Indy 500: Dreyer & Reinbold Racing Orientation Day report

DREYER & REINBOLD'S MIKE CONWAY PASSES ROP RUNS Young British Driver Runs 217 MPH In Rookie Orientation Program INDIANAPOLIS -- Rookie driver Mike Conway successfully passed his Indianapolis 500 Rookie Orientation Program test...

DREYER & REINBOLD'S MIKE CONWAY PASSES ROP RUNS
Young British Driver Runs 217 MPH In Rookie Orientation Program

INDIANAPOLIS -- Rookie driver Mike Conway successfully passed his Indianapolis 500 Rookie Orientation Program test Tuesday in the opening day of action at the famed Indianapolis Motor Speedway in preparations for the 2009 Indy 500 set for Sunday, May 24.

Conway, a native of Bromley, Kent, England, was one of seven rookies taking their first laps around the famed two and a half mile oval in the No. 24 Dreyer & Reinbold Honda Dallara car under sunny skies. The entire field begins practice on Wednesday.

Conway, who ran a one minute, 29.5 seconds last Saturday in the Mini-Marathon, recorded 52 laps in his initial outing on the "Brickyard" with a best speed of 217.063 miles per hour in driving through the four phases of the rookie program. In addition to the seven rookie drivers on track Tuesday, veterans Paul Tracy and Scott Sharp drove their Honda-powered car through a "refresher" session. Tracy clocked the best speed of the day at 223.089 m.p.h.

The seven rookies and other veterans will take laps Wednesday morning at the Speedway before the entire field enters the track at 2 p.m.

Joining Conway on the track Wednesday for the four-car Dreyer & Reinbold Racing effort will be Indy 500 veterans John Andretti, Milka Duno and Davey Hamilton.

Andretti, a nine-time Indy 500 starter, will be in the Richard Petty-owned No. 43 Window World Honda Dallara, while Duno returns for her third 500 in the No. 23 CITGO DRR Honda Dallara. Hamilton, who may have completed more laps at the Speedway than any driver in history through the Indy Experience two-seater program, will attempt to qualify for his ninth Indy 500 in the No. 44 Hewlett Packard Kingdom Racing Honda Dallara.

Qualifying for the 2009 Indianapolis 500 Mile Race starts on Saturday, May 9, followed by time trials on May 10, May 16 and 17. The 33-driver field is set to start this year Indianapolis 500 at 1 p.m. [EDT] on Sunday, May 24.

DREYER & REINBOLD RACING QUOTES:

Mike Conway, driver, No. 24 Dreyer & Reinbold Honda Dallara: "The first run was a bit daunting. It's a big place here and a lot of high speed. Once I did the first run, I came back to the garages and sat down and thought about it. I felt a lot more comfortable and relaxed in the second run, which is the way that you have to be in these cars, just relaxed and feel what's going on. Overall, I'm really happy with the runs we had today. We learned a lot with the car and made some good setup changes, so I think we are looking great for tomorrow."

Dennis Reinbold, team co-owner, No. 24 Dreyer & Reinbold Honda Dallara: "We had a good day and got Mike easily through the Rookie Orientation, so tomorrow we will run a little more. We will then come back and do a motor change to get our full month motor going. Tomorrow we'll get back out running with him and the other three cars as well. It feels like we have accomplished everything that we needed to accomplish, so now we are ready to start the month."

-credit: drr

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Series INDYCAR