IndyCar Series Kicks Off Two-Day Test At Daytona

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The IndyCar Series kicked off a two-day spring training test session at historic Daytona International Speedway on Wednesday.

The roar of 17 IndyCar Series teams can be heard throughout a 2.73-mile road course at the "The World Center of Racing." The teams are using the two-day test at DIS to prep for the five road/street course events on the 2007 IndyCar Series schedule.

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The preseason test is the second visit for the IndyCar Series to Daytona International Speedway. Last September, the IndyCar Series held a compatibility test at Daytona International Speedway with four teams - Chip Ganassi Racing, Penske Racing, Panther Racing and Andretti Green Racing.

"The name says everything," said Andretti Green Racing's Tony Kanaan, who was the fastest driver of the day with a speed of 135.549 mph in the four-hour afternoon session. "I walked into this place in September, it was my first time ever here, and I was pretty impressed. Again, last night when I walked in again, it always gives you that."

Penske's Helio Castroneves was the fastest in the two-hour morning session with a lap of 133.542 mph.

Andretti Green Racing's Danica Patrick has an issue with her seat in the morning session and only turned one lap in the car. In the afternoon session, she turned 57 laps with a top speed of 131.439 mph.

"On road courses especially, it¿s very important to be comfortable because you¿re constantly pushing the limits," Patrick said.

¿We kept making progress all day,¿ Patrick continued. ¿We kept going faster and faster all day. We started behind everyone else and trying to make it all up. I have no doubt that we¿ll make even more progress tomorrow.¿

One of the famous racing names participating in this week¿s IndyCar Series test is Marco Andretti.

The Andretti family has a storied history at Daytona. Marco¿s grandfather Mario Andretti won the 1967 Daytona 500 and the 1972 Rolex 24 while John Andretti, Marco¿s cousin, was victorious in the 1997 Pepsi 400.

This week isn¿t Andretti¿s first visit to Daytona. He participated in the Speedway¿s Daytona KartWeek events in 2002.

While Andretti says he ¿doesn¿t remember much¿ from his go-karting experience, it¿s special to be at Daytona International Speedway again.

¿It¿s very special to come back to such a great place, a well-known place, a lot of family history, mostly with the 24 hours and stuff like that. It seems like with my father and grandfather, I get that everywhere I go but it¿s great to come back.¿

First lap: Scott Sharp, driver of the No. 8 Rahal Letterman Racing Dallara Honda, was the first driver to complete a lap during the first day of testing.

All teams on ethanol: This week¿s IndyCar Series test at Daytona International Speedway marks the first time all IndyCar Series

competitors will run on the 3.5-liter Honda Indy V-8 engine fueled by 100 percent fuel-grade ethanol. The IndyCar series is the first in motorsports to embrace a renewable fuel source.

From the Rolex 24 to IndyCar: Adaptation will be the name of the game this week for top IndyCar Series drivers as they make the transition from sports cars to IndyCars.

Dan Wheldon, Scott Dixon, Helio Castroneves, Sam Hornish Jr., Scott Sharp, Buddy Rice, Darren Manning, Ed Carpenter and Tomas Scheckter are participating in the two-day testing session just after competing in last weekend¿s Rolex 24 At Daytona.

¿No question that it¿s a challenging place - especially when you are coming from a 24 hour,¿ Castroneves said. ¿To make the change from the DP (Daytona Prototype) car to the Indy car - it¿s a big change. You can ask anyone that did the 24. It¿s kind of a relearning.

¿The only time I ran here is with the DP cars, so for me to find the braking points and the turning and everything in an Indy car, and all of the sudden becoming three times faster than I am used to. Again, after two laps I got used to it and back to the same rhythm.¿

Testing continues: IndyCar Series testing continues on Thursday and is open to the public. Fans can purchase a special DAYTONA USA $10 tram tour ticket and view all the testing action at the NEXTEL FANZONE.

Tickets to all the exciting Speedweeks 2007 events at Daytona International Speedway are available online at www.racetickets.com or by calling 1-800-PITSHOP.

Afternoon speeds:

1. Tony Kanaan, 135.549 mph

2. Helio Castroneves, 135.313

3. Dan Wheldon, 135.226

4. Dario Franchitti, 135.134

5. Sam Hornish Jr., 135.056

6. Scott Dixon, 134.438

7. Vitor Meira, 134.149

8. Scott Sharp, 133.118

9. Kosuke Matsuura, 133.006

10. Marco Andretti, 132.756

11. Jeff Simmons, 132.393

12. Darren Manning, 131.854

13. Tomas Scheckter, 131.827

14. Danica Patrick, 131.439

15. Buddy Rice, 131.314

16. Ed Carpenter, 129.532

17. AJ Foyt IV, 127.984

Morning Speeds:

1. Helio Castroneves, 133.542 mph

2. Tony Kanaan, 132.473

3. Scott Dixon, 132.417

4. Sam Hornish Jr., 132.387

5. Dan Wheldon, 132.144

6. Dario Franchitti, 131.756

7. Marco Andretti, 130.565

8. Vitor Meira, 130.474

9. Jeff Simmons, 129.785

10. Scott Sharp, 128.495

11. Darren Manning, 128.457

12. Ed Carpenter, 126.390

13. Buddy Rice, 125.570

14. A.J. Foyt IV, 120.527

15. Kosuke Matsuura, 117.223

16. Danica Patrick, 79.400

Tickets? Questions? Call 1-800-PIT-SHOP

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