The IZOD IndyCar Series began preparations for the upcoming 2011 season with the first day of testing today at Barber Motorsports Park.
While it's no surprise that Will Power is at the top of the field, it is interesting to see how close the top teams actually were. Power's best lap of the day was clocked at 1 minute, 12.50 seconds while Scott Dixon finished just behind him at 1:12.55.
In addition to Power and Dixon, four other drivers were in the 1:12 bracket on their best lap. They included Power's teammates Helio Castroneves and Ryan Briscoe as well as Justin Wilson and rookie James Hinchcliffe.
Of the 24 drivers that took part in the first day of testing, six were rookies.
While there has been much separation between the top teams and the smaller ones in the sport, today's testing was not proof of that at all. Seven different teams were represented in the top 10 of the combined time sheet for the two sessions, and the top 18 cars were separated by just one second.
Five more hours of track time are scheduled for tomorrow, in preparation for the season-opening Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg on March 27. Barber Motorsports Park will host the Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama on April 10.
Today was also a chance to see some of the new drivers and teams for the upcoming season.
Graham Rahal made some laps in his new ride for Chip Ganassi. Charlie Kimball was also out to join veteran teammates Scott Dixon and reigning champion Dario Franchitti.
The regulars were all out making laps, yet it felt like something was missing. With no Tony Kanaan or Dan Wheldon, things just felt different. We're used to getting some funny yet informative stuff from T.K., especially on days like today.
It'll be interesting to see what transpires in the next week and whether he can find a ride, but it's not looking too promising right now.
Testing continues tomorrow, and then teams will prepare to head to St. Petersburg.