An unmistakable aroma of change could be detected in the methanol perfumed desert air.
2018’s first full field open test of the new cars on the famed Phoenix oval concluded on an unexpectedly expensive note for a few teams, while RLL Racing’s Takuma Sato emerged as the quickest car of the weekend.
Nearly seven thousand laps were turned in the PrixView Open Test in total. Chip “Gangsta” Ganassi‘s veteran Scott Dixon became the second man ever to seriously test the new cars’ safety features – after Hinchcliffe broke the cherry in a previous test – as his car got loose and the rear end hit the wall in turn two. Dixie was fine afterwards, citing traffic – specifically “Andretti cars” – as a factor.
Photo from twitter.com
Dixon wasn’t alone though, as a number of cars grew familiar with the SAFER barrier during the final session Saturday night. Not surprisingly, A.J. Foyt Racing‘s rookie Matt Leist brushed the barrier no fewer than three times, as did Ragin’ Graham Rahal toward the very end of the evening.
Photo from indycar.com
But Rahal still had much to be happy about, claiming the top speed in the only session his teammate, defending Indy 500 winner Sato, didn’t pace. Team Penske’s Will “wah wah” Power posted the second best overall speed of the weekend, it coming as did Taku’s 189.8 mph benchmark in Saturday night’s session.
Other items of note include new team news from the PrixView. Juncos Racing and their rookie Kyle Kaiser didn’t participate in the final session Saturday under the lights, foregoing the opportunity for some strange reason. Kaiser turned in the slowest speed on the weekend. Tellingly, Hinch was second slowest overall, running in all four sessions with an established, albeit questionable team in SPM.
Major renovations are ongoing at the speedway, and will continue through the IndyCar race in April and beyond. They include new grandstands, escalators and wisely following one of our suggestions in providing some much needed shade. The infield’s currently a dusty mess, although new garages are in the offing.
Seeing the brand new chariots running full throttle around the historic venue sure does make us pine for more oval tracks, please!
Photo from indycar.com