Testing… Is This Thing On?

Can you believe it? Our beloved DW12’s will be back in all their glory next month. Yep, next month! I’m not the only one hyped up about it, either…

openwheelamericamidohioThat’s right – the excitement of the IndyCar 2014 season is officially upon us. February testing kicked off earlier this week at Sebring Raceway in Florida with Mike Conway in the #20 Fuzzy’s Vodka Chevy. The British driver will be behind the wheel for Ed Carpenter Racing on this season’s road courses & street circuits while Ed will tackle the oval tracks.

Carlos Huertas tested for Panther Racing on Monday as well, and I have to tell you it was throwing me off a bit to see that team car without a camouflage livery. That look however, will be worn this year by the #15 Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing Honda with Graham Rahal as its driver. However, allow me to digress, as we will play a match game of sponsors, teams & drivers in a future column.

Dale Coyne Racing & Bryan Herta Autosport were supposed to test this past week, according to the original IndyCar schedule, but they did not.  After Justin Wilson sustained a pelvic fracture in the 2013 season finale & then successfully completed his stint at the Rolex 24 of Daytona a few weeks ago, I was looking forward to hearing about his first time back in an IndyCar since Fontana. Looks like we’ll have to wait a bit longer for that – perhaps at the next Sebring test on Monday, February 17th? We’ll keep an eye out as BHA and Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing are both expected to make a showing in Florida that day as well.

All four of the Andretti Autosport boys were on hand this past week however, keeping a relatively low profile on social media in regards to how their tests were progressing with the new Honda engines. Schmidt Peterson Motorsports however were a bit more vocal about their experience on track with the Honda twin-turbo. According to Tony DiZinno from NBC Sports, Simon Pagenaud was very impressed, saying,

“HPD and the whole SPM team were on top of their game. We’ve made major improvements on the engine and it really is a huge plus. I can only congratulate Honda on the job they’ve been doing over the winter.”

The next round of testing for IndyCar will be on the opposite end of the country, with Fontana’s Auto Club Speedway hosting a variety of teams next week on the February 10th test. Expected to make the trip are the Chip Ganassi Racing drivers, as well as Team Penske, KV Racing and Ed Carpenter Racing. 48 hours later they will move up the California coast line to Sonoma Raceway and be joined by Schmidt Peterson Motorsports and AJ Foyt Racing. We’ll round out the month at Barber Motorsports Park where Juan Pablo Montoya, Helio Castroneves & Will Power will test for Team Penske on February 20th.

They say practice makes perfect… but perfection is boring & to be fair, it’s also relative. So let’s make some runs, tweak the cars to have them perform at their peak, learn from it all and get stoked to hear those engines roar on their way to the green flag at the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg next month. I’m excited to share with you all that I will be in attendance for the 2014 kickoff race weekend in Florida and very much look forward to bringing you news from the track and sharing pictures of my adventure with you! The race is only 50 days away, with practices and qualifying even closer… but who’s counting?

I don’t know about all of you, but I can’t wait to tweet #raceday from the track again… it’s been far too long.