Ryan Phinny gets comfortable in first IndyCar test with KV Racing Technology

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KV Racing Technology is yet to name its second driver alongside KVSH Racing driver Sebastien Bourdais, who will be with the team for his second season.

But American rookie hopeful Ryan Phinny has now had his first outing with KV Racing Technology, Monday at Sebring International Raceway’s short course for a one-day test.

Phinny has spoken openly of his ambitions to get into the Verizon IndyCar Series and now with this first test, should be a step closer.

“The situation at the team itself is fantastic,” Phinny told MotorSportsTalk on Monday night. “Leaving today, I feel positive.

“My biggest thing is getting seat time. I feel comfortable and acclimated to the car. It’s drastically different than anything I had driven before, but I’m not over my head.”

Phinny, the 25-year-old Los Angeles resident who would seek to be a rare L.A. native in the series full-time, studied copiously in advance of his first test.

Surprisingly, considering his experience in sports cars and Indy Lights over the last eight to nine years, his test Monday marked his first ever run on Sebring’s short course.

It was also interrupted midday for a mechanical issue that cost him about two and a half hours of running. But thanks to the KV Racing Technology crew, Phinny was able to get back out for the final half hour of the day and bring his lap total north of 40 overall.

“‘I’ve been here, but never on the short course,” Phinny said. “Jumping in a car like this compared to even an LMP or DP car or GT car makes for a drastic difference, but still a great experience.

“Doing the Lights stuff last year, has helped me get ready for this test. It made a lot of sense. I feel confident and I’m thankful the team is happy with me. They’d be the first ones to say if they weren’t.”

Phinny said the biggest adjustment in stepping up from an Indy Lights chassis into an IndyCar is learning the braking on the Dallara DW12, as the car fitted with Brembo’s carbon brakes.

“Primarily the braking is the big thing,” Phinny said. “I’ve driven cars with similar horsepower, but weigh a lot more. But to drive one that’s as light and quick as this, to have the braking power that it has was a cool experience. I spent the first session, session and a half getting acclimated to that. Having all the controls on the steering wheel is really nice.”

KV Racing Technology is yet to decide on a driver for the second car. Stefano Coletti impressed the team in his last test at NOLA Motorsports Park, and Phinny would be another potential rookie candidate in contention for the seat, which is now the No. 4 Chevrolet engineered by Matt Curry.

Steve Torrence takes NHRA points lead with Gatornationals victory

NHRA Gainesville Steve Torrence
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GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Two-time defending NHRA Top Fuel champion Steve Torrence took the points lead Sunday in the AMALIE Motor Oil Gatornationals, beating his father, Billy, in the final round at Gainesville Raceway.

Torrence had a 3.809-second run at 322.11 mph to win for the third time this year and 39th overall. He is now on track for another championship despite missing the season opener.

“We’ve got some good momentum and to be in the points lead, it’s a testament to how hard these guys work,” Steve Torrence said after the NHRA Gainesville victory. “We’ve just got to stay focused and concentrate on what the task at hand is, and that’s trying to win a championship. These guys give me an unbelievable race car and you just try not to screw it up.”

Ron Capps won in Funny Car, Alex Laughlin in Pro Stock and Matt Smith in Pro Stock Motorcycle.

Capps raced to his second win this year and 66th overall, beating Tim Wilkerson with a 3.937 at 323.12 in a Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat.

Laughlin topped Aaron Stanfield with a 7.068 at 204.76 in a Chevrolet Camaro for his first win this season and fourth in his career. Smith rode to his first victory in 2020 and 25th overall, topping Andrew Hines with a 6.843 at 196.99 on an EBR.