“We had to get all new barriers on the track and we got that completed about the middle of January,’’ Lombardo said. “Throughout the course of last year we got a lot of other things done. We installed the rest of our lights, we moved our scoreboard frames back, and we started working on the catch area and need to get that finished up, but nothing that’s really major [is left to complete] except for the paving project.’’
Hinchcliffe hits mark
James Hinchcliffe captured the first IndyCar victory of his career in the series season opener last weekend in St. Petersburg, Fla., where the Andretti Autosport driver was joined on the podium by teammate Marco Andretti, who finished third, and runner-up Helio Castroneves. Hinchcliffe took the lead from Castroneves on a late restart when the Penske Racing driver went wide going into the first corner. “Last year we qualified fourth, finished fourth,’’ Hinchcliffe said. “Qualified fourth again and I thought that was kind of our cursed number there for a bit and then the big thing that people were saying early on in the season is ‘What is it going to take to win?’ And the big thing was minimizing mistakes.’’ . . . A.J. Allmendinger, who was forced out of his NASCAR ride at Penske Racing last summer when he tested positive for a banned substance, conducted a rookie oval orientation at Texas Motor Speedway in preparation for his run at the Indianapolis 500. “Just like any test in an IndyCar right now for me, it’s about getting comfortable,’’ said Allmendinger, who will make his IZOD IndyCar Series debut next weekend in the Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama at Barber Motorsports Park. “It all feels like I’m a fish out of water, trying to figure out how to get around. People assume back when I raced Champ Cars I did a lot of ovals, but I really only did Milwaukee, so this is brand new for me.’’
Material from personal interviews, various sanctioning bodies, race tracks, teams, and manufacturers was used in the preparation of this report. Michael Vega can be reached at email@example.com.