NEWGARDEN, HILDEBRAND PUT IN STRONG LAPS MONDAY IN CFH RACING TEST AT BARBER MOTORSPORTS PARK
Young Verizon IndyCar Series stars Josef Newgarden and J.R. Hildebrand performed impressively Oct. 27 at Barber Motorsports Park in testing runs for the newly formed CFH Racing.
The testing session marked the first time the new organization worked as a two-car unit in an environment similar to its 2015 program with the two drivers piloting identical No. 20 Fuzzy’s Ultra Premium Vodka Chevrolet machines over the picturesque 2.38-mile, 17-turn permanent road course east of Birmingham, Ala.
Newgarden drove a Chevy-powered IndyCar for the first time Monday and was pleased in his learning curve with the powerplant as well as the test runs overall. Hildebrand, driving on a road circuit for the first time in 15 months, felt good about his pace in the CFH Racing Chevy Dallara and was excited to work with Newgarden.
Hildebrand was filling in Monday for Mike Conway who had a prior commitment.
CFH Racing co-owner Ed Carpenter was on hand for the team’s testing and was extremely pleased with the progress his team made on the track and working together.
“It was a very good test for the team,” said Carpenter, who’ll drive the oval races in 2015 in the Fuzzy’s Vodka Chevrolet. “Both Josef and J.R. did a good job throughout the day and both were very close on lap times all day. I think it was a very positive test for us.”
CFH Racing general manager Tim Broyles expressed his optimism with the team’s combined effort in its first event as a two-car operation.
“We were really happy how the guys worked together at Barber,” said Broyles. “It was nice to have Josef and J.R. back in the cars and working together. The engineering staff and the crew were really on the same page at the test. It is a very good group of guys and there’s a lot of experience between the two teams. They are adapting well to the new organization. We had a pretty extensive plan to work through at Barber and we are pleased with the results right now.”
Newgarden was excited about the day’s activities at Barber, including working with Hildebrand and utilizing the Chevrolet engine.
“I was really happy to finally get a test with the new group together, fully working,” Newgarden said. “We had to wait another month after getting delayed at Mid-Ohio and it was like torture at the shop going over a test plan for the last month. I think it went really well, the teams have come together really quickly and I think it’s a pretty well operating group for only being together for a few months.
“Working with JR was awesome. I think he’s such a stout dude and very good at what he does. It was nice having him there to help us through the whole test plan. We had a lot to get through and he helped make that easier. It was nice to have a solid teammate to work with for the day.”
Hildebrand, whose last Verizon IndyCar Series road racing event was at Sonoma in August 2013, came away from the testing day with great enthusiasm for being back on a road circuit, the future of CFH Racing and driving with Newgarden.
“It was very good for me to be back on a road circuit,” said Hildebrand, who placed tenth in the 2014 Indianapolis 500 driving for Ed Carpenter Racing. “It has been over a year since I was in an IndyCar on a road course and longer than that at Barber. I felt I came to the test really prepared, having worked with the team coming into Monday’s runs. I tried to get as much data and information as I could get prior to the test.
“I thought we knocked off the rust pretty quickly and I was able to get on pace with Josef. The team kept us close on running similar strategies during the day including changing tires and making chassis changes. So we had a clear read on how things developed throughout the day. I’m a little sore after the test but I am very happy just to get back in the race car. It was a very smooth process and good day overall.”
The Speedway, Ind.-based organization now continues its off-track merger with construction being completed at the team headquarters. CFH Racing will prepare for testing at the beginning of 2015.
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