With four races remaining to be completed on the 2016 Verizon IndyCar Series schedule, each one becomes exponentially more important.
It's why 15 drivers participated in team testing Thursday at Pocono Raceway, in preparation for the ABC Supply 500 at the 'Tricky Triangle' in Long Pond, Pennsylvania next weekend. Drivers from six teams logged more than 1700 laps on the 2.5-mile triangular oval although, because it was a team test, lap times were not reported.
Getting track time was paramount for rookie Max Chilton, making his first visit to Pocono.
"It's hugely important," said the driver of the #Gallagher Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet. "You've got to leave this being comfortable in what you've got for the race. We're trying to get that, so I'm confident to come back here in a fortnight."
Even veterans realise the value of testing at Pocono, with its three distinctly different corners.
"This place is so tricky," said Graham Rahal, "It's extremely demanding to get the car balance just right. You've got to get the aerodynamic trim levels where you're still fast enough. You can put on a ton of downforce and make it go flat [on the accelerator], but then you might go too slow for the race. Any day, any lap you can get around here, trust me, is good because you're always learning."
Also participating in the test were Jack Hawksworth and Takuma Sato of AJ Foyt Racing; Marco Andretti, defending race winner Ryan Hunter-Reay, Carlos Munoz and Alexander Rossi of Andretti Autosport; Scott Dixon, Tony Kanaan and Charlie Kimball from Chip Ganassi Racing; Ed Carpenter and Josef Newgarden of Ed Carpenter Racing; and Mikhail Aleshin and James Hinchcliffe from Schmidt Peterson Motorsports.