As Phoenix test occurs, wait for IndyCar race confirmation continues

AP
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Tony Kanaan and Graham Rahal made the most of their Tuesdays – for the second time in five weeks, they were back behind the wheel of their respective IndyCars.

The pair were on hand for a Firestone tire test at Phoenix International Raceway, the 1-mile oval that has seen some sporadic IndyCar testing the last few years. Both drivers also tested Sept. 22 at Road America in advance of that track’s return to the Verizon IndyCar Series schedule next year.

Kanaan returned to the No. 10 NTT Data Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet, while Rahal’s usual No. 15 Steak ‘n Shake RLL Honda was not in livery, instead adorned in the traditional testing camouflauge wrap as the team was due to test new aerodynamic components. Andretti Autosport had done so at Road America.

Here’s some pics from the test:

Rahal then added this tidbit on the day of testing itself:

There were no indication of lap times for the test. Arie Luyendyk holds the all-time track record, with a qualifying lap of 183.599 mph (18.758 seconds), in 1996. The track was reconfigured in 2011.

While ordinarily any testing at Phoenix has been limited and a one-off, anticipation is higher this year because of the potential of an IndyCar race return to the track for 2016, tentatively penciled in for April 2.

No contract is complete yet; however, per a PIR spokesperson, plans are in the works to formalize and finalize a contract.

“I know that the discussions are ongoing, but no deal has been signed at this point. Hopefully something gets worked out in the next few days and we can announce something in the next week or so, but right now that’s where we’re at,” a PIR spokesperson wrote in an email to MotorSportsTalk.

As the calendar is already at October 20, the IndyCar schedule for 2016 has most of its puzzle pieces complete, but not all of them, and that’s made a holdup for a full schedule release.

I’m hesitant to say it’s imminent at that this stage, but per sources, it should be out by the end of the month, if not the end of the week.