Rubens Barrichello climbed the 24-degree banking between Turns 1 and 2 at Texas Motor Speedway and exclaimed (well, fill in your own expletive).
It's a new chapter in the career of the 19-year Formula One veteran and four-race veteran of the IZOD IndyCar Series.
Barrichello hit the 1.5-mile track at 8:52 a.m. (local) for his IZOD IndyCar Series oval rookie test after KV Racing Technology teammate Tony Kanaan shook down the No. 8 Chevrolet-powered car. Fifty-five minutes later and after maintaining a steady 205-206 mph pace through three stints, Barrichello's facial features eased.
"It's different from anything I've tried," said Barrichello, who has top-10 finishes in his past three road/street course races and is 11th in the championship standings. "On my second run, after I broke the 200s, I was very rude on the radio because I was so excited. I said it was truly awesome, but not in a good manner.
"I am comfortable running, but I just need another 5,000 days to get it to the level of Tony. I've had places in Formula One that they say there's a big corner that's a big challenge, but the walls are never so close. I'm truly excited, but my mind is still processing everything from the 55 minutes on the track. I think as a rookie I think I did OK. I guessed (IZOD IndyCar Series officials) agreed."
With Kanaan and E.J. Viso on hand, Barrichello was scheduled to test from 8-11 p.m. March 6. But that session was put off until today.
"Tony told me a lot of things that helped, and I think he might have tried to make me cringe, too," Barrichello said with a laugh.
The remainder of the day for all 11 drivers will be dedicated to confirming the aerodynamic spec for the June 8-9 Firestone 550 and getting in laps on an oval in preparation for the Indianapolis 500.
"I told the officials to let everyone running close to me to give a margin because I'm still not so comfortable running just one lane; maybe one and a half lanes," Barrichello said. "I'm definitely a newcomer. It's an exciting challenge. (If it wasn't) I would have stayed home. I truly love this."
â€¢ A.J. Foyt Racing's Mike Conway, Wade Cunningham
â€¢ Ed Carpenter Racing's Ed Carpenter
â€¢ KV Racing Technology’s Rubens Barrichello
â€¢ Novo Nordisk Chip Ganassi Racing’s Charlie Kimball
â€¢ Service Central Chip Ganassi Racing’s Graham Rahal
â€¢ Target Chip Ganassi Racing’s Scott Dixon, Dario Franchitti
â€¢ Team Penske’s Ryan Briscoe, Helio Castroneves, Will Power
Barrichello and Cunningham will participate in the Rookie Orientation Program at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway on May 10. That 10 a.m.-6 p.m. session also is free and open to the public for viewing from the South Terrace Grandstand. IndyCar.com