, has a leg up. If a driver wins two of the three (the third leg is the season finale at Auto Club Speedway on Oct. 19), they'll receive a $250,000 bonus.
"The more testing you can do, the better it is going to be for everyone on the team," said Jakes, driver of the No. 16 Acorn Stairlifts car. "I think it was a good to change from Mid-Ohio to Pocono as we only have one test there before the race, and having never been there before it could take a little bit of learning. Also if the pre-race test is rained out then it could have been very difficult so, for me, it was a good decision."
June 25 at Pocono (closed to the public)
Andretti Autosport (Marco Andretti, James Hinchcliffe, Ryan Hunter-Reay and E.J. Viso)
Dragon Racing (Sebastien Bourdais and Sebastian Saavedra)
Ed Carpenter Racing (Ed Carpenter)
Panther Racing (Ryan Briscoe)
KV Racing Technology (Simona De Silvestro and Tony Kanaan)
Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing (James Jakes and Graham Rahal)
Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing (Josef Newgarden)
Team Penske (Helio Castroneves and Will Power)
June 25 at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course
Dale Coyne Racing (Justin Wilson)
June 26 at Sebring International Raceway
Target Chip Ganassi Racing (Scott Dixon and Dario Franchitti)
Novo Nordisk Chip Ganassi Racing (Charlie Kimball)