Results of Indy Pro Series Rookie Tests
Tuesday, February 07, 2006 LAKEVILLE, Conn. – Three of the five drivers who passed their Jan. 30 rookie test for the IRL’s Indy Pro Series at Texas Motor Speedway — Steve Ablondi, Jonathan Klein and Brett Van Blankers — are Skip Barber-trained. Also at the test day (Andretti Green Racing, Brian Stewart Racing, Michael Crawford Motorsports and Sam Schmidt Motorsports were there) was Rocco DeSimone, a Skip Barber Three Day grad from 1999.
Earlier in the month, Skip Barber Race Series standout Chris Cook completed two private test days in an IPS car with O’Brien Racing.
Ablondi, 35, from Sterling, Va., is a many time race winner in the Skip Barber R/T 2000 race series; 18-year-old Klein, from Long Grove, Ill., has also won a bunch of races in the Skip Barber series; and Van Blankers, 18, from Richmond, B.C., just completed a Skip Barber advanced school at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca.
SPEEDTV.com reported that Butch Meyer, technical director for the Indy Pro Series, who supervised the test, said ‘‘Everything went very well. We have an excellent crop of young rookies heading into the Indy Pro Series in 2006. They were very impressive.’’
Unofficial times had the entire field of drivers separated by less than five-tenths of second, running at speeds in excess of 187 mph on the 1.5-mile, high-banked Texas oval.
Cook tested an IPS car at Motorsport Ranch, in Cresson, Texas. Former IRL team owner Tommy O’Brien, who now owns O’Brien Racing (IPS and Star Mazda teams), said, ‘‘Chris’s performance was excellent; his lap times and feedback to the team were top-notch.’’ Will Denney, the team’s marketing manager, said, ‘’We would love to have Chris run with us this year in the Indy Pro Series if we can put a package together for him.’’