Rookies And Regulars Run Together, In Unification At INDY
Within their first four to eleven laps, just after the 10:00am PDT start time of the official first day of Practice at Indy, the seasoned drivers who have been to the track and have raced in IndyCar Series for the last few years showed their stuff.
Tony Kanaan – 224.591 – 9 laps, Danica Patrick – 223.479 – 11 laps, Ryan Briscoe – 223.068 – 8 laps, Marco Andretti – 223.041 – 4 laps, Helio Castroneves – 222.893 – 7 laps ... all speed marks above the fastest mark set by the ChampCar transition team rookies with KV Racing Technology's Will Power at 222.267 after 154 laps of practice.
Two other rookies also posted better times than Power in the Rookie Orientation Program with Rahal Letterman Racing's Alex Lloyd - 223.033 after 106 laps and Andretti Green Racing's Hideki Mutoh - 222.600 after only 78 laps.
The biggest story from yesterday comes from Andretti Green Racing driver, nineteen year old Marco Andretti posting a lap speed average of 226.599 mph. This mark bests the 2007 pole qualifying speed set by Team Penske driver Helio Castroneves at 225.817 by nearly 8/10ths of a second.
The regulars showed their collective experience by topping the speed charts with occupying the top ten lap speeds posted. Will Power was able to improve his time and lock down eleventh at 223.550 mph.
Mario Dominguez showed how difficult it is to get to speed on a new track, especially one as unique as Indy.
Day before yesterday on Day 2 of the Rookie Orientation Program, he progressively advanced his times on each lap - 142mph, 171mph, 189mph, 194mph, 199mph, 201.518mph, 204.435mph, 204.777mph – lap 13, 205.024 – lap 17, 205.828, and so on.
He finally posted a 214.358 and completed 48 laps on his first day, Monday.
Mario Dominguez in the #96 Visit Mexico City/Pacific Coast Motorsports Dallara taking first laps at speed on the IMS track. Image Credit: Andy Sallee (2008)
Yesterday, he began to achieve more speed - Mario on the day: “Today we really spent the afternoon building up speed and finding the limits, step by step. Every lap I turn, I learn something.
Yesterday we had to get out there and pass our three phases so we didn’t have time to really focus on anything but that. So today was our first day finding limits and seeing what the car needs. We are fighting a loose condition, but we are working through it.
This racetrack is just phenomenal; it is completely different than any track I have ever run on. I am grateful I have so much oval experience because it helps considerably, but at the same time, this track is different than any other.”
He has completed 61 Laps and is at 30th on the speed charts at 218.306. At the EDJE, we believe that PCM will be able to figure out the set-ups because they really are one of the more competent truly new teams out there.
Today, the fourth day of trials and the third day Mario and the guys at PCM take to the track, the racers face the prospect of a 60% chance of rain. Rain expects to be a threat to practice sessions over the next two days.