Three RLR/Andersen Racing Drivers Take First Laps on IMS's Oval Tuesday
INDIANAPOLIS, Ind., May 6 - RLR/Andersen Racing's three rookie Firestone Indy Lights drivers recorded their first laps on the oval at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Tuesday at an open test in preparation for the Firestone Freedom 100 there on Friday, May 22.
The trio gave their engineers 159 laps of data to study in the next two weeks, as Mario Romancini turned 78 laps, Jonathan Summerton recorded 55 circuits of the 2.5-mile oval and Ali Jackson circled the world's most famous race track 26 times at speed.
The drivers' goals were to learn the track and try to help develop a comfortable set-up on worn tires rather than generating pure speed. Romancini posted the 13th fastest time of the 21 drivers who tested when the driver from Sao Paulo, Brazil ran a lap in 47.6794 seconds (188.761 miles per hour) on his 11th lap in the No. 5 sponsored by Andersen Racing, Revita Recycling, Win Brazil Marketing, Allied Interior Products and Lafarge North America.
Summerton, of Kissimmee, Fla., was 16th with a 47.8657-second (188.026 mph) lap at the end of the test in his car, which advertised Mockett & Co. Although the current Firestone Indy Lights points leader was making his first laps on the oval here, Summerton won a Formula BMW race on IMS's road course in 2004.
Jackson, of Belfast, Northern Ireland, was participating on his first official day as a member of RLR/Andersen Racing. He ran a 48.0448 (187.325 mph) in the No. 6 sponsored by Moyvalley Hotel & Golf Resort in Kildare, Ireland. The team just received his car at 9:30 a.m. Monday, so there wasn't time to prepare it for the test as well as they would have liked.
After four races in five weeks from coast to coast, the team welcomes the 14 days it will have to work on the cars at Rahal Letterman's headquarters in Hilliard, Ohio before it returns here for Community Day on Wednesday, May 20. Practice and qualifying are slated for Thursday, May 21. The Freedom 100 is scheduled to be telecast live on VERSUS at noon Friday, May 22.
Mario Romancini: "It was a good learning day. Now we have two weeks to work on the cars back at the shop. That is good, because we haven't had any time to spend in the shop lately. We'll try to take what we learned today and improve. We tried some stuff that we wanted to try. Now we'll try to come back and be ready for the race weekend.
"The first time I was ever here was yesterday. I am impressed."
Jonathan Summerton: "It was fun. It's a good, high-speed track. It's really harsh on the tires though. It wasn't really a productive day, except that we know we have to find something a little different. We have to free the car up more. We weren't where we wanted to be today."
Ali Jackson: "The car was not where we wanted it to be; we just got it yesterday, and it wasn't really race-ready.
"But it was still an enjoyable day. Now I've driven at speed at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, so I can take that off my list of things I've always wanted to do.
"This is the first time I've ever been here; I've never even been to a race here. It's impressive."