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Eight teams test at Pocono ahead of next event

With no race scheduled for this weekend, IndyCar drivers have been testing at Pocono while Justin Wilson sets his sights on a GRAND-AM outing at Watkins Glen.
Eight of the IZOD IndyCar Series teams took a chance to get their first taste of the unique Pocono Racing 'tri-oval' circuit that will be the venue for the next race of the season on July 7.

The eight teams had nominated Pocono as one of their approved private test venues for 2013 as the teams bid to get used to it before the first IndyCar race there since 1989. It's continued to be a regular venue every year in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, albeit in the very different stock cars from the open-wheel variety in IndyCar.

Andretti Autosport fielded Marco Andretti, James Hinchcliffe, Ryan Hunter-Reay and EJ Viso, while Penske had Helio Castroneves and Will Power at work after team president Tim Cindric confirmed at the weekend that rumours AJ Allmendinger would be returning to the squad for the Pocono race were untrue.

Sebastien Bourdais and Sebastian Saavedra were present for Dragon Racing while Simona De Silvestro and Tony Kanaan were at work for KV Racing Technology and James Jakes and Graham Rahal turned out for Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing. Also attending were Josef Newgarden (Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing) and Ed Carpenter (Ed Carpenter Racing).

All teams will have the opportunity to test at Pocono next week at the official open test on July 4. Castroneves explained that it was always good to have as much extra track time as possible, even if the lack of a full field of cars out on track meant it wasn't quite the same as the 'real thing' for the drivers.

"It's always good to be out there,” he said. “It doesn't matter if it's today or next week. We're always learning things that can help us. There aren't 20 cars here, but it gives you the knowledge of where to start for the race weekend. It's a good opportunity."

“I've never been to an oval like this," explained Newgarden. "It almost combines a bunch of ovals. You have one corner that's like Milwaukee. Another corner that's like Kentucky and one like Road America with a kink-like corner. It's very unique and very difficult to get right."

As it was a private team test, times weren't officially posted. However observers said that on the evidence of the day's track activities and unofficial timing it appeared that the cars were on course for qualifying speeds of around 219-220mph for next weekend's event.

Panther Racing has already confirmed that former Penske and Ganassi driver Ryan Briscoe will return to the wheel of the #4 National Guard race car at Pocono, fresh from having competed in the Le Mans 24 Hours race, and he also took part in Tuesday's track test time having flown back in from Europe.




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