All 24 cars that participated in Thursday’s one-day Open Test at Pocono Raceway posted lap times better than the track record of 42.510 seconds (211.715mph) set by Emerson Fittipaldi on Aug. 19, 1989. Marco Andretti, of nearby Nazareth, Pa., topped the speed chart with a lap of 220.963mph (40.7308 seconds) in the No. 25 RC Cola car for Andretti Autosport.
“I think this just became my favorite racetrack,” said Andretti, who recorded his best lap on a qualifying simulation. “I have to give credit to IndyCar. They did a great job with the aero (package) and also Firestone with the tire choice. I think it will produce good racing because it’s going to put guys on the opposite ends of the downforce level, which is the risk you run.
“It’s so much fun. I mean, it’s so different every lap and that’s the fun about it. You don’t know what to expect. You have to really be on the tools end-to-end and chase the car. I think it’s going to produce a heck of a race.”
Tony Kanaan, who can continue on the path to a $1 million bonus by winning the second of the three legs of the Fuzzy’s Triple Crown, was second (219.802mph; 40.9460 seconds) in the No. 11 Sunoco “Turbo” car for KV Racing Technology-SH Racing. The Brazilian said it took him a while to figure out the track.
“I have been in America for so long now and racing in IndyCar for 14 years you figure you have learned every single track and you’ve been to every single track. And all of the sudden we came to a track that I hadn’t raced yet,” noted the Indy 500 winner. “It took me a little while to learn the track. They don’t call it the tricky tri-oval for nothing. I got here, I drove my rental car around and said, ‘Eh, it’s not that bad.’ And then I got in my Indy car and I’m like ‘OK.’ So it took me a few laps to get the confidence and to learn a lit bit about this track.”
IZOD IndyCar Series championship points leader Helio Castroneves (219.123mph) was third in the No. 3 Hitachi Team Penske car, and Ed Carpenter was fourth (218.788mph) in the No. 20 Fuzzy’s Ultra Premium Vodka car. Reigning IZOD IndyCar Series champion Ryan Hunter-Reay of Andretti Autosport was fifth (218.293mph) in the No. 1 DHL car.
Top to bottom, the field was separated by 1.1 seconds.
For combined sessions testing times, click here.