The red and white cars keep getting smaller and smaller at Watkins Glen International, so Andretti Green Racing spent Tuesday doing something about it.

The red and white cars keep getting smaller and smaller at Watkins Glen International, so Andretti Green Racing spent Tuesday doing something about it.

Three of AGR’s four teams arrived at The Glen to prep for the July 3-5 Camping World Grand Prix, along with Dreyer & Reinbold Racing, KV Racing Technology and Team 3G for an open IndyCar Series test on the 3.4-mile natural terrain road course. Both teams sport red-and-white paint schemes, and for the last two seasons both teams have been running roughshod over all challengers.

“I should take you to our engineer meeting because we’re asking ourselves that question all the time,” said Tony Kanaan, the senior member of AGR’s four-car operation. “It seems like this is one of the tracks where we’ve been very competitive, but we haven’t won here. I think it’s one of the few tracks where AGR hasn’t won. We’re here to try to find out.”

Target Chip Ganassi Racing has won three times at The Glen, and was poised for a fourth straight last season, while Team Penske has taken pole position for all four grands prix since the IndyCar Series returned to Schuyler County in 2005. As for AGR, the super group has four podium finishes, and two of those were by Dario Franchitti, who now drives for Ganassi’s team.

Representing AGR on Tuesday were the lone holdover from Team Green Kanaan, superstar Danica Patrick and star-crossed third-generation racer Marco Andretti. Rookie Mike Conway and curiosity Milka Duno were testing for Indy Racing League stalwart Dreyer & Reinbold, sophomore Mario Moraes was gathering data for KV Racing and redshirt freshman Richard Antinucci was taking his Indy car first laps around The Glen.

By midday, no one was able to get too much work done after last weekend’s six-hour race had ground foreign rubber into the course, and then strong thunderstorms early Tuesday morning washed off the rest of the course. It took the lightweight Indy cars a while to establish a baseline.

“We really only had one run this morning that I would say was telling of any kind,” Patrick said. “We haven’t been on the track that much, but I feel like we’ve made some improvement from the last time we were here, just a little bit to go. We could get a little better, but it’s very early.”

One thing was for sure before the rigs ever pulled into the track: AGR has to pick up the pace on road/street circuits.

Since the IRL brought its premier series to the serpentine tracks in 2005, AGR’s four teams have won four times, while Ganassi and Penske – four cars altogether – have won 12 times.

That’s not good enough, especially now that the league has seven such events on the championship schedule.

“The race is a two-day event, so it’s big to roll off the truck fast and I think here we’ve struggled a little bit,” Andretti said. “We haven’t been able to win this race, for what ever reason. Hopefully we can get the car to where we’re right there when we roll off.”

And the teams are basically starting from scratch.

“We definitely, after last year, have come back and said, ‘Look, we’re lacking something here.’ We need to kind of start over and figure it out,” Patrick said. “I’m working on one thing, Tony and Marco are more on the same page, that’s OK, their styles are slightly different than mine.”

Tuesday, style was the least of Kanaan’s concerns.

AGR figures this test to be so critical, the organization dispatched the 2004 champ to Watkins Glen despite bruised ribs and a banged-up leg – injuries suffered in a hard series of hits during the Indianapolis 500. With a noticeable limp, Kanaan fulfilled his duty by shaking down Hideki Mutoh’s No. 27 car. But it only gets worse as Kanaan has to fly to Chicago for a tire test today and Thursday.

“This is my first time at a road course since the big accident. Still limping and the ribs are still sore,” Kanaan said. “Obviously I don’t have to push as hard as I would during a race weekend, so I think I’ll do a few laps in the car, but it’s quite painful.”

So why go?

“I’m not going to have an easy week and I’m the most injured one on the team,” he joked, pointing out the padding under his firesuit. “They just told me that’s why I get paid the big bucks, so get out there.”

“This place changes a lot. We don’t know what we’re going to find out when we come back here a month from now,” he added. “You can never think that you’re going to come to Watkins Glen and dominate, especially in this series.”

Times from Tuesday’s test were not released.

Corning Leader