Hunter Reay Tests In Phoenix

With the IndyCar Series season opener less than seven weeks away and nothing but snow in the forecast for Columbus on Monday, Rahal Letterman Racing followed the sage advice of Horace Greeley who once told a prospective pioneer to 'Go West, young man."

Reigning IndyCar Rookie of the Year Ryan Hunter-Reay and the No. 17 Ethanol-sponsored Dallara/Honda/Firestone of Rahal Letterman Racing journeyed Monday to the Phoenix International Raceway for a single day of testing on the one-mile Arizona oval. Hunter-Reay spent a full day in the seat of the Ethanol machine, logging nearly 150 miles on the tricky course that once hosted IndyCars as well as Champ Cars.

"We had a good, productive test today," said Hunter-Reay. "We had a very specific checklist and the guys went through it thoroughly and worked really hard, trying a lot of different things to make the car better. Phoenix is a track that throws a lot of curveballs at you and I think we found a lot of things that will help us on the short ovals this year."

RLR ran alongside the Andretti/Green Racing duo of Danica Patrick and rookie Hideki Mutoh, with all three cars running within two-tenths of a second of each other by day's end, with all drivers nearing or getting under the 21-second barrier.

"Ryan looked good in the car and put in a strong day, especially when you consider that he doesn't have a lot of short oval experience," said team COO Scott Roembke. "It is quite a commitment to come clear across the country for a one-day test but the track was in great shape and we got a lot done. We found quite a few things that are going to benefit us when we get to tracks like Milwaukee and Richmond."

The test was the second of the 2008 preseason for Hunter-Reay and Rahal Letterman Racing, and will be the final session before the IndyCar Series' Open Tests to be held at the end of the month. RLR will participate in two days worth of testing at Homestead-Miami Speedway on February 27-28 and then travel to Sebring for road-course testing on the 1.67-mile 'Indy' course March 3-4.

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