Noda Meets IRL Speed Quota

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Hideki Noda and Convergent Racing are a step closer to competing in the Indy Racing League thanks to Noda’s completion of the on-track portion of the IRL rookie test at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on Monday.

Noda, an open-wheel veteran from Japan, topped out at 205.7 mph during his test on the 1.5-mile oval. He completed the four 10-lap phases of the test in 82 laps in a G Force-Chevy.

The test was the month-old team’s first in the IRL.

“Hideki adapted very quickly and made a very smooth transition to the IRL car,” said Don Batchelor, managing partner at Convergent Racing. “It was our first test, and everything came together even better than we had anticipated.”

Convergent Racing emerged after TeamXtreme closed shop. Former TeamXtreme co-owner Tommy O’Brien is part of the team, and many of TeamXtreme’s personnel followed him to Convergent. It is based in the Dallas-Forth Worth area.

Noda, 32, and Convergent are hoping to compete full time this season.

Mark Bridges, IRL technical manager, said Noda performed well at Las Vegas.

“He did a fine job,” Bridges said. “He was very smooth and very comfortable in the car. He adapted to it very quickly and got right with the program.”

Noda is new to the IRL, but he has years of experience in open-wheel cars. He started in karts in 1982 and eventually worked his way up to Formula One in 1994. He also has competed in F3000, Indy Lights and British Formula 3. Noda has spent the past three years racing in Japan in Formula Nippon.

Although he completed the on-track portion of his test, IRL Vice President of Operations Brian Barnhart must clear Noda to drive in the IRL.

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