RAHAL LETTERMAN RACING DRIVERS OUTLAST RAIN TO FIND SPEED AT INDY PRACTICE INDIANAPOLIS - Rahal Letterman Racing drivers Scott Sharp ( ...
RAHAL LETTERMAN RACING DRIVERS OUTLAST RAIN TO FIND SPEED AT INDY PRACTICE
INDIANAPOLIS - Rahal Letterman Racing drivers Scott Sharp (#8 Patron Dallara/Honda/Firestone) and Jeff Simmons (#17 Ethanol Dallara/Honda/Firestone) have a detailed plan to work through as they prepare for the 91st running of the Indianapolis 500, but as will happen to anyone that spends three weeks in Indianapolis, Wednesday's plans were altered by strong afternoon rains that claimed four of the day's six hours of practice.
Despite the limited practice time, Sharp's distinctive black-and-green Indy Car continued its climb up the speed charts, ending the day in the 12th spot after carding his best lap of the month with a time of 40.3954 seconds (222.798 mph). Sharp ran more laps around the 2.5-mile Indianapolis Motor Speedway in two hours on Wednesday (41) than he did in all of the opening practice yesterday (40), and felt that the team had made some strong changes to the car.
"The car was better today and we were able to find a little more speed out there. That's what it is all about," Sharp said. "We were able to work in some suspension changes that you don't normally get to try on a race weekend and we really feel like we are making good progress."
Simmons and the Team Ethanol squad was not as fortunate today, as the #17 car turned just 15 laps in the truncated session, leaving the pit lane to go back to Gasoline Alley to make changes on the car - preparing for what weather watchers hope will be a drier day on Thursday.
"We needed to make some big changes in the car that would take some time so we didn't get many laps today," Simmons said. "Losing all that time today with the rain hurts us now, but it will allow us to put more miles on the engine and the tires later in the month to prepare for the race."
Simmons logged a best time of 41.0301 seconds (219.351 mph) in his short time on the track today, a time that was .05 seconds quicker than his best time from yesterday's opening practice.
Rahal Letterman Racing will have two more full days of practice Thursday and Friday before Saturday's first round qualifying sets the top 11 spots in the field.