INDIANAPOLIS – 13 drivers took to the road course in Sonoma for the first of a big week of testing for the Verizon IndyCar Series. Following Monday’s test at the Northern California track, those teams and the others that weren’t taking a part in the test will meet in Phoenix for a three-day test on the 1.022-mile oval.
But, as far as Monday’s test at Sonoma and how it went, it sounded like it went very smoothly for all 13 teams. Times were unofficial, but from what it sounds like, all three Team Penske drivers were 1-2-3 at the end of the day.
While it may sound a bit shocking since none of the Penske cars have hit the pavement on any track in well over a month, it’s not shocking that a team with the resources and drivers like Penske has were so strong out of the gates. After all, they were all strong at Sonoma back in September, so while their speeds were a bit slower compared to last year, they were once again the class of the test.
The second best team was Dale Coyne Racing. Sebastien Bourdais and his new colors were unofficially fourth on the speed charts while rookie Pietro Fittipaldi was fifth. It was a very impressive day for them as Bourdais looks to have picked up where he left off before his injury last May and Fittipaldi who was only spending his second day in an INDYCAR was the best in class not of the Penske’s four Bourdais.
It’s a great sign to show that DCR may have something to offer across the board in 2018.
The rest were on differing strategies. Schmidt Peterson Motorsports’ two drivers and their third car in a joint effort with Michael Shank Racing weren’t necessarily going to all out speed. Neither was both Ed Carpenter Racing drivers. Jordan King was just trying to get acclimated to the new car as he’s never been on track before. Spencer Pigot was helping search for setups and not necessarily going for all out speed.
AJ Foyt Racing was searching for grip all day, but Matheus Leist unofficially was sixth quick. He was going more for speed than his Brazilian teammate of Tony Kanaan. The team is using Kanaan and his veteran wisdom to search for grip and speed and to get the best setups. That’s something a rookie with no prior INDYCAR racing experience can realistically bring at this point of the year.
Harding Racing was also on track for the first time, as it was their first time on a circuit not of a superspeedway nature.
So, as those teams head to Phoenix, they were all pretty pleased with how the test went.