Iowa: Rahal Letterman Racing test day notes

RAINS BRING EARLY END TO INDYCAR TESTING IN IOWA NEWTON, Iowa - The absolute last thing that anyone in Iowa needed made an unwelcome afternoon appearance at Iowa Speedway Friday afternoon, as rains soaked the 0.894-mile track after two hours of...

RAINS BRING EARLY END TO INDYCAR TESTING IN IOWA

NEWTON, Iowa - The absolute last thing that anyone in Iowa needed made an unwelcome afternoon appearance at Iowa Speedway Friday afternoon, as rains soaked the 0.894-mile track after two hours of testing for this weekend's Iowa Corn Indy 250.

The rains ended up cancelling the second two hours of IndyCar Series testing, but the Rahal Letterman Racing squad with Ryan Hunter-Reay (#17 Ethanol Dallara/Honda/Firestone) at the wheel used the first two hours to their advantage, and stood seventh on the time charts at the end of the first session.

Building on the successes the team had at Texas two weeks ago and coming to the Iowa Speedway with a good setup after a strong run in 2007, RLR and Hunter-Reay rolled off the truck quick, posting a best lap of 17.6906 seconds (181.927 mph) to finish seventh in the weekend's first outing.

The rains blew in unexpectedly, almost directly after the end of the first session, soaking the paddock and ending the IndyCar Series action for the day, although at the time of this writing, the Firestone Indy Lights cars were still hoping to get out for more practice as well as their scheduled qualifying run.

"It was nice to come out in the first session and have a good strong car that we can build on," Hunter-Reay said. "The car was good, I felt pretty confident in it and I know there is more we can do with it. Usually we have come out this year and been in the middle of the pack in the first practice, and then make it to where we are now by race day. I'm excited about this weekend and am looking forward to getting back out there tomorrow."

The team ran 54 laps in its first session, which was led by Danica Patrick as her Andretti/Green team vaulted to the top of the charts with a late-session qualifying simulation, stopping the clocks at 17.4616 seconds (184.317 mph) on her final lap.

The rains shed even more attention on the flooding in the region, which has put much of the Hawkeye State in a state of emergency for much of the last week, although the waters have noticeably receded in the last two days. Hunter-Reay saw some of the damage first-hand yesterday as part of his advance trip into the heart of Ethanol corn country.

"It's pretty sobering to see where the waters are now, and looking at where they were just a few days ago," Hunter-Reay reported. "I've never seen anything like it. As a spokesman for Ethanol and a friend to the corn growers throughout the country, I am very hopeful that the crops can be salvaged and I am sure that the farmers will use their customary resourcefulness and ability to find a way to get the job done. This is a big weekend, I had a lot of interviews scheduled this week and I have more to do, and I hope to post a great result for Ethanol here."

-credit: rlr

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Series IndyCar