IndyCar: Firestone, team testing to occur at IMS oval this week

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While the Verizon IndyCar Series still has another two weeks before its next race at Pocono Raceway on August 23, teams will be in action this week at both the Indianapolis Motor Speedway (Wednesday, August 12) and Sonoma Raceway (Thursday, August 13).

The Sonoma test will offer Indy Lights drivers the chance to run. Meanwhile, IndyCar testing on the oval will be done for both Firestone and team testing this Wednesday.

Here’s the breakdown of those testing at IMS:

  • Marco Andretti, No. 27 Snapple Honda, Firestone test
  • Helio Castroneves, No. 3 Hitachi Team Penske Chevrolet, Firestone test
  • Tony Kanaan, No. 10 NTT Data Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet, team testing
  • Ed Carpenter, No. 20 Fuzzy’s Vodka Chevrolet, team testing
  • Simon Pagenaud, No. 22 Penske Truck Rental Chevrolet, team testing
  • Ryan Hunter-Reay, No. 28 DHL Honda, team testing

Firestone tests annually at IMS and Dale Harrigle, chief engineer for Bridgestone Americas Motorsports and manager of race tire development, explained what’s going to be going on in this test.

“We have a right- and left-side compound to evaluate. We have 24 different specs of tires to evaluate and that will make up 10 sets of tires,” Harrigle said, adding that introduction of aerodynamic bodywork components to the race cars this year makes testing to determine the 2016 IMS oval tire compounds more essential.

“It’s about how to improve the tire to give the drivers a better feel with the aero kits,” he said. “It’s also to make sure we’re comfortable with the speeds that we’ll be running next year. I expect to see an increase in speed with just the continuation of development of the aero kits and the engines.”

From an INDYCAR release, the tire specification selected for the 100th Running of the Indianapolis 500 Mile Race on May 29, 2016, will be unique to the racetrack. The left-side tire specification used at this year’s Indy 500 also will be used in the penultimate race of the Verizon IndyCar Series season Aug. 23 on the 2.5-mile Pocono Raceway tri-oval.

Cars participating in the team test will run with the rear wheel guard infills that were added for Indianapolis 500 qualifications and the 200-lap race in May as a safety element.

Fans may watch the test from the South Vista grandstand and the Turn 2 viewing mounds. There is no admission charge.

Andretti ‘getting closer’ to re-signing Alexander Rossi in IndyCar

INDYCAR Photo by Joe Skibinski
INDYCAR Photo by Joe Skibinski
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TORONTO – Team owner Michael Andretti told NBCSports.com that contract negotiations with both Alexander Rossi and Honda Performance Development are progressing positively with hopes of reaching a conclusion “within the next week or two.”

Andretti spoke to NBCSports.com and to NBCN’s Robin Miller Sunday at the Honda Indy Toronto.

“I think things are getting there,” Andretti said. “We’re not there yet, but we’re close. I can’t comment, but I think things are going in the right direction.

“Honda has been great. They’ve been really good to work with. I’m hoping we can put something together there, too. We’ve been part of Honda for so long. I think we are getting real close there.

“I’m hoping to have this resolved in the next week or two.”

Rossi, who is in the final year of his contract, finished third in the race, one position ahead of championship rival Josef Newgarden of Team Penske.

That leaves Rossi just four points behind Newgarden heading into Saturday night’s race at Iowa Speedway.

Rossi’s agent is his father, Pieter.

NBCSports.com spoke to Pieter Rossi before the race, and he also expressed optimism that a deal will be reached soon for his son as the star driver, 27, enters the prime years of his career.

Andretti had separate meetings with Honda Performance Development officials and with Pieter Rossi in the hours leading up to Sunday’s Honda Indy Toronto.