Archive for May 6, 2008

Speedway Sightings …

By: Wm. LaDow
Daily Trackside Reports from the Indianapolis Motor Speedway
Published in the Post-Tribune — May 6, 2008
Speedway, Indiana

All thirteen members of the 2008 Indy Rookie class ran the speedway today, and they ran it ragged.

High speed for the day belonged to Alex Lloyd, last years Firestone Indy Lights champion, who under contract to Target Chip Ganassi Racing is piloting the No. 16 Rahal-Letterman Dallara/Honda. Lloyd snapped off the fastest lap of the day 223.033 MPH.

Lloyd ran a total of 51 laps with his top speed coming on lap 42. In commenting on his prudent approach to raising his level of speed during the course of the afternoon Lloyd stated “We’re definitely giving the track plenty of respect.”

Right behind Lloyd was Hideki Mutoh in the No. 27 Andretti Green Dallara/Honda who posted a 222.600 mph lap late in the day. Mutoh also ramped up his speed systematically saying “I’m feeling more confident,” in the car and on the oval, and “I’m looking forward to my first time qualifying for the race.”

Will Power, with another impressive day of driving for KV Racing in the No. 8 Aussie Vineyard-Team Australia Dallara Honda was third on the speed charts at 222.267 mph. Newman/Haas/Lanigan Racing teammates Graham Rahal (221.155 mph) and Justin Wilson (221.029 mph) rounded out the top five with runs in No. 06 Hole in the Wall Camps Dallara/Honda and No. 02 McDonalds Dallara/Honda respectively.

But the day wasn’t without incident with Rookie Jaime Camara in the No. 34 Conquest Racing Sangari Dallara/Honda hitting the wall hard after spinning while coming out of the first turn. The car got below the white line going into the turn and rear of the car came around in half spin, backing into the wall. Camara had just completed his fourth and fastest lap of the day at 218.264 miles per hour. The revolutionary SAFER Barrier energy-absorbing wall, originally installed in 2002 and updated in 2005, and in fact was the first such installation in the world at a speedway, thankfully did its job and saved Carmara from serious injury. The car suffered substantial damage to the suspension, rear end and wing. Camara was able to walk away from the crash but later complained of back pain and was transported to Indianapolis Methodist Hospital for x-rays that proved to be negative. He has not yet been released to drive however. Further medical evaluation will be done Wednesday morning at the trackside Clarian Medical Center on the Speedway grounds before he is released to drive in open practice.

A total of twelve drivers have now completed their Rookie Orientation Program (ROP). Those who have clearance to run in open IndyCar practice starting Tuesday afternoon are: EJ Viso, Oriol Servia, Alex Lloyd, Hideki Mutoh, Ryan Hunter-Reay, Jamie Camara, Graham Rahal, Justin Wilson, Jay Howard, Enrique Bernoldi, Mario Moraes and Jaime Camara (pending release by track medical staff).

Refresher runs were made by Davey Hamilton in the No. 22 Vision Racing Dallara/Honda. Hamilton whose deal was formally announced in a press conference with Team owner Tony George Sunday morning is focused on bettering his 9th place finish in last years Indy 500

A total of 655 laps were run today with open IndyCar Series practice beginning at 12 noon Tuesday. Much activity is expected as the field begins readiness for the running for the Pole on Saturday.