Power leads rookie Opening Day at Indy

Power leads rookie Opening Day at Indy

Thirteen rookie drivers took to the 2.5 mile oval at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Sunday (May 4th) and eleven came away with speedy credentials sufficient to continue on-track for a spot in the 92nd Greatest Spectacle in Racing. Will...

Thirteen rookie drivers took to the 2.5 mile oval at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Sunday (May 4th) and eleven came away with speedy credentials sufficient to continue on-track for a spot in the 92nd Greatest Spectacle in Racing.

Will Power.
Photo by Andy Sallee.

KV Racing/Team Australia's Will Power led the way on Opening Day at the Speedway, posting a fastest lap of 220.694 mph (40.7804 sec).

"At first I found myself wondering 'Just how the hell do you go flat around here?'," he said afterwards of his debut on the track. "After awhile I got the hang of it and was able to get around fairly well."

HVM Racing's E.J. Viso was second-quick with a circuit of the fabled Brickyard at 220.445 mph (40.8265 sec). He was followed by Power's teammate Oriol Servia on 220.102 mph (40.8902 sec). The trio were the only drivers to break the 220-plus mph barrier for the day.

"I heard from all the other drivers how difficult and scary this track is," said Viso, "and I really didn't think it was too bad."

"For sure the speeds are high," he continued, "but it's great to be here and it's nice to have the time to prepare for the race."

Chip Ganassi with Rahal Letterman Racing's driver Alex Lloyd was fastest for much of the afternoon, holding on to pick up fourth-fastest at the end of the five-hour practice session. His speed of 219.964 mph was one tenth quicker than Andretti Green Racing's Hideki Mutoh (219.824 mph).

"It was great fun out there," said the 2007 Indy Pro Series champ Lloyd. "Once you get a few laps everything slows down and feel very comfortable."

RLR's Ryan Hunter-Reay, Conquest's Jaime Camara, Newman/Haas/Lanigan teammates Graham Rahal and Justin Wilson, and Enrique Bernoldi rounded out the top ten.

Ryan-Hunter Reay.
Photo by Andy Sallee.

Jay Howard, Max Papis and Mario Moraes also made tours around the circuit today at sub-218 mph speeds.

Only Bernoldi and Moraes failed to complete the program, and will retry on tomorrow (Monday). Papis completed only a "refresher course" on the Speedway.

Shuffling for a seat in the May 25th race continues with more driver/team announcements over the past several days; including one from American Dream Racing (formerly Playa del Racing) and 2007 Indianapolis 500 top rookie Phil Giebler.

Davey Hamilton shifted gears on his plans to run with Kingdom Racing and now has moved to the third seat at Vision Racing; and 1996 Indianapolis 500 champion Buddy Lazier announced plans to contend for a starting spot with the Hemelgarn Racing team.

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Series INDYCAR