INDYCAR News And Notes - Feb. 25, 2013

Story posted - Feb 26 2013 5:59 AM

Today's IZOD IndyCar Series, Firestone Indy Lights and Mazda Road to Indy headlines:

1. Sonoma test continues preseason preparations
2. Rahal aims for another win in Honda Classic Pro-Am
3. Brabham leads Pro Mazda test at Circuit of the Americas

1. Sonoma test continues preseason preparations: The weather difference between Florida and Indiana on Feb. 19 wasn't the only reason Ed Carpenter yearned to be at Sebring International Raceway. It was the 13 drivers participating in testing on the 1.7-mile facility - and 20 in all over three days.

Carpenter will get his initial on-track time of the year Feb. 27 at Sonoma Raceway.

"Anytime there are people testing somewhere and you're not there you feel like you're missing something, but we'll get our turn soon and we're excited about that," said the second-year IZOD IndyCar Series team owner/driver. "The season is just around the corner and we have a lot of work to do out there so it should be a good test."

Carpenter will be joined by JR Hildebrand (National Guard Panther Racing), Oriol Servia (Panther DRR), Tony Kanaan and Simona de Silvestro (KV Racing Technology) and Sebastien Bourdais and Sebatian Saavedra (Dragon Racing) as part of a Chevrolet manufacturer test.

Simon Pagenaud (Schmidt Hamilton HP Motorsports) and Tristan Vautier (Schmidt Peterson Motorsports) will participate in a Honda manufacturer test.

Fans will be admitted to the facility for free from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Spectators who purchase a ticket to the Aug. 23-25 GoPro Indy Grand Prix of Sonoma during the test will be given a pit tour. A news conference will be held during the lunch break and fans will be admitted free, as well, pending space.

The test day is the last scheduled before the first Open Test of the year at Barber Motorsports Park on March 12-13. The season-opening Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg is March 22-24.

"I haven't driven since last December and I'm anxious to get out there," said Pagenaud, the 2012 Sunoco Rookie of the Year. "We have some work to do on the road course setup. After the Sebring test in December we knew we needed to focus more on the road course this year where the street course has a good package.

"The nice thing this year is we have two cars for sharing information."

2. Rahal aims for another win in Honda Classic Pro-Am: Graham Rahal isn't consciously aiming for a three-peat in the Kenny G Gold Pro-Am presented by Tire Kingdom at PGA National in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla. Of course, being a member of the winning foursome again would be a great way to kick off the year.

On Feb. 27, Rahal and two other playing partners will be paired with PGA Tour member Rickie Fowler, a motorsports fan who raced competitively in motocross, in the prelude to the Honda Classic. Rahal has been part of the winning team the last two years, teaming with Nick Price, Tadanobu Nagumo, Takao Oishi and Larry Day to win in 2011 and Camillo Villegas, NAPA Auto Parts president Dan Askey, Valvoline director of national accounts John Scanlon, and golf instructor and former LPGA Tour member Lynn Parke in 2012.

Rahal prepped ("not enough," he said) by joining new Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing teammate James Jakes for a round of golf following the test at Sebring International Raceway last week.

"It's a championship course so it's cool to get the opportunity to play there," Rahal said of PGA National. "It's not a place that people generally get to play every day unless you are staying at the resort. It's a very cool layout. The bear trap, which is in the back, is an extremely difficult section of three holes on the course. It will be an exciting and enjoyable time to just be with sponsors, see some fans and that sort of thing. I enjoy it quite a lot."

The pro-am is a major fund-raiser for the Honda Classic's charity, the Nicklaus Children's Health Care Foundation.

3. Brabham leads Pro Mazda test at Circuit of the Americas: Matthew Brabham paced a two-day Pro Mazda test at the Circuit of the Americas as teams prepared for the March 1-2 season-opening doubleheader at the track located in Austin, Texas.

Brabham, the son of former Indy car and sports car driver Geoff Brabham and grandson of racing legend Sir Jack Brabham, posted a time of 2:04.461 in his No. 83 Andretti Autosport machine on Feb. 24.

Juncos Racing's Diego Ferreira was second with a lap of (2:05.612) on Feb. 24 followed by Team Pelfrey's Spencer Pigot (2:05.753 on Feb. 24), World Speed Motorsports's Kyle Kaiser (2:05.798 on Feb. 23) and JDC Motorsport's Zack Meyer (2:05.873 on Feb. 24).

In all, 15 drivers participated in the test on the 3.427-mile circuit.

***

The 2013 IZOD IndyCar Series season opens with the Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg March 24 on the streets of St. Petersburg, Fla. The race will be televised live at noon (ET) by the NBC Sports Network (Verizon FiOS 90/590, DirecTV 220, DISH 159 and AT&T UVerse 640) and broadcast by the IMS Radio Network on SiriusXM and www.indycar.com. The 2013 Firestone Indy Lights season begins March 23 on the Streets of St. Petersburg. The race will be televised by NBC Sports Network at 11 a.m. (ET) on March 24, immediately preceding the IZOD IndyCar Series race broadcast.

 
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