Team Ganassi at the Indy Test
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This was Monday, April 10 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
As I said on the previous page the buzz wuz that Juan Montoya,
reigning CART Champ in his rookie year, took only five laps to
post a 217 mph average speed during the morning session. This
on his first run at the Speedway. One of the Firestone guys told
me, "To be fair, Eddie Cheever did about the same thing
his first day here. But Juan is very impressive."
The afternoon session started at 1:30pm. The weather was about
65 degrees, overcast, very light wind. That's Derek Daly in the
blue shirt watching Jimmy Vasser's crew during last minute preparations.
Later it got colder and Derek put on a jacket. Well, well, well!!!
After one of the first runs Jimmy talks to his engineer, Julian
Robertson. The guy in the black jacket above Julian's cap is
Tim Wardrop, Arie Luyendyk's engineer last year now working for
G Force. His vast experience at The Speedway might be one reason
Ganassi bought G Force chassis. But they didn't like the hundreds
of manhours it takes to fit the bodywork on every G Force car.
They bought four or five.
Dallara owners are pleased with the fit and finish of their
cars. Dallara assembles a master car and fits all components
to that unit. I'm told hey also use that car on a shaker rig
to test a team's shocks and setup for free. That saves the team
the expense of testing a whole car on a shaker rig.
That's Chip Ganassi on the right. His team has won the last
four CART championships. He adopted Honda engines and Reynard
chassis before anyone else. Now he's switched to Toyota engines
and Lola chassis for the CART series. Here at an IRL race Ganassi
Racing runs G Force chassis and Olds Aurora V-8 engines built
by Comptech in Northern California. The shocks on the Ganassi
cars are the Koni 2812s that come stock on the car.
Bill Pappas is the tall guy on the left talking to Julian
Robertson. Bill is Montoya's engineer. I think he was at Walker
last year. Tim Wardrop leans out to look past them up the straight
where Jimmy is coming out of Turn 4.
Tom Anderson, at the left, is Managing Director of Ganassi
Racing. He's one of the reasons for the four straight championships.
When we were talking about how amazed everyone is over Montoya's
talent he told me, "Jimmy and Juan are both amazing guys.
I've seen them in the trailer grabbing flies out of the air.
They almost never miss."
Julian Robertson studies his clipboard while Tim Wardrop lights
a cigarette. In back of Tim is the new Pagoda-style building
going up on pit lane. Construction at the Speedway looks like
it has a ways to go. But I guess some of it doesn't have to be
done before the F1 race in September.
Juan Montoya's car was rolled out later and he started his
This is the right-rear tire after a run by Jimmy Vasser. They
run negative camber on the right side and positive on the left.
Rubber picked up off the track by the hot tire hides the graining
pattern on most of the tire. It shows up on the outside because
that part of the tire is up off the track when the car is going
straight at low speeds and low downforce.
Graining is a rubber friction phenomenon. At the right temperature
and sliding speed, rubber forms waves and the tips of the waves
get torn off. These longitudinal threads of rubber form as the
wave tips abrade off the rubber surface and the threads roll
across the tire balling up and forming the rubber tire debris
you see on any track. The threads form at 90 degrees to the sliding