GIAFFONE RETURNS TO COCKPIT DURING CHICAGOLAND TESTING

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Felipe Giaffone returned to the cockpit of an IndyCarTM Series car Aug. 27 during private testing at Chicagoland Speedway.

It was the first time Giaffone has been in an IndyCar Series car since he suffered fractures to his right leg and pelvis in an accident during the Kansas Indy 300 on July 6 at Kansas Speedway.

?It?s just great, really great to be back,? Giaffone said. ?My leg wasn?t a big issue. Toward the end of the day, it was getting a little tired. I would feel it a little bit, but then I would just put my left foot on top of my right one and go on.?

Alex Barron substituted for Giaffone in the No. 21 Hollywood Mo Nunn Racing Panoz G Force/Toyota and scored a win in the Firestone Indy 400 July 27.

?I?ve been waiting too long,? Giaffone said. ?I missed seven races overall between IRL IndyCar Series and IROC. Even though I?ll tell you, you?re not going to believe me, how much I missed it.?

Giaffone wasted no time getting back to work, offering feedback to his Mo Nunn Racing crew throughout the day.

?We kept working on finding more speed, as everybody else is, but I think I have a very good car,? Giaffone said. ?The car seems to be very good for the race. We still have to find a couple of tenths (of a second) to go quicker, but the car feels fairly stuck. I?m happy with how the car is handling.?

Veteran Richie Hearn returned to an IndyCar Series car for the first time since the 87th Indianapolis 500 on May 25. Hearn, who has one career IndyCar Series victory, tested the No. 2 Menards/Johns Manville Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone on the 1.5-mile oval.

?It went really good,? Hearn said. ?I haven?t driven since Indy, so it takes a little bit for myself to get up to speed. Team Menard did a good job. The car was right on right when I got out there. We made just some minor adjustments. I?m pretty impressed with the power.?

Hearn is scheduled to drive for the team at the Delphi Indy 300 Sept. 7.

?Hopefully, we?ll be ready for next week,? Hearn said. ?They?re doing a really good job. They?ve just had some bad luck. The Chevrolet engine has, obviously, come around. We definitely have a fairly decent shot of finishing in the top five. We just have to have a lot of things go our way, and I can?t make any mistakes. I?m pretty confident that we?ll have a good weekend.?

Several other teams tested at Chicagoland in preparation for the Delphi Indy 300. Two-time Indianapolis 500 winner Helio Castroneves tested his No. 3 Marlboro Team Penske Dallara/Toyota/Firestone, while 1998 Indianapolis 500 winner and 1999 IndyCar Series champion Kenny Brack tested the No. 15 Pioneer/Miller Lite Dallara/Honda/Firestone. Bryan Herta tested his No. 27 Archipelago/Motorola Dallara/Honda/Firestone, and his Andretti Green Racing teammate Tony Kanaan tested the No. 11 Team 7-Eleven Dallara/Honda/Firestone.

Target Chip Ganassi Racing drivers Scott Dixon and Tomas Scheckter split time in the No. 10 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Panoz G Force/Toyota/Firestone, while rookie Roger Yasukawa tested the No 55 Panasonic ARTA Dallara/Honda/Firestone. Tora Takagi tested the No. 12 Pioneer Mo Nunn Racing Dallara/Toyota/Firestone, Buddy Rice tested the No. 52 Red Bull Cheever Racing Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone and Robbie Buhl tested the No. 24 Purex/Aventis Dreyer & Reinbold Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone.

Several teams also are expected to test on Aug. 28.

The Delphi Indy 300 at Chicagoland Speedway is scheduled for Sept. 7 and will be broadcast live at 1 p.m. (Central Time) on ABC-TV and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Radio Network.

Click here for more information about the September 5-7 ARCA/IRL weekend.

Click here for photos of the test session.

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500 Speedway Blvd, Joliet, Illinois 60433 Tickets & Information Call 888.629.RACE (7223)

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