Four IndyCar drivers test in Texas

Tire testing at TMS
Tire testing at TMS

IndyCar Series teams Chip Ganassi Racing and Ed Carpenter Racing participated in a successful Firestone tire test Thursday at Texas Motor Speedway in preparation for the June 8 DXC Technology 600.

Five-time and reigning series champion Scott Dixon and INDYCAR rookie Felix Rosenqvist wheeled the No. 9 and No. 10 Chip Ganassi Racing Honda-powered entries around the 1.5-mile oval while Ed Carpenter and Spencer Pigot were at the controls of the No. 20 and No. 21 Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet-powered entries.

The DXC Technology 600 is part of the June 6-8 doubleheader weekend which will also include the June 7 Rattlesnake 400 NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series race.

The following are quotes gathered during the day’s lunch break:

Scott Dixon – “I think any time you can be on track — it’s pretty limited these days — I think we get three test days out of season. We had a great car here last year, winning the race, but the track changes, right? The surface was fairly new two years ago, and it evolves. It gets less grip. We’re here, maybe with a different package to try and tighten up the racing. There’s always a lot of things that change that you want to at least try to stay on top of so anytime you can get any laps in one of these Indy cars these days is very critical and very crucial."

“We’ll probably start testing at Indy here soon once the weather warms up but it’s always nice to get to any oval. We’ve only got a few of them left on the schedule, with four or five of them, but Texas has been a great race for us throughout the years. It’s always good to be here and be back on an oval.

Felix Rosenqvist – “This is actually my first-ever oval test in an Indy car. I’ve done two races in Indy Lights back in ’16 at Indy and Phoenix. This is like starting over from zero again in an Indy car. It’s an awesome place to come to. I’ve seen this track in both NASCAR and INDYCAR through the years. It’s a fast place. We’ve done 40 laps or something in the morning, and it will be a lot more in the afternoon but so far so good."

“Every lap on an oval will be a big learning curve because some of these guys have done ovals for 20 years and this is Day 1 for me. I’d say getting up to speed is one thing but then all the little details: racing each other, driving on cold tires, pit stops, pit in/pit out. It’s like the first day in school, really. This day will be massively important for me to build for the next couple of oval tests and races."

Ed Carpenter – “It’s always a privilege to do a Firestone tire test and help them with the development of the already great tire that they make. But any time you’re on track you’re learning something as a driver and as a team. This is still a relatively new surface since Texas has been redone. But things change every off-season. Race tracks age just like I do so it’s nice to have that leg up to see what’s different from last year. We didn’t have a great race here last year so we were excited to get back and see what improvements we had made on things we thought we could improve on. It’s great to be here. The weather is pretty nice. I wish it was a little hotter because it’s always hot in June but it’s great to be at Texas Motor Speedway."

“It’s a place that I love racing. I’ve had highs here, obviously and lows. Hopefully this will be a high year. Of all my victory lanes, it’s been the coolest one. I think the only one that I know for sure that will be able to one-up it is Indianapolis. Texas shouldn’t feel bad about that. Eddie Gossage and the whole team here at TMS does a great job. It’s my second, third favorite stop of the year. It just depends on what my balance on the car is."

“I haven’t been in the car since October. To get back into an NTT Indy car and be able to go fast … that’s what I love to do the most and this is one of the fastest places we go to so great to be here."

Spencer Pigot – “To come out here and test at Texas is always important. Track time is what we all are looking for and to be able to come here and get a head start for when we come back in June is great. We’re doing lots of different tests. Ed’s doing a lot of stuff for Firestone and I’m doing a couple things for INDYCAR, and we’re trying to figure out a package to make the race even better than it was last year."

“I learned a lot last year at Texas. It’s a very intense, long race. There’s always something going on. Throughout the race I learned about different situations, running in traffic here and how to set up the passes so I think coming back it will be just be starting from where I finished the race here last year. It’s definitely a few steps ahead of going into it in 2018. We’ll make improvements to the car and I’ve made improvements to my driving so I’m looking forward to, hopefully, be competitive."

The Texas Motor Speedway season opens March 29-31 with the O'Reilly Auto Parts 500 NASCAR tripleheader. The race weekend features the Gander Outdoors Truck Series Vankor 350 on Friday, March 29; the Xfinity Series My Bariatric Solutions 300 on Saturday, March 30; and the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series O'Reilly Auto Parts 500 on Sunday, March 31.

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