Thursday, March 14, 2013

Quick Thoughts: Barber Test Day 2

-We all know it's just testing, and in the long run, these times don't matter too terribly much, but yesterday was a lot of fun to follow, as a host of drivers played leapfrog at the top while dropping their times into the mid/low 1:07s. It can't be said enough: this is a very, very deep field. And is as good as Will Power is on a road or street course, don't think for one second there isn't a whole host of drivers ready to challenge him.

-What a rough weekend for Graham Rahal and his new team! While Mike Conway was able to post some solid times Tuesday, Rahal the Younger's car encountered all sorts of issues and never seemed to find any sort of speed, even when it was on track. Fortunately, it's just a test, and St. Pete will be a whole new ballgame. And we all know what Graham is capable of at St. Pete...

-Is it just me, or has it been pretty quiet in regards to JR Hildebrand this offseason? No one seems to be talking much about the #4. I'll be curious to see how the Panther Racing team pulls it together this year, and just where they are as competitors. We already know they're strong on ovals, but where will they be on the twisties? I didn't get a good sense of that from this test. Just a random thought when the "Hildebeast" popped up on timing and scoring yesterday.

-Don't worry too much about Stefan Wilson or Ana Beatriz being towards the bottom of the speed charts. With limited track time, multiple red flags, and some car issues besides, getting through the test in one piece, gaining confidence, and helping the team gather data are benchmarks enough. Now we just wait to see the particulars of the deal for the second Coyne car...

-Not directly Barber-related, but it's been a lot of fun to follow the massive 30-car Cooper Tires USF2000 field currently participating down in Sebring as part of the race week festivities. I'm really looking forward to today and tomorrow's races. It's no exaggeration to say this is one of the most stacked fields in recent memory, with any number of drivers capable of moving up to the next levels of the ladder. Few things are more rewarding than watching a driver successfully make the climb from the lower rungs to the upper ones.

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