New Teams Gained Experience At Indy
May 30, 2008 | 10:43 A.M. EST
Drivers for the six new full-season teams logged more than 5,700 laps and 14,300 miles at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in May, giving them valuable time to learn the car, oval racing, and in some instances more time to gel as a team.
"As a transition team, it was really good for us to have so many miles on an oval and start to understand the car a little bit more, and if anything get a little bit of time to catch up on development," said Will Power, who logged more miles, 1,927, in the No. 8 Aussie Vineyards-Team Australia entry for KV Racing Technology than any other driver during the month. "As a driver, I gained confidence and experience on an oval. That's what we really need at this point."
Power completed all 200 laps during the 92nd Indianapolis 500 and finished 13th, second only to teammate Oriol Servia's 11th-place finish among the new group of drivers.
Understanding the Dallara chassis is a key to the ability to be competitive throughout the season.
"The additional track time was invaluable," said HVM Racing team manager Vince Kremer, who worked his 16th Indianapolis 500. "It not only allowed (driver E.J. Viso) the time to get acquainted with the track but also allowed him, his engineers and crew significant time to work through many of the options that are available on the Dallara chassis. Unlike a 'normal' race weekend where you unload from the trailer and only have a couple of practice sessions prior to qualifying, working at the Speedway affords you the time to make back-to-back changes and see how they perform on the track."
For Jaime Camara and Conquest Racing, the month afforded the driver and team a chance to get to know one another. Camara debuted in the IndyCar Series with the team in late April at Kansas Speedway.
"It was a good month for me," said Camara. "We had a lot of track time, and that helps you get more comfortable in the car. The more comfortable you get in the car, the more you can free it up, because you know what the car will do. I gained a lot of experience. Even though I only did (79) laps in the race, it was good experience racing.
"And the team and I were able to find a rhythm. With all the time in the car, I know their rhythm, they know my rhythm. That's going to help us as we go on."
The practice time also was valuable for Mario Dominguez and Pacific Coast Motorsports, which will makes its IndyCar Series debut at Milwaukee. Dominguez recorded 459 practice laps at Indianapolis before his last-minute qualifying attempt on Bump Day resulted in a crash.
"As a brand new team with no IndyCar Series experience and starting with the biggest and fastest oval on the circuit, it was invaluable to get as much practice time as possible," said PCM team manager Michael Harvey. "The rain hampered that a bit, but we did a significant amount of laps. They certainly (have a lot of value) for Mario and reacquainting himself with the oval again."
The extra time and miles in the car should begin to pay dividends in the 12 remaining races, seven of which are on ovals, including the June 1 ABC Supply/A.J. Foyt 225 at The Milwaukee Mile.