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Hamilton returns to Texas for pre-race test

Davey Hamilton completed his first laps at Texas Motor Speedway since horrifying 2001 accident during four-car test.

For the IndyCar Series, the month of May has often meant a shift in focus to the sport's biggest race, the Indianapolis 500, but, with testing for the race not commencing until 15 May, drivers took advantage of the break to prepare for the sport's other marquee event, June's Firestone 550k, with an extensive test at Texas Motor Speedway.

Scott Dixon, Ryan Briscoe, Marco Andretti and Davey Hamilton all participated in a session that began at 2pm local time and was scheduled to conclude at ten at night, with the non-traditional timeframe of the test was to help the drivers and teams simulate the evening conditions as well as the race week's late afternoon qualifying and practice sessions.

“For us, it's our first time testing on an oval,” Briscoe said, “We had some stuff planned out to run at Kentucky this week and, when that got rained out, we heard the track was open here for running, so we took the opportunity to bring one car and just got some stuff on the cars in the lead-up to Indy so that we don't waste too much time on the first couple of days when we get there. And, at the same time, we'll try to learn some things for when we come back and race here.”

The test was highlighted, however, by the return of Hamilton to the 1.5-mile oval that nearly ended his racing career. During the Chevy Casino Magic 500k in June of 2001, Hamilton and Jeret Schroeder collided, resulting in Hamilton crashing hard into the turn two wall. The contact shattered his chassis and sent the cockpit spinning down the backstretch. Hamilton sustained severe foot injuries, which led to his retirement and 21 surgeries.

In 2007, Hamilton came out of retirement to compete in the Indianapolis 500 and has since competed in that event each of the previous years. This year, however, the 47-year old has made it his mission to return to the site of his horrific crash and compete in the Firestone 550k behind the wheel of the #21 HP Dallara-Honda for Luczo Dragon Racing/de Ferran Motorsports.

“I'm a little nervous, how can you not be?” he said of his TMS return, “I ran good at this track, and I've always liked racing here when we were full-time before the accident. I always enjoyed coming to Texas, so it's been something I wanted to come back and finish. I just wanted to make sure I had a car and team that would be able to do it properly. Part of the recovery was purely to race again. I didn't want to end my career here.”

Target Chip Ganassi's Dixon, currently second in points, has used solid performances at Texas to propel him to IndyCar Series championships during his career, with his 2008 victory saw him become just the second driver to win the marquee events at Indy and TMS in the same season, joining Arie Luyendyk.

"Winning at Texas for me was something I'd wanted to do for so long,” Dixon admitted, “We'd been in great opportunities before to come close, but to finally win it in 2008 was fantastic.

"Coming off an Indy win, you almost feel invincible anyway, but to come here – the next biggest event and the great racing that it provides - it just improves on that. If you



Related Pictures

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Indy Racing League. 25 May 2009. Indianapolis 500.  Indianapolis Speedway. Indianapolis, Indiana. Davey Hamilton.
Juan Pablo Montoya, driver of the #2 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet V-6 IndyCar, celebrates his victory Sunday, May 24, 2015, winning the Indianapolis 500 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in Indianapolis, Indiana. Montoya went from near-last to first, winning the Indy 500 for the second time in his career. Chevrolet powered the top four cars in the race. (Photo by Scott R. LePage/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Justin Wilson resplendent in the Rolling Stones livery for the #25 Andretti Autosport Honda in pit lane on Carb Day at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Friday May 22 2015. (Photo by: Jim Haines for IndyCar Media)
Justin Wilson resplendent in the Rolling Stones livery for the #25 Andretti Autosport Honda on track on Carb Day at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Friday May 22 2015. (Photo by: Jim Haines for IndyCar Media)
Ryan Briscoe steps into the #5 Schmidt Peterson Motorsport Honda in place of the injured James Hinchcliffe. Indianapolis Motor Speedway, May 21 2015. (Photo by: Joe Skibinski for IndyCar Media)
Ryan Briscoe steps into the #5 Schmidt Peterson Motorsport Honda in place of the injured James Hinchcliffe. Indianapolis Motor Speedway, May 21 2015. (Photo by: Joe Skibinski for IndyCar Media)
Ryan Briscoe steps into the #5 Schmidt Peterson Motorsport Honda in place of the injured James Hinchcliffe. Indianapolis Motor Speedway, May 21 2015. (Photo by: Joe Skibinski for IndyCar Media)
Ryan Briscoe steps into the #5 Schmidt Peterson Motorsport Honda in place of the injured James Hinchcliffe. Indianapolis Motor Speedway, May 21 2015. (Photo by: Chris Owens for IndyCar Media)
Marco Andretti and Sage Karam at IMS (Photo by: Joe Skibinski for IndyCar Media)
Simon Pagenaud, driver of the #22 Avaya Team Penske Chevrolet IndyCar V6, qualifies third fastest Sunday, May 17, 2015, and will start on the outside of the front row for the Verizon IndyCar Series Indianapolis 500 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in Indianapolis, Indiana. Pagenaud will be joined in the front row by by polestar Scott Dixon, driver of the #9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet and Will Power, driver of the #1 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet who qualified second fastest for the May 24 race. (Photo by Michael L. Levitt/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Will Power, driver of the #1 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet IndyCar V6, qualifies second-fastest Sunday, May 17, 2015, and will start in the middle of the front row for the Verizon IndyCar Series Indianapolis 500 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in Indianapolis, Indiana. Power will be joined in the front row by pole sitter Scott Dixon, driver of the #9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet and Simon Pagenaud, driver of the #22 Avaya Team Penske Chevrolet  who qualified third for the May 24 race. (Photo by Scott R. LePage/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Scott Dixon, driver of the #9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet IndyCar V6, celebrates after qualifying fastest Sunday, May 17, 2015, winning the pole for the Verizon IndyCar Series Indianapolis 500 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in Indianapolis, Indiana. Dixon will be joined in the front row by Will Power, driver of the #1 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet who qualified second fastest, and Simon Pagenaud, driver of the #22 Avaya Team Penske Chevrolet  who qualified third for the May 24 race. (Photo by Phillip Abbott/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Scott Dixon, driver of the #9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet IndyCar V6, qualifies fastest Sunday, May 17, 2015, winning the pole for the Verizon IndyCar Series Indianapolis 500 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in Indianapolis, Indiana. Dixon will be joined in the front row by Will Power, driver of the #1 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet who qualified second fastest, and Simon Pagenaud, driver of the #22 Avaya Team Penske Chevrolet  who qualified third for the May 24 race. (Photo by Phillip Abbott/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Scott Dixon after winning P1 at IMS for the 99th Running of the Indianapolis Mile Race on Sunday May 18 2015. (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Scott Dixon after winning P1 at IMS for the 99th Running of the Indianapolis Mile Race on Sunday May 18 2015. (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Scott Dixon after winning P1 at IMS for the 99th Running of the Indianapolis Mile Race on Sunday May 18 2015. (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Scott Dixon after winning P1 at IMS for the 99th Running of the Indianapolis Mile Race on Sunday May 18 2015. (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Scott Dixon leaves for his qualifying run for the 99th Running of the Indianapolis Mile Race on Sunday May 18 2015. (Photo by: Chris Owens for IndyCar Media)

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