Power sweeps Barber test for second year in a row

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Maybe they oughta re-name the joint Power Motorsports Park.

Will Power followed up his Monday pace-setting with the fastest time both on Tuesday and of the week for the Verizon IndyCar Series’ two-day test at Barber Motorsports Park. His best lap in the No. 12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet on Tuesday was 1:07.0608, set on his 41st of 62 laps.

Power, now in five years with Team Penske at Barber, has this record: the 2010 and 2011 poles, the 2011 and 2012 race wins, and a sweep of both preseason test sessions in 2013 and 2014 at the 2.38-mile road course in Birmingham, Ala.

Unlike on Monday though, Power had competition from other teams in the top three. Justin Wilson, who’s gotten in a substantial amount of seat time this winter, took his No. 19 Dale Coyne Racing Honda up to second at 1:07.0646, a mere 0.0038 of a second off the pace.

With defending series champion Scott Dixon also within a tenth, at 1:07.0791 in the No. 9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet, the top of the field was tightly bunched.

In truth, the whole field was. Barely more than 1.3 seconds covered Power up front to former teammate Oriol Servia, now with Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing, 22nd and last at 1:08.3943.

Takuma Sato again impressed in fourth for A.J. Foyt Racing, with Ryan Briscoe fifth in the NTT Data Chip Ganassi Racing entry.

Bryan Herta Autosport’s Jack Hawksworth was best of the three rookies in 12th, three tenths clear of Carlos Munoz (Andretti Autosport) in 16th and six tenths up on Mikhail Aleshin (Schmidt Peterson Motorsports) in 20th. Considering Hawksworth was a late add to the No. 98 Honda, getting within six tenths of Power was a rather good day’s work.

INDYCAR OPEN TEST – TUESDAY TIMES

INDYCAR OPEN TEST – COMBINED TIMES (MON./TUES.)

Three-time W Series champ Jamie Chadwick joining Andretti in Indy NXT Series for 2023

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Jamie Chadwick, the three-time W Series champion, will drive for Andretti Autosport in the Indy NXT Series next season.

Chadwick will make her debut in an American racing series in March, driving the No. 28 for Andretti Autosport with sponsorship from DHL. The 24-year-old will become the first female driver in 13 years to compete full time in the Indy NXT championship.

Chadwick joined the female free-to-enter W Series in its inaugural 2019 season, winning two races and the first of three consecutive championships. She has been a reserve driver for the Williams Formula One team and will continue in that role in 2023. She also has driven in the Extreme E Series.

Despite her success, Chadwick hasn’t landed a bigger ride in F3 or F2, and her break didn’t come until Michael Andretti contacted her and offered a test in an Indy NXT car.

The final three races of this year’s W Series schedule were canceled when funding fell through, but Chadwick still believes the all-female series was the right path for her.

“W Series has always been and will continue to be an opportunity to be racing for every female driver, so for my side, I looked at it while perhaps I would have liked to step up maybe earlier, at the same time being able to have that chance to race, get that experience, have that development, seat time… I was constantly learning,” Chadwick told The Associated Press.

“In that sense, I wasn’t frustrated at all. But on the flip side of it, now I’ve had that experience testing in the United States in Indy NXT and this is something I’m really excited about.”

Chadwick also is expected to have an enhanced role as a development driver next season with Williams, which chose American driver Logan Sargeant to fill its open seat on next year’s F1 grid.

“Andretti Autosport is proud to be supporting Jamie alongside DHL,” said Michael Andretti. “Jamie’s successful career speaks for itself, but Indy NXT gives Jamie the opportunity to continue her development in a new type of racing.

“We’ve turned out five Indy NXT champions over the years and look forward to continuing our role in developing new talent.”

Indy NXT is the new name of the rebranded Indy Lights Series, the final step on the ladder system before IndyCar.

Andretti will field two drivers next season in IndyCar that were developed in Indy NXT: Kyle Kirkwood, the 2021 champion, will return to Andretti after one season in IndyCar driving for A.J. Foyt Racing, and Devlin DeFrancesco is back for a second season.

Chadwick will be teammates in Indy NXT with Hunter McElrea and Louis Foster. She becomes Andretti’s second full-time female driver alongside Catie Munnings, who competes for Andretti United in the Extreme E Series.