Lloyd tops speed charts for Indy 500 rookies

The two-day Indianapolis 500 Rookie Orientation Program came to a close with Alex Lloyd leading the field to a fastest lap of 223.733 mph (40.3528 seconds) on the 2.5 mile oval.

Alex Lloyd.
Photo by Andy Sallee.

"We're just improving the balance of the car as we go," said Lloyd, "getting up to speed and feeling very comfortable with it."

"I think the guys have given me a very good car and having Chip Ganassi and Bobby Rahal together is really helping," added the rookie who was fastest over the two days of orientation.

Hideki Mutoh of Andretti Green Racing (223.033 mph, 40.4313 sec) and KV Racing/Team Australia's Will Power (222.267 mph, 40.4918 sec) finished the day second and third-quick.

"The team gave me a great car," said Hideki. "I was really confident to drive it on the track. I could really feel the downforce."

Will Power commented, "It was a good day. We definitely found the right balance on the car and should be able to move into the next speed bracket."

Conquest Racing's Jaime Camara suffered the day's only serious incident at speed with the unforgiving concrete walls of the Speedway, spinning in Turn 1 and destroying the rear end and right front suspension/tire/wing of the orange and white Dallara/Honda.

Camara was evaluated at downtown Indianapolis' Methodist Hospital and was released, but will require a re-evaluation trackside by the Indianapolis Motor Speedway medical staff prior to returning to the cockpit.

"I went into Turn 1 and moved below the white line," Camara said afterwards. "That wasn't such a good idea."

Among other notables, Davey Hamilton successfully completed his refresher track time in the third Vision Racing machine, posting a speed of 219.901 mph.

The Speedway gates open at 9:00am EDT on Tuesday for the full field of contenders for the May 25th 500-mile race.

Qualifying looms on Saturday, with the top eleven cars on the day entering the 92nd running of the Indy 500 field of thirty-three.

In other related news, the Newman/Haas/Lanigan Racing team confirmed that team member, 64-year-old David Evans died early Sunday morning (May 4), just hours before the team's two drivers, Graham Rahal and Justin Wilson were attending their first day of Rookie Orientation. The team continued their learning curve today at the Brickyard.

According to sources in Indianapolis, "the coroner's office has ruled Evans' death a homicide caused by a stroke induced by the stress of a fight".

Evans was with Lola Cars when he met Carl Haas, the Brit left Lola to work with Haas Racing's Can-Am effort. He has been a member of the Newman/Haas/Lanigan Racing team for 23 years.

"The past two days have been difficult for the team as we mourn the tragic loss of Davey Evans," read a portion of the team's statement. "We appreciate all of the support and kind words from the many friends Davey made in his 40-plus years in racing. Our thoughts are with Davey's family and friends at this difficult time for us all."