In February, the IZOD IndyCar Series nailed down a baseline for its speedway aero package in a test at Texas Motor Speedway. It featured a mere three drivers: Tony Kanaan, Ryan Briscoe and Alex Tagliani.
Today, INDYCAR is returning to TMS for another test with a much bigger group of competitors. Eleven drivers will take laps on the 1.5-mile oval in Fort Worth from 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. CT in a critical session that INDYCAR hopes will yield a solid package for this month's Indianapolis 500 and the Firestone 550 at TMS on June 9.
The group of 11 include Briscoe, Will Power and Helio Castroneves of Team Penske; Scott Dixon, Dario Franchitti, Graham Rahal and Charlie Kimball of Ganassi Racing; Mike Conway and Wade Cunningham of A.J. Foyt Racing; Rubens Barrichello of KV Racing Technology; and Ed Carpenter of Ed Carpenter Racing.
Barrichello was also slated to take part in his rookie oval test Sunday night as he begins to prepare for his official speedway debut at the '500.'
According to reports, top speeds achieved at TMS in February were in the low 210s, but raw speed wasn't the point then. And as the comments of INDYCAR vice president of technology Will Phillips show, it isn't the point now, either.
"We’re going to Texas to confirm that the aero spec that we laid down is correct," Phillips said last week. "We made a commitment that we would run cars at Texas in a small number and go back to run the cars in as big a group as possible prior to racing there. It will also give us an insight into Indianapolis."
For those of you in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, the test is open to the public for free -- just enter the track at Gate 4.
UPDATE: Barrichello's test was pushed back to this morning. One of his teammates, Kanaan, helped shake down Barrichello's car earlier today.