FIRST PRACTICE LAPS AT INDY PROVE PRODUCTIVE AND TRYING FOR VISION RACING INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. - After withstanding much anticipation and precipitation, Vision Racing drivers Ed Carpenter and Ryan Hunter-Reay finally got the opportunity to turn...
FIRST PRACTICE LAPS AT INDY PROVE PRODUCTIVE AND TRYING FOR VISION RACING
INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. - After withstanding much anticipation and precipitation, Vision Racing drivers Ed Carpenter and Ryan Hunter-Reay finally got the opportunity to turn laps today at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in preparation for the 2009 Indianapolis 500. Rain washed out the official first day of practice Wednesday.
Driving the No. 20 Menards/Vision Racing Dallara/Honda/Firestone, Carpenter was 14th fastest and put in the third most laps of the 32 drivers taking to the 2.5-mile oval with a total of 122 laps. The plethora of revolutions allowed Carpenter and crew the chance to experiment with optimal baseline setups for Saturday's "Pole Day" qualifying. His fastest speed came in the final hour of practice when he put up a fast lap of 220.797 mph.
Carpenter is preparing for his sixth Indianapolis 500-mile race and fifth with Vision Racing. Not to mention, Carpenter is also coming off his best ever month of May just last season when he started a career-best 10th at Indy, drove his first career IndyCar Series leader laps (3) and finished in a team and career-best fifth at the Brickyard.
Teammate Hunter-Reay and driver of the team's No. 21 Honda powered Dallara did not fare as well as a mid-afternoon mishap in turn two put him into the wall. Hunter-Reay was cleared by the medical staff, but his car was not and neither appeared on track for the remainder of the day.
However, before the incident Hunter-Reay turned 41 laps with a top speed of 214.929 mph while searching for a balanced set-up. Weather permitting, Hunter-Reay and the No. 21 machine will be back on track on Fast Friday for practice.
Hunter-Reay is aiming for his second attempt at Indianapolis this year and hoping to build on his performance last year that earned him Rookie of the Year honors. In the 2008 race, driving for Rahal-Letterman Racing, Hunter-Reay started 20th and drove all the way up to finish just behind his now teammate Carpenter, in the sixth spot.
IndyCar Series and "Fast Friday" action will resume tomorrow from noon to 6 p.m. for open practice before the first 11 qualifiers are set on Saturday. In addition, the team will also be kicking off its second season of the Vision Racing Wellness Tour.
The Vision Racing Wellness Tour will be located in the infield at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, under the grandstands next to the famous Pagoda in GP garage No. 35.
Ed Carpenter - No. 20 Menards/Vision Racing Dallara/Honda/Firestone
"It was a good productive day for us. I didn't think we were going to be able to run all day so it was nice to get a full day of running in after we got a full day of sitting around yesterday. We ran a lot of laps today, got a lot of work done and tested a lot of things. You never really know where you stand speed-wise at this point in the month but all you want to do is go faster. That's what we'll work on tomorrow."
Ryan Hunter-Reay - No. 21 Vision Racing Dallara/Honda/Firestone
On practice and contact with wall in turn 2: "Contact with the wall was a set back in respect to we didn't get a lot of track time as a result. We (20 & 21 Vision cars) started out going two different ways at the beginning of the day and now we're going to come back towards a mutual set-up that I think with suit both of us. The contact with the wall was light, by Indianapolis standards anyways, and didn't do as much damage as you might expect here. Looking back on the day, it's not the way you want it to end, especially the first day at Indy. We're working on it and tomorrow will be a completely different day."