CONWAY BACK ON TRACK FRIDAY AS DRR PREPARES FOR SATURDAY
British Driver Gets In 51 Laps Friday; Andretti, Duno Set For Qualifying
INDIANAPOLIS (May 15, 2009)-- Rookie driver Mike Conway was smiling Friday at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway as the 25-year-old England native climbed back into his No. 24 Purex Dreyer & Reinbold Racing Honda Dallara for Indy 500 practice runs.
Conway was cleared to drive early Friday morning after suffering a mild concussion last Sunday at a high-speed crash in Turn One on the legendary two and a half mile oval. He wasted little time getting back up to speed Friday afternoon as he prepared for Saturday's qualifying round in search of a spot in the 33-driver lineup.
Conway clocked 51 laps Friday with a best speed of 219.234 miles per hour and worked closely with his engineering staff to improve the chassis setup. Unfortunately, Conway was unable to work with the final settings the team had planned due to needed track maintenance on the famed Brickyard. The yard of bricks on the front straightaway had to be repaired before Saturday's time trials.
Conway's teammates, John Andretti, Milka Duno and Davey Hamilton, also recorded solid runs Friday. Andretti and Duno, like Conway, will attempt qualifying times Saturday in hopes of securing positions in the 2009 Indy 500, set for Sunday, May 24. Hamilton, who qualified last Sunday in the 22nd position, continued work on his race setup for the No. 44 HP Kingdom Racing Honda Dallara.
Hamilton put in 50 laps with a top speed of 219.699 m.p.h. Friday, while Andretti drove his No. 43 Richard Petty Window World Honda Dallara in 31 laps for a best of 219.551. Duno, at the wheel of the No. 23 CITGO DRR Honda Dallara, posted 46 laps Friday with a top speed of 218.367.
Practice runs are set for 10:15 a.m. Saturday with the third round of time trials scheduled to begin at noon. Saturday's qualifications will determined positions 23 to 33 in the Indy 500 lineup. Bump Day qualifying will be Sunday to secure the 33-driver field.
DREYER & REINBOLD QUOTES:
MIKE CONWAY, No. 24 Purex Dreyer & Reinbold Honda Dallara: "Today was good. Our first run was just getting back into it again and feeling comfortable with the car. For the second run we went flat around the circuit and made some setup changes. I wasn't really comfortable with the setup we had and we were able to make it back out and made some good changes for tomorrow, so I'm ready for qualifying. I just want to thank the guys for getting the car ready for me. They have done a great job."
DAVEY HAMILTON, No. 44 HP Kingdom Racing Honda Dallara: "I think we have a really good race car. I'm actually very excited. I was able to follow Will Power around for ten laps, and we were able to hold our own. We made a few other changes and it was all positive. If these conditions come back on race day, I will feel pretty confident. But, obviously, the conditions are going to be different, and we are going to keep plugging away and try things. Overall I feel a lot better today than I did yesterday."
JOHN ANDRETTI, No. 43 Richard Petty Window World Honda Dallara: "I felt that the day started out pretty good. We have been trying different things. We ran on older tires to try to get a balance, so that we can prepare for the race a little bit. But also to help us be ready for qualifying as well. We'll see what happens. We came out here with a big change that we weren't able to try out. So we will find out Saturday morning. Hopefully we can get qualified right away, if the weather permits, and get this anguish over with."
MILKA DUNO, No. 23 CITGO Dreyer & Reinbold Honda Dallara: "The car was much better today. We are headed in the right direction. The balance of the car was better and we made some changes. The conditions were good for the car. We will see for tomorrow and try to qualifying early."