As the temperature neared 90 degrees on a cloudless day in Fontana, Helio Castroneves turned practice laps Tuesday in front of an empty Auto Club Speedway as part of his effort to win his first IndyCar championship.
Castroneves and other drivers in the
Castroneves said it wasn't a problem that the drivers tested during the hot daytime hours Tuesday even though the race will be held under cooler conditions at night next month.
The test still was "really important" because it helped ensure "our car is consistent, which has been the key to this championship for us" so far, Castroneves said during a break in the session.
Castroneves has one win this season, at Texas Motor Speedway in June.
The 38-year-old Brazilian, a onetime
"It was horrible, this three, four weeks of break because it gets you thinking too much" about that question, Castroneves said, referring to how the IndyCar series hasn't raced since Sept. 1.
"You're like, 'What should I do, go for it or should I just take it easy?' " he said. "At this point I'm just thinking I have to have a very, very good solid race."