Indy 500: Milka Duno Opening Day report

MILKA DUNO HAPPY TO BE BACK AT THE 2009 INDY 500 INDIANAPOLIS (May 7, 2009) -- Popular Milka Duno was all smiles Thursday at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway as practice runs finally got underway. She was back behind the wheel of her...

MILKA DUNO HAPPY TO BE BACK AT THE 2009 INDY 500

INDIANAPOLIS (May 7, 2009) -- Popular Milka Duno was all smiles Thursday at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway as practice runs finally got underway.

She was back behind the wheel of her racing machine Thursday.

Duno, the personable Venezuela driver, returns to the Indianapolis 500 for her third appearance in the world's biggest event at the wheel of the No. 23 CITGO Dreyer & Reinbold Honda Dallara. Milka had to sit out Wednesday initial practice due to constant rain showers.

But Thursday, the author of a popular children book, "Go Milka Go," was back on track and making her first laps of the month. Duno, who also had part in the film, "Speed Racer," recorded 59 laps Thursday with a best speed of 219.745 miles per hour, 26th of the 32-driver field Thursday.

Duno, a winner on the Grand-Am sports car tour before entering the IndyCar Series in 2006, is one of three female drivers attempting to qualifying in the 2009 Indianapolis 500 Mile Race. She joined Sarah Fisher and Danica Patrick in this year's female entry list.

Duno also is part of a four-car effort for the Dreyer & Reinbold Racing stable in this year's event, as she teams with veterans John Andretti and Davey Hamilton and British rookie Mike Conway. Duno's car is also sporting a new color scheme for this year's Indy 500 with a bright red and blue design.

Practice will continue Friday at the Speedway beginning at noon with the opening round of qualifications set for Saturday, May 9.

MILKA DUNO, No. 23 CITGO Dreyer & Reinbold Honda Dallara: "For our first time out today the CITGO car felt good and we had a very productive practice. We still have margin to make the car faster and get it to the way that we want it. It's the team's decision to take it little by little to get the car right and to get it consistently fast. Tomorrow our plan is to go fast and prepare for qualifying on Saturday."

DENNIS REINBOLD, Co-owner Dreyer & Reinbold Racing: "Mike Conway drove a lot laps today and was one of the busiest drivers out there. We tested a lot of different components and that way we could cross them off the list. He was the workhorse for the team today testing a lot of things and we learned a lot, which is really going to benefit the other three drivers as well. With Davey and John, we turned them loose on their own and toward the end of the day found something that was a pretty big gain for us. We are very confident that we have quite a bit more speed that we can come up with for tomorrow as well as for Saturday. Milka did a lot of laps and almost got to 220mph. We still have a lot we can trim out on her car and we know there is quite a bit of speed left there too."

-credit: drr

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Milka Duno , John Andretti , Sarah Fisher , Davey Hamilton , Mike Conway , Danica Patrick
Teams Dreyer & Reinbold Racing