Teams use test day to get to know Pocono (Update)

UPDATE A reader writes, Dear, this report is useless. As a fan I want to see test times and speeds. Did you guys write this trash? Joe Balardo, Clifton NJ.

Dear Joe, Sorry, but while test times are made available for all other series, including F1, IndyCar is so high-tech and so sophisticated, they don't release test times for fear one team might learn another team ran faster with their spec cars. How fast cars go is all very hush hush. We'll see if anyone has a printout from the manufacturers in an effort to keep you fans engaged. Mark C.

06/25/13 Eight IZOD IndyCar Series teams took an opportunity June 25 to get a close-up look at Pocono Raceway during a test day at "The Tricky Triangle."

Seat time and race setups were the order of the day as Marco Andretti, James Hinchcliffe, Ryan Hunter-Reay and E.J. Viso (Andretti Autosport), Sebastian Saavedra (Dragon Racing), Ed Carpenter (Ed Carpenter Racing), Ryan Briscoe (Panther Racing), Simona De Silvestro and Tony Kanaan (KV Racing Technology), Helio Castroneves and Will Power (Team Penske) logged laps on 2.5-mile tri-oval as part of a Chevrolet manufacturer's test.

James Jakes and Graham Rahal of Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing and Josef Newgarden of Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing also tested their Honda-powered cars.

An Open Test is scheduled for July 4 in advance of the Pocono INDYCAR 400 Fueled by Sunoco on July 7.

"It's always good to be out there," said Castroneves, the IZOD IndyCar Series championship 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."

The race will be the middle leg of the Fuzzy's Triple Crown, which carries a $1 million bonus if Kanaan can sweep the races at Indianapolis, Pocono and Auto Club Speedway. A driver who wins two of the three will receive a $250,000 bonus.

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