Sunday, March 16, 2014

Preview: 2014 Spring Training

The stars of the Verizon Indycar Series will once again unite for Spring Training at Barber Motorsports Park in Birmingham, Alabama. Spring Training has become a regular fixture for Indycar teams and drivers recently, serving as the unofficial beginning of the season. This serves as the first time teams and drivers are at the same place since the season finale of last season.

Spring Training is an opportune time for drivers to not only work with the cars and setups, but to also gel with new staff and teams or to rekindle old connections. Given that Barber hosts the third race of the 2014 Indycar season, this test also serves as a chance to learn about the car for that race, as well as all of the other road courses. Drivers and teams will look to get prepared for the upcoming season and the long grind ahead.

Both sessions on Monday and Tuesday will begin at 10:00AM and will temporarily cease at Noon, followed by a lunch break. Testing will resume at 2:00PM and all track activity will conclude at 5:00PM (all times in Eastern time).

Will Power of Australia driver of the #12 Team Penske Dallara Chevrolet during Day One of IZOD IndyCar Series testing at Barber Motorsports Park on March 12, 2013 in Birmingham, Alabama.
Will Power at Spring Training in 2013 (Photo: Robert Laberge / Getty Images North America)

2013 Spring Training,which was also held at Barber Motorsports Park, saw 28 drivers occupy 27 entries during the testing. The field would end up having 24 full-time entries for the 2013 season. This year, there will be 23 entries for the test, with an expected 22 full-time rides. Oriol Servia is the additional entry, as he has a part-time deal with Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing for rounds 2-5. Here are the entrants for the test (Car number, driver, team, engine manufacturer):

#2 Juan Pablo Montoya / Team Penske / Chevrolet
#3 Helio Castroneves / Team Penske / Chevrolet
#7 Mikhail Aleshin [R] / Schmidt Peterson Hamilton Motorsports / Honda
#8 Ryan Briscoe / Chip Ganassi Racing / Chevrolet
#9 Scott Dixon / Chip Ganassi Racing / Chevrolet
#10 Tony Kanaan / Chip Ganassi Racing / Chevrolet
#11 Sebastien Bourdais / KVSH Racing / Chevrolet
#12 Will Power / Team Penske / Chevrolet
#14 Takuma Sato / AJ Foyt Enterprises / Honda
#15 Graham Rahal / Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing / Honda
#16 Oriol Servia / Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing / Honda
#17 Sebastian Saavedra / KVSH Racing / Chevrolet
#18 TBA / Dale Coyne Racing / Honda
#19 Justin Wilson / Dale Coyne Racing / Honda
#20 Mike Conway / Ed Carpenter Racing / Chevrolet
#25 Marco Andretti / Andretti Autosport / Honda
#27 James Hinchcliffe / Andretti Autosport / Honda
#28 Ryan Hunter-Reay / Andretti Autosport / Honda
#34 Carlos Munoz [R] / Andretti Autosport / Honda
#67 Josef Newgarden / Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing / Honda
#77 Simon Pagenaud / Schmidt Peterson Hamilton Motorsports / Honda
#83 Charlie Kimball / Chip Ganassi Racing / Honda
#98 Jack Hawksworth [R] / Bryan Herta Autosport / Honda

Dale Coyne is expected to have a second entry in 2014, but nothing is official at the moment.

New entries (compared to 2013 season): 4th Chip Ganassi Racing entry and 3rd Team Penske entry.
Absent entries (compared to last season): 1st and 2nd Dragon Racing entries and Panther Racing entry.

I did a rundown of the driver changes already. View that here.

23 cars entered for Spring Training, with 22 full-time entries expected for the 2014 season. There are 14 cars using Honda engines, and 9 cars using Chevrolet engines.

Follow me on Twitter and, assuming Timing and Scoring is up and running on Indycar.com, expect me to post the times from both days. Let's go racing!

-Matthew Hickey

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