IndyCar set for Barber open test

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As in 2011, the IZOD IndyCar Series will test at Barber Motorsports Park before its first race of the season at St. Petersburg. Official pre-season testing shifted to Sebring International Raceway last year.

This Tuesday and Wednesday, expect the full field of 25 cars to be testing together for the first time this year. Additionally, Team Penske has confirmed AJ Allmendinger will test this week as well, in preparation for his return to the series for the April 7 race.

A number of teams tested at Sebring in February and another nine more cars did at Sonoma at the end of the month.

The only unconfirmed seat on the grid is Dale Coyne’s second car, which is notoriously late to be filled. Ana Beatriz has been rumored to fill the seat and may test this week; the Brazilian ran two races in a jointly prepared Conquest Racing/Andretti Autosport car last year.

Barber’s qualifying session in 2012 was interrupted by a red flag in the middle of the second round of qualifying for the fastest 12 cars. When Ryan Hunter-Reay spun and contacted the wall, it caught several drivers out without a fast enough time to advance to the Firestone Fast Six. The Fast Six, then, comprised two drivers making their only Top 6 appearance in 2012 (JR Hildebrand, Tony Kanaan) and one who only made two (Mike Conway).

Conway’s been replaced at A.J. Foyt Racing by Takuma Sato this season. The Japanese driver led a day of Sebring testing on Feb. 19.

Of the 26 projected cars, only James Jakes (RLL Racing), Coyne’s second driver, and Bryan Herta Autosport’s Alex Tagliani are making their first tests of 2013 this week.