GRAHAM RAHAL AND THE ...
GRAHAM RAHAL AND THE #30 QUICK TRIM/RLR SPECIAL FIND MORE SPEED THURSDAY AT IND Y
INDIANAPOLIS - The weather forecast gave teams a sense of urgency as Thursday's practice got underway for the 94th running of the Indianapolis 500, and Rahal Letterman Racing didn't wait long to continue its preparation for both the May 30 500-mile race as well as Saturday's Pole Day qualifying.
The specter of afternoon rains forced teams to hit the track as soon as the clock struck noon on Thursday, and the day's first two hours of running provided numerous opportunities for Graham Rahal to test out the handling of the #30 Quick Trim/RLR Special in traffic. Three-- and four-car drafts were the order of the day in the early part of the session, with teams taking the opportunity later to work on perfecting their qualifying setup for Saturday where 24 cars will claim their place in the 33-car race-day field.
The #30 Quick Trim/RLR Special continued its march up the time charts as Graham Rahal again turned his fastest lap of the month, circumnavigating the 2.5-mile Indianapolis Motor Speedway oval in a top time of 39.9009 seconds (225.559 mph).
"I can't say enough about the guys on this Quick Trim/Rahal Letterman Racing team and their level of commitment to making this car as good as it can be," said the 21-year-old Rahal. "We feel we have a pretty good car, we are running quick times when we are out there by ourselves and we still haven't fully trimmed our car out in qualifying mode, so we feel there is more to be gained."
Rahal turned just 30 laps on the day as the anticipated rains blew into Central Indiana just before 4 o'clock. And while the rains never really hammered the race track, the clouds and constant sprinkles were just enough to keep cars from getting back on track, ending the session nearly two hours early.
Rahal's best lap came on the 29th of his 30 trips around the IMS oval, vaulting the #30 Quick Trim/RLR Special over the 225-mph barrier for the first time this month.
"I really don't think we are too far off with this car," Rahal relayed. "I've had cars here that have been fast in the last couple of years, but never one that is as fast as this one that feels as good as this car does. I am very excited about our chances as qualifying and the race get nearer."
Practice time may be tough to come by tomorrow as well as Friday is slated to see day-long rains assaulting the Indianapolis area. Teams will have the opportunity for 90 minutes of practice on Saturday prior to the opening of qualifications, which will run from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Practice for the Indy 500 will continue tomorrow at noon Eastern Time as the teams prepare for Saturday's pole qualifying. Fans can follow all of the action on www.indycar.com and can see Saturday and Sunday's qualifying live on Versus.