Rahal over 217 MPH at Pocono (Update) UPDATE IndyCar driver Ryan Hunter-Reay thought he was lost when he saw "NASCAR" signs lining the entrance road into Pocono Raceway.
"I saw 'NASCAR' on both of the tunnels coming in here. I thought there was a new tunnel we had to find" to get in, Hunter-Reay joked during a midday break from testing to help drivers figure out the track known as the "Tricky Triangle."
"It's always a compromise," Hunter-Reay said when asked if he had a feel yet for how to set up the car. "If you make one corner perfect, the next one is going to be loose. That's just the way this place is. You've got to look at what pays off the most."
"It's always good to be out there,” said Castroneves, the IZOD IndyCar Series points leader. “It doesn't matter if it's today or next week. We're always learning things that can help us. There aren't 20 cars here, but (the test) gives you the knowledge of where to start for the race weekend. It's a good opportunity."
While some drivers, such as Castroneves and Power, have been to Pocono for a Firestone tire test, it was the first chance for others to see the circuit that will host its first Indy car race since 1989. Newgarden came away impressed.
"Pocono is pretty incredible,” he said. “I've never been to an oval like this. It's a challenge and unlike anywhere we've been. It almost combines a bunch of ovals. You have one corner that's like Milwaukee. Another corner that's like Kentucky and one like Road America with a kink-like corner. It’s very unique and very difficult to get right."
Added Carpenter: "Turn 1 (at Pocono) is a beast in the IndyCar. It's going to be a fun corner to drive in the race and I think the fans will enjoy watching it. It's definitely different than any place I've ever been to. We were trying to compare it to places we've been in the past and it reminds me of Phoenix a little bit. It's its own animal.”06/25/13 Graham Rahal and James Jakes each completed a trouble-free day of testing at the 2.5-mile “Tricky Triangle” oval at Pocono Raceway today. Rahal ran 163 laps in his No. 15 Midas / Big O Tires Honda-Dallara-Firestone race car while Jakes completed 133 in his No. 16 Acorn Stairlifts car. It was the first time for both drivers on the course and each was suitably impressed.
“It’s a hairy son of a gun, I’ll tell you that,” said Rahal, 24, whose best lap time was a 217.4 mph average. “I’m pretty happy; I thought the Midas / Big O Tires car was really good. I think we found some really good things with the setup. I’m pleased. There is always more to be gained but by no means can I complain. Overall we tried a hell of a lot today, ran a lot and did one full-stint, long run and the car is solid, there aren’t a lot of complaints there. I ran in traffic just a little bit, not a ton. But at that time I wasn’t as happy with my car as I was at the end. At the end we trimmed out a little bit -- not a lot, just a hair – just to see how it was and unfortunately I got stuck in traffic on the low downforce run but the good thing was that the car felt good at that level. I think Honda made some good gains with some things we were working on so that was good.”
“This place is a bit nuts, that’s for sure,” added Jakes, 25, whose best lap time was a 216.2 mph average. “Obviously I have never been here so it was an interesting day. It was good to get as much in as we did today. The weather forecast didn’t look good a few days ago but it was great all day. We learned a lot and ran a lot of laps. I think it was good to come here over Mid-Ohio especially considering how unique Pocono is. All three corners are different and it’s quite difficult to get the car dialed in but I think we did a great job as a team. We tried to run in traffic but had an issue at the end. We have another test day here before the race weekend officially starts so that should be good.”
When asked what he thought of his father’s 500-mile win in 1988 at such a “tricky course,” Graham said “To be honest, I wish our race was going to be a 500-mile race now because this place is so much fun! And the reason its fun is that every corner is different, every corner is modeled after a different track and every corner has its different challenges. You come through Turn 1, you have a lot of grip, its good fun, flat out and you are pulling 5 G’s (G-forces) – which is absolutely insane! And then you go through Turn 2 which is a 90-degree quick kink. And then you go into Turn 3 which has really no banking at all, a long duration corner and you are sliding around. Overall, every corner is so different that I think it makes it really enjoyable.”