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Open Firestone Tire Test To Draw Nearly Entire Verizon IndyCar Series Field
Posted by: newsla on Apr 16, 2014 - 07:00 AM
IndyCar News
Open Firestone Tire Test To Draw Nearly Entire Verizon IndyCar Series Field

WHAT: Open Firestone Tire Test To Draw Nearly Entire Verizon IndyCar Series Field

WHEN: WEDNESDAY, Noon -1 p.m. CT driver availability; photo and video availability on track and garage from 11 a.m.-2 p.m.

WHERE: Texas Motor Speedway, Infield Media Center


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WHO: Target Chip Ganassi Racing drivers Scott Dixon (No. 9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet) and Tony Kanaan (No. 10 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet); Team Penske drivers Helio Castroneves (No. 3 AAA Chevrolet), Juan Pablo Montoya (No. 2 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet) and Will Power (No. 12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet); Andretti Autosport drivers Marco Andretti (No. 25 Snapple Honda) and Carlos Munoz (No. 34 Cinsay AndrettiTV.com HVM Honda); Dale Coyne Racing's Justin Wilson (No. 19 Dale Coyne Racing Honda); Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing's Graham Rahal (No. 15 National Guard Honda); NTT Data Chip Ganassi Racing driver Ryan Briscoe (No. 8 NTT Data Chevrolet); Novo Nordisk Chip Ganassi Racing driver Charlie Kimball (No. 83 Novo Nordisk Chevrolet); Ed Carpenter Racing driver Ed Carpenter (No. 20 Fuzzy's Vodka Chevrolet); Schmidt Peterson Hamilton Motorsports driver Simon Pagenaud (No. 77 Charter Communications Honda); Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing driver Josef Newgarden (No. 67 Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing Honda); KVSH Racing driver Sebastien Bourdais (No. 11 Mistic Chevrolet); KV AFS Racing driver Sebastian Saavedra (No. 17 KV AFS Racing Chevrolet); Schmidt Peterson Motorsports driver Mikhail Aleshin (No. 7 Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Racing Honda); and BHA/BBM with Curb Agajanian driver Jack Hawksworth (No. 98 Charter/Castrol Edge Honda).

MEDIA OPPORTUNITIES: Defending Verizon IndyCar Series champion Scott Dixon, 2013 Indianapolis 500 champion Tony Kanaan, defending Firestone 600 champion Helio Castroneves, former NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver and newest Team Penske driver Juan Pablo Montoya and teammate Will Power, Andretti Autosport's Marco Andretti and Carlos Munoz, and Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing's Graham Rahal will be available during the lunch break in the media center deadline room to discuss the preparations for the Firestone 600 Verizon IndyCar Series race at Texas Motor Speedway on Saturday, June 7, as well as the season. Still and video photographers will be allowed to shoot on-track action and in the garage from 11 a.m. - 2 p.m. CT.

Interview Schedule
12:15 p.m.: Andretti, Munoz, Rahal
12:30 p.m.: Dixon, Kanaan
12:45 p.m.: Montoya, Castroneves, Power

The Verizon IndyCar Series test is part of the series' preparation for its six oval races of the season that includes a stop at Texas Motor Speedway for the Firestone 600 on Saturday, June 7. The test, featuring 18 drivers, will be free and open to the public. Fans may enter through Gate 4 from 9 a.m. - 5 p.m. CT and will be allowed to bring in coolers.

Most of the teams will be working on preparing their oval setups prior to Indianapolis and helping INDYCAR and Firestone evaluate potential changes for the speedway package used for the Firestone 600 in June. Three drivers - Carlos Munoz, Mikhail Aleshin and Jack Hawksworth - will be doing rookie evaluation/testing in order to get miles prior to Indianapolis.

The Verizon IndyCar Series season opened March 20 in St. Petersburg, Fla., and the series will compete in six more events before its annual stop at Texas Motor Speedway for the Firestone 600 on Saturday, June. 7. Texas Motor Speedway has hosted the most Verizon IndyCar Series races of any of the tracks on the current schedule. The series returns to Texas Motor Speedway for its 25th event. Team Penske's Will Power won the season opener and Mike Conway earned the victory Sunday for the single-car team of Ed Carpenter Racing at the Grand Prix of Long Beach. The series returns to the track in two weeks for the Grand Prix of Alabama.

The 2014 offseason provided some shakeups to the driver lineups of the series' powerhouse organizations. After five years piloting the No. 10 Target Chip Ganassi Racing entry, four-time Verizon IndyCar Series champion Dario Franchitti retired from competition. The move paved the way for 2013 Indianapolis 500 champion Tony Kanaan to join 2013 Verizon IndyCar Series champion Scott Dixon as teammates for Target Chip Ganassi Racing. The splash made by Target Chip Ganassi Racing was matched by Team Penske, which bolstered its lineup by adding former NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, Formula One and Championship Auto Racing Teams (CART) driver Juan Pablo Montoya. Montoya, the 2000 Indianapolis 500 champion and 1999 CART champion, joins fellow Team Penske drivers Helio Castroneves and Will Power in hopes of capturing the organization's first championship since Sam Hornish Jr. won the title in 2006.

Target Chip Ganassi Racing driver Scott Dixon earned his third Verizon IndyCar Series champion in 2013. Dixon, who earned four wins during his championship season, became just the 11th driver to win at least three INDYCAR titles. He currently sits seventh on the all-time Indy car wins list with 33 victories, behind the prestigious names of A.J. Foyt, Andretti (Mario and Michael) and Unser (Al, Bobby and Al Jr.).

Team Penske driver Will Power currently holds the points lead through the first two races of the Verizon IndyCar Series season. Power earned a victory in the season-opening race in St. Petersburg (Fla.) and followed it up with a runner-up finish last weekend at Long Beach (Calif.). Power, who has finished runner-up in the final point standings in three of the previous four seasons, looks to earn Team Penske's first championship since Sam Hornish Jr. won the title in 2006.

Helio Castroneves returns to Texas Motor Speedway for the first time since his record-breaking win in last year's Firestone 550. With his victory, Castroneves became the winningest INDYCAR driver at Texas Motor Speedway with four career victories breaking a tie he held with former teammate Sam Hornish Jr. In 2013, Castroneves enjoyed a solid season as he tied a career-best finish of second in the final championship standings. Castroneves, a three-time Indianapolis 500 champion, will look to capture his first career Verizon IndyCar Series championship in 2014.

Tony Kanaan joins Target Chip Ganassi Racing to fill the seat left vacant by four-time Verizon IndyCar Series champion Dario Franchitti. Franchitti made the difficult decision to retire during the offseason, paving the way for Kanaan - the 2004 Verizon IndyCar Series champion - to fill the void. Kanaan, a 12-year veteran, looks to help Target Chip Ganassi Racing continue its dominance as the organization has won five of the previous six series championships. In 2013, Kanaan scored the most memorable victory of his career as he finally captured an elusive victory in the Indianapolis 500.

Marco Andretti is coming off a career season in 2013 where he finished a career-best fifth in the championship standings. He started the 2013 campaign with five consecutive top-10 finishes that included a pair of third-place finishes. During last year's Firestone 550 at Texas Motor Speedway, he led 57 laps en route to a fifth-place finish.

Rookie driver Carlos Munoz is one of the Verizon IndyCar Series' up-and-coming stars. Munoz enters his first year with Andretti Autosport after two successful seasons in Firestone Indy Lights. He competed in three Verizon IndyCar Series races in 2013 with his best finish coming in the Indianapolis 500, where he finished second to Tony Kanaan. His runner-up finished earned him the Indianapolis 500 Rookie of the Year.

Graham Rahal, son of 1986 Indy 500 champion and open-wheel great Bobby Rahal, is in his seventh season in the Verizon IndyCar Series and second competing for Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing. Rahal, who during the offseason secured sponsorship from National Guard for his No. 15 entry, made waves via Twitter last month when he suggested that he and NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Dale Earnhardt Jr. swap seats. The two have bantered back and forth but have not set a date.

Photography and video note: INDYCAR will be providing open access to media for this test but all must adhere to guidelines. Media will be able to shoot in the garage and on-track, but no media members can cross over the pit wall and please refrain from shooting any engines.

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