Luyendyk Back On Track At Indy

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As it did Tuesday, rain hampered offseason testing at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Wednesday, but two-time winner Arie Luyendyk and 1996 series champion Buzz Calkins managed to squeeze in some laps at the historic 2.5-mile oval.

Luyendyk was driving a Treadway Racing machine, which he will do again next May in the 86th Indy 500. He hit the track shortly after 1 p.m .(ET) and reached a top speed of 217.908 mph shortly thereafter. Rain returned to Speedway, Ind., at 3:20 p.m., ending the test after Luyendyk and Buzz Calkins combined to complete 83 laps.

Luyendyk is preparing for his 17th Indy 500 appearance, and Wednesday’s test session left him feeling confident about his return to the race next season and one other Indy Racing Northern Light Series event before May.

“It's pretty easy to get back in and to adapt real quick,” Luyendyk said. “Pretty much got up to speed pretty quick. But we're struggling with the weather. It's pretty windy, the air is really thick, still running quite a bit of downforce and trying different things for G Force.

”This is really a G Force test, so we've tried a different nose and other things.”

Calkins, the 1996 Indy Racing co-champion, topped out at 213.410 in Bradley Motorsports’ No. 12 Dallara-Aurora. The 30-year-old veteran finished ninth in the points standings, but he wasn’t entirely pleased with his season. That’s why he was scheduled to test Heritage Motorsports’ G Force-Infiniti, but the rain prevented him from testing the new combination.

“Basically, we just came out the last time before wintertime rolled around to see where we were with the car, see where we were with a lot of changes through the year since May and come back with that,” Calkins said. “And also we wanted to try to go and run the G Force with the Nissan around a little bit to see if we can tell the differences on that.”

Bradley Motorsports will decide by the first of the year what engine it will run in the 15-race IRNLS season next year.

The 2002 season-opener is March 2 at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

PDM Racing also made some noise this week, but it was off the track.

The team announced a re-organization that brings in co-owner Larry Arnold. He joins Paul Diatlovich and replaces Chuck Buckman, who is involved in a different 2002 project.

“I am excited to be a part of PDM Racing,” Arnold said. “I am looking forward to working with Paul and the rest of the team. PDM Racing is known throughout the industry as a talented team. I credit this image to Paul's years of hard work.

“There is something special about PDM, and I look forward to the team's bright future.”

That future will include AMVETS as an associate sponsor for the entire 2002 season. AMVETS sponsored PDM’s car for a portion of the 2001 season.

Indianapolis-based PDM also announced that Marketing Management Group will help the team in its search for a primary sponsor. The new company helped the team land AMVETS.

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