IRL Begins Homestead-Miami Test

HOMESTEAD, Fla. – 2005 IndyCar Series champion Dan Wheldon paced the first Open Test held under the lights as IndyCar Series teams completed the first of a two-day test on the oval at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

Wheldon, who won the last two IndyCar Series races at the variably banked 1.5-mile oval, recorded a lap of 24.8816 seconds, 214.858 mph in the No. 10 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Honda-powered Dallara.

Wheldon, though, was involved in a single-car accident with about an hour left in session when his car made contact with the SAFER Barrier between Turns 1 and 2. He was not injured in the crash, but the damage was enough to end his testing for the day.

"I just got a little loose,” Wheldon said. “It's unfortunate because the car was really quick. Both Target Chip Ganassi Racing cars were fast. We'll just have to put another one together and go back out there tomorrow."

Wheldon’s lap was slightly faster than Marco Andretti in the No. 26 NYSE Group Honda-powered Dallara, who recorded a best lap of 25.0020, 213.823 mph. Scott Dixon (213.693 mph) Helio Castroneves (213.543 mph) and Dario Franchitti (213.504 mph) rounded out the day’s fast five.

"I think we might have found it. I don't want to speak too soon but team's work in the off-season, so far it's paid off. It's only one day of testing. I hope we don't come back for the race, and it's a totally different beast, which is known to happen. But so far, so good.

"Today was the most important day here. We're going to know where we stand for the year on the big ovals. We always know Andretti Green is going to be up front on the short ovals and road courses. Now, hopefully it's across the board. That's definitely good for the championship. We're just going to work at it and be consistent.”

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