The horses are on the track

Posted by Iannucci | 3/19/2008 | 15 comments »
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Today marks the first day of refugee Dallara testing at the road course at Sebring, so if you have nothing better to do you can follow along online with Timing & Scoring at IndyCar.com.

Note that the esteemed Newman/Haas/Lanigan team with drivers Justin Wilson and Graham Rahal will NOT be participating today, allegedly because of a parts shortage. That's definitely not a good sign considering the season starts in 10 days. 10 DAYS, PEOPLE!

For now an eye will be kept on the happy six drivers actually there. The less Champ-ish IndyCar teams practiced earlier this month on the same track, so just for reference here were their top lap times.

1. Ryan Briscoe (52.4202 seconds; 114.689 mph)
2. Helio Castroneves (52.4531)
3. Tony Kanaan (52.8609)
4. Hideki Mutoh (52.9513)
5. Dan Wheldon (53.0131)
6. Scott Dixon (53.0286)
7. Marco Andretti (53.2452)
8. A.J. Foyt IV (53.3477)
9. Ryan Hunter-Reay (53.4570)
10. Danica Patrick (53.5015)
11. Vitor Meira (53.5217)
12. Darren Manning (53.5611)
13. Buddy Rice (53.6051)
14. Jay Howard (53.8033)
15. Ed Carpenter (54.1869)
16. Marty Roth (54.4976)
17. Milka Duno (56.4081)

Yes friends, the Briscoe Inferno is already heating up.

UPDATE: As of the lunch break the best time is by Oriol "El Matador" Servia at 55.3853, which would be directly behind Marty Roth(!) on the speed chart. It appears only Servia and Bruno Junquiera have come close to honestly attempting a lap thusfar.

At least the refugees have some fetching paint schemes.

UPDATE 2: As noted in the comments, Ricky Bobby was in "Shake and Bake!" mode, besting even the Target Twins on his first day.

Will Power (52.9685)
Bruno Junquiera (53.2339)
Oriol Servia (53.6035)
Franck Perera (53.6456)
Mario Moraes (56.6644)
Enrique Bernoldi (no laps)

It's encouraging and not entirely unexpected, given similar performances by Darren Manning and Ryan Hunter-Reay in recent years that show the equipment doesn't have to provided by Penske, Ganassi or Andretti for a driver to be competitive on the road circuits.

That said, expect a completely different comparison when these teams practice next at the superspeedway at Homestead. Not only will many of these drivers be getting their first taste of oval racing, but they may dial it down a touch just to avoid bringing the car back on the hook.

15 comments

  1. John Edward // March 19, 2008 8:46 AM  

    I'm tellin' ya, this going to be Quattro's year!

  2. pressdog // March 19, 2008 10:01 AM  

    Pardon me if I root very very hard for the former Champ Car drivers. Someone. Anyone. Bust up the big three.

  3. Derek // March 19, 2008 10:15 AM  

    After looking at the results so far... you might have to wait awhile for that

  4. pressdog // March 19, 2008 11:50 AM  

    I would hold up on that a minute, Chief. My boy Will "Danger" Power(s). I predict a Champ Car refuge will win a road race in the IRL this year. They've only be driving them non-stop for about 6 years.

  5. Wedge McWedgy (SandWedge) // March 19, 2008 12:03 PM  

    I hope any of these guys wins/contends just so we don't have to see boring red white (sometimes blue) in there.

    Craig Gore did a downright s**** thing to Walker for leaving like he did, but man that "Team Australia" concept puts out some nice looking cars on the track

  6. Tabernerus // March 19, 2008 12:21 PM  

    Yeah, there are a few sharp-looking schemes there. And Newman Haas is still in the shop.

    The times are going to be abominable today, I'm sure. They'll get better, and quickly. Pressdog is right - these guys have been road-racing for years. They'll improve quickly on the roads. I know the cars feel very different, but the biggest adjustment is oval racing, which by design is wheel to wheel. These guys will be competitive on the roads by Infineon.

  7. John in Speedway // March 19, 2008 12:37 PM  

    KV Racing is in the mid 53 second range, as of 3:30 pm. Will Power is currently 10th on the overall speed chart, and El Matador is only .2 seconds behind him. Impressive. Power is just over a second off the pole position, with over a day left of testing. I am sticking to my prediction that NHL purposely skipped this test so they can focus 100% efforts on the oval setup, without losing 2 to 3 full days messing with road/street setups, travel time, etc.. They're confident they'll be able to get up to speed quickly on the roads/streets. Could be a clever strategy. We'll see.

  8. pressdog // March 19, 2008 12:40 PM  

    Hmmmmm. you might be onto something there, john. NHL can probably get up to speed on a road course with it's eyes closed.

  9. Indy Racing League Maniac // March 19, 2008 1:22 PM  

    I love it. Duno is supposed to be a road coarse specialist, right. All 3 of the runners today put her in the dust. Power actually put up some good times.

  10. Wedge McWedgy (SandWedge) // March 19, 2008 1:49 PM  

    Power would be top 5 now with that nice little 113.501mph

    p.s. anyone notice indycar has pictures of Enrique and Frank's cars and one is of them pulling off, but we've got no times... any chance one of the parts they're waiting on is a transponder?

  11. John in Speedway // March 19, 2008 2:09 PM  

    Will Power is officially 5th quickest overall, with still over a day of testing left. I am impressed, but not surprised. Heck, he might have the pole speed by tomorrow. Unless, of course, Penske was sandbaggin. But Penske neeeevvver Sandbags, right? Hehe. Can you say "Indy". That's what I love about qualifications at Indy. You never know who's sandbaggin.

  12. Wedge McWedgy (SandWedge) // March 19, 2008 2:14 PM  

    Here's a thought: What's it make you think to know that a driver just went out for the first time ever in one of the cars (Perera) and out paced Duno's best time on a shake-down lap?

  13. Anonymous // March 19, 2008 2:24 PM  

    Im impressed by the drivers at the test. if this continues we'll have much greater competition. but i guess the real test comes at ovals so come homestead testing we'll see how they will fair.

  14. John in Speedway // March 19, 2008 5:13 PM  

    Either Milka has lots of money and no skills, or her team sucks. Keep in mind, even though this is the first time these CC drivers have hopped into a Dallara, they are all highly funded, very skilled, very experienced race car teams. Like the top IRL teams, these guys know a thing or two about a thing or two. I'm anxious to hear some driver reactions.

  15. Anonymous // March 20, 2008 11:36 PM  

    Where is the Sonny's BBQ paint job on one of the Coyne cars ??