Target Chip Ganassi Racing continued its preparations for the Indianapolis 500 by joining its new rivals in the Indy Racing League open test at the Brickyard on Monday.

Both Jimmy Vasser and Juan Montoya ran their recently acquired G-Force-Aurora combinations, and lapped close to the pace set by test leader - and IRL series regular - Greg Ray. Montoya impressed by clocking the second fastest speed of 219.780mph - despite never having visited the circuit before - while Vasser was close behind with 219.127mph.

''I don't feel like a rookie and was able to come out with some very fast times because I have a very good car and team,'' Montoya told journalists later, ''It hasn't been too hard to adjust to this track and it was actually a lot of fun. It's a nice atmosphere and I'm excited about racing here. Every time I go out, my adrenaline starts flowing, and I'm always trying to push the car to its limits.''

Veteran engineer Bill Pappas could confirm just how much his Colombian charge was trying, not quite able to believe Montoya's appetite for speed.

''Juan ran 217 on his fourth hot lap, came in and said he needed more power,'' he said, ''That kid is something else.''

Vasser, meanwhile, was more measured in his preparations, having already raced at Indy on four occasions. He laughed when asked how his day had gone, and whether he had tried to psyche his young team-mate out with stories of Memorial Day crowds.

''I've always been solid at this place, and it has been easy to go around this place flat-out,'' he said, ''I tried to run by myself without getting a tow from anybody, because that's what it's like in qualifying but, for our first day here, I feel fine. We're not racing until qualification, so we're just trying to get it comfortable and fast.

''When I told [Juan] about [Indianapolis], he just said, 'Yeah, cool man,''' Vasser added. ''I grew up watching this race and he didn't. It's just another track to him.''

 

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