What break? IndyCar teams pick up in-season testing this week

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Six consecutive weekends of on-track activity are in the books for Verizon IndyCar Series teams, but even though the next event isn’t coming until the Shell/Pennzoil Grand Prix of Houston doubleheader on June 27-29, that doesn’t mean they’ll spend all their down time on the couch.

In fact, a lot of teams are using the schedule gap to focus on in-season test work at a variety of tracks – primarily ovals – that the series will visit later this summer.

Iowa Speedway, the Milwaukee Mile, and Pocono Raceway, along with the road course at Sebring International Raceway in Florida, will host test sessions for teams over the next week and change according to the series.

Tomorrow, Iowa hosts Texas winner Ed Carpenter along with the entirety of both Team Penske (Will Power, Helio Castroneves, and Juan Pablo Montoya) and Chip Ganassi Racing (Scott Dixon, Tony Kanaan, Ryan Briscoe, and Charlie Kimball). For those in the region, the test will be open to the public with a viewing area above Turn 3 of the 7/8-mile bullring.

Then on Wednesday, a two-day session at the Milwaukee Mile will begin.

Wednesday has the Chevrolet-powered Team Penske joining a gaggle of Honda-powered squads including Andretti Autosport (Marco Andretti, James Hinchcliffe, Ryan Hunter-Reay, and Carlos Munoz), A.J. Foyt Racing (Takuma Sato), Dale Coyne Racing (Carlos Huertas and Justin Wilson), Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing (Josef Newgarden), Schmidt Peterson Motorsports (Mikhail Aleshin) and Schmidt Peterson Hamilton Motorsports (Simon Pagenaud).

The Wednesday testing is open to the public, and a food truck will be available for fans at lunch time behind the Mile’s grandstand. Thursday will see a reduced level of attendance with Carpenter and the Ganassi camp taking to the flat West Allis oval. Then on Friday, Iowa holds another test with Rahal Letterman Lanigan (Graham Rahal) joining the Andretti, SFHR and Schmidt teams.

Next Tuesday (June 17), Pocono has Team Penske and Dale Coyne Racing. After that, the Ganassi and Schmidt teams will set up shop for a two-day run at Sebring on June 18-19.

Pocono will also host a second test on June 19. KV Racing Technology (Sebastien Bourdais and Sebastian Saavedra) is expected to run with the Andretti, Carpenter and Rahal teams.

Toro Rosso boss hopes to see Kvyat return to Formula 1

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Toro Rosso chief Franz Tost hopes to see sacked driver Daniil Kvyat return to Formula 1 in the near future, saying the Russian “deserves” a place on the grid.

Toro Rosso dropped Kvyat twice through the 2017 season due to poor form, with his final dismissal coming after the United States Grand Prix in October.

Kvyat is no longer part of Red Bull’s motorsport program and is exploring options both inside and outside of F1 for 2018, and Tost feels he could be energized by some time away before returning.

“I am still convinced that Daniil has a very high natural speed. He was sometimes even faster than Daniel Riccardo, but somehow last year and this year he couldn’t show the potential that is within him,” Tost told the official F1 website.

“He was involved in many incidents, but in his defence I also have to say that he had many reliability issues and that didn’t help build up confidence. Being the victim of too many incidents killed the performance he would have been able to show.

“Maybe a short break – to get organized again – and probably we will see Daniil back at his usual performance level with another team.

“Sometimes he was too aggressive at the beginning of the race. The first corner was his weak point. He wanted too much in the first hundred meters – success by any means!

“That puts you under pressure – unnecessary pressure – and that never works.

“I hope for him that he gets another chance, as I think he deserves to be in F1.”