More than a dozen IndyCar Series drivers tested at Infineon Raceway this week in preparation for the PEAK Antifreeze & Motor Oil Indy Grand Prix of Sonoma County on August 24.
Among those testing was series points' leader Scott Dixon, who holds a 78-point advantage over Helio Castroneves with three races remaining.
“It's always nice to go back to a circuit where you've won,” said Dixon, who won last year's race on the 12-turn circuit. “It's going to be a tough race, so it's nice to get some testing in.”
While Dixon had the opportunity to turn some laps on the 2.245-mile course, Castroneves will have to rely on teammate Ryan Briscoe's assessment.
“You can't test during a race weekend, and you've got to come in with a plan and really go for it,” said Briscoe, the pole winner at the track in 2005. “Qualifying is tough, and it's important to do consistent fast laps, and then we go racing. It's nice to get a day of testing in.”
This marked the first large-scale test of the modified version of the road course that will be used by the IndyCar Series. Drivers now exit Turn 6 and go directly up the track's drag strip as opposed to veering left before the right-hander at Turn 7.
“I think you will see some new passing with this change,” said Vitor Meira, who had a best finish of third at Infineon in 2006.
“It's a tough corner because you're going from the fastest section of the track to the slowest, but it should be good.”
Other drivers who tested included Marco Andretti, Townsend Bell, A.J. Foyt IV, Mario Moraes, Will Power, Marty Roth, Tomas Scheckter, and Oriol Servia among others.
Practice for the race begins August 22 with the battle for the PEAK Motor Oil Pole Award slated for August 23.