Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Will Power Storms Barber - IZOD Indycar Test at Indy

IZOD Indycar Series Points leader Helio Castroneves at IMS Test
Even though track time was limited due to rain and foggy conditions, Will Power found his way to the front despite starting ninth at Barber Motorsports Park on Sunday. Helio Castroneves maintains his points lead in the IZOD Indycar Series after finishing third in the race behind perennial Barber bridesmaid Scott Dixon. It was a highly entertaining race on a track with a reputation for being tough to pass, but the Indycar drivers found ways to make moves in sometimes unlikely ways, and also found out how tough their new Dallaras can be with enough wing and wheel banging for two road course races. The best drive of the race was put in by Sebastian Bourdais who put on a show all afternoon in his gorgeous black and gold machine, giving those with Lotus engines a shot in the arm for the engine supplier which is currently short on equipment for the teams it services. But by now you have read all about the race so it's time for something different:  testing at Indy in April!

Oval Track Rear Wing Assembly Seemed Massive
Sadly, however, no Lotus powered cars were at the open test at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway as nine cars hit the track for the first bonafide shakedown of Dallara's new oval track aero package. In a look which reminded me of the "Batmobile" Interscope Records design run by Danny Ongais from the 1980's, the oval version of the Dallara is quite distinctive. A healthy crowd was on hand on the Turn 2 mounds and it was great to see the number of school buses arriving for tours of the track. That's how new fans are going to be created for Indycar - start them young. There was a lot to like at IMS today, although these cars are going to take some getting used to visually. Teams spent the morning running a couple of laps at a time, but my late afternoon, you could see them start to find a groove and run quicker. At times, drivers like Scott Dixon and Justin Wilson seemed to be hitting the rev limiter as their engines gave off a distinctive pop-pop-pop-pop sound that is new at Indy. Tony Kanaan,Takuma Sato, JR Hildebrand, Ed Carpenter, Helio Castroneves, Marco Andretti  and Mike Conway also took part in the test today.

The Turn 2 Mounds drew a sizable crowd.
I loved the way the cars looked and sounded, and it felt like a practice day in May with the warm weather and the sweet smell of ethanol in the air. I just can't get enough and you know I'd love to be going to Long Beach next weekend, but for now these pictures will have to tide me over until opening day at Indy on May 12th. There was even bagpipe music in the air as two members of the Gordon Pipers displayed their wares for the fans in the handicapped seating section in the south short chute. It doesn't get much better than this for an early spring day in April in Indianapolis!

No comments: