Following six consecutive weekends of on-track activity, the next Verizon IndyCar Series event is the June 27-29 Shell and Pennzoil Grand Prix of Houston presented by the Greater Houston Honda Dealers. Time for some R&R … with exception.
Many teams will use the break for testing on ovals on the schedule in July.
“We did our offseason testing and once the season gets rolling we look at areas where we want to either be more competitive or have opportunity to run better, so we identify some tracks where we could run up front,” Ed Carpenter Racing team manager Tim Broyles said.
“Sometimes we’re our own worst enemy. Yes, it would be easy to sit at home and go to the shop every day, but we want to win these races and you can’t win races sitting at home.”
Driver/team owner Ed Carpenter will drive the No. 20 Fuzzy’s Ultra Premium Vodka car at Iowa Speedway (June 10), Milwaukee Mile (June 12) and Pocono Raceway (June 19). On the front end, the team has secured a luxury motorcoach (“a rock ‘n’ roll party bus,” Broyles said) to ease the logistics for crew members.
While team members fly via charter flight to their Indianapolis base following the Firestone 600 at Texas Motor Speedway, the transporter will be driven to Iowa Speedway to wait for the crew June 9.
“We’ll prep the car there. Mechanically, from Texas to Iowa to Milwaukee the car is similar; we brought some spare parts with us and the short track wing is already on the truck to just make it easier on the guys,” Broyles said. “Then, any work we need to do for Milwaukee we’ll do (following the sessions on the .875-mile oval in Newton, Iowa), spend the night and drive (June 11) to Milwaukee.”
The bus will head back to Indianapolis after the test on the one-mile Milwaukee oval and crew members will have their first three-day weekend since Easter in mid-April. They’ll return to the shop to prep the car for its trip to Pocono, and follow the transporter via charter flight.
“We’ll do test on the 19th and fly home that evening and take another long weekend to get the guys freshened up and spend time with their families,” Broyles said. “We want to make sure we’re prepared for the next grind ahead of us, four in a row.”
Except for Open Tests, testing is not permitted within seven days before the start of on-track activity at an event location. That blackout before the doubleheader at Houston starts June 20. The next open dates for team and engine manufacturer testing is July 21-24 (between the Honda Indy Toronto doubleheader and Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio). Four teams already have scheduled a test session for July 24 at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course.
Additionally, Juan Pablo Montoya will compete in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Michigan International Speedway next weekend in a Team Penske car.
June 10 at Iowa Speedway: Chip Ganassi Racing (Ryan Briscoe, Scott Dixon, Tony Kanaan, Charlie Kimball); Team Penske (Helio Castroneves, Juan Pablo Montoya, Will Power); Ed Carpenter Racing (Ed Carpenter).
June 11 at Milwaukee Mile: Andretti Autosport (Marco Andretti, James Hinchcliffe, Ryan Hunter-Reay, Carlos Munoz); A.J. Foyt Racing (Takuma Sato); Dale Coyne Racing (Carlos Huertas, Justin Wilson); Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing (Josef Newgarden); Schmidt Peterson Motorsports (Mikhail Aleshin); Schmidt Peterson Hamilton Motorsports (Simon Pagenaud); Team Penske (Castroneves, Montoya, Power).
Spectators are welcome to watch from the main grandstand. Food trucks will be on site during lunch time.
June 12 at Milwaukee Mile: Ed Carpenter Racing (Carpenter); Chip Ganassi Racing (Briscoe, Dixon, Kanaan, Kimball).
June 13 at Iowa Speedway: Andretti Autosport (Andretti, Hinchcliffe, Hunter-Reay, Munoz); Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing (Graham Rahal); Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing (Newgarden); Schmidt Peterson Motorsports (Aleshin); Schmidt Peterson Hamilton Motorsports (Pagenaud).
June 17 at Pocono Raceway: Dale Coyne Racing (Huertas, Wilson); Team Penske (Castroneves, Montoya, Power).
June 18-19 at Sebring International Raceway: Chip Ganassi Racing (Briscoe, Dixon, Kanaan, Kimball); *Schmidt Peterson Motorsports (Mikhail Aleshin); *Schmidt Peterson Hamilton Motorsports (Pagenaud). *-June 19 only
June 19 at Pocono Raceway: Andretti Autosport (Andretti, Hinchcliffe, Hunter-Reay, Munoz); Ed Carpenter Racing (Carpenter); KV Racing Technology (Sebastien Bourdais); KV AFS Racing (Sebastian Saavedra); Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing (Rahal).